How can a farm still be running at all if the only app server is not reachable from the only SQL server? Can the Central Admin page be displaying incorrect information, or can the settings be cached in some manner?

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The SP admin says the site is up and the only problem reported by users is the lack of any search results.


Helping a another company with their SP farm. The symptom they initially reported what that search was finding zero results sitewide. I looked at the crawl logs and found thousands of errors related to a Dev server that (somehow) got connected to their production environment. I told them, they were appropriately horrified, and said they would take care of it. Case closed.

...or so I thought. They called me again today and said there were still no search results. I checked again and found the same errors. They said they "fixed" the issue by physically turning off the development server.

Here's the mystery for me. The CA 'Servers in Farm' screen shows the Dev box as providing 100% of the app server duties. From the SQL server I tried both ping and UNC, using DNS name and IP, and all failed (as they would if the server was indeed powered off).

  • What i understand, you saying you turn off the SPSQL1 server, right? if you upgrade and migration > review database status > over here check if anyother SQL server is listed here?
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 19:30
  • They (not me) turned off the SPSRV1DEV machine. The SQL server is running fine. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:27
  • Are they sure that they turned off the server, if this si only server in farm and it is turned off then their is no way to access any thing as all iis sites are down...more information required.
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:34
  • They tell me they did but the only way I was able to confirm was logging onto the SQL server and attempting to ping/browse the app servers. Since those attempts both failed, I am assuming that server was indeed off. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:38
  • Are you able to browse the central admin? If you ping the url what u get? Do tracert
    – Waqas Sarwar MVP
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


"Turning off the development server" is not a sufficient solution.

You must Remove the Server from the farm to make sure that the Dev server is not included in the production farm topology.

Remove the Server Prerequisites

  • Stop the services that are running on the server.
  • The user account that performs this procedure is a member of
    • the Farm Administrators SharePoint group.
    • the Administrators group on the server.

Remove the Server from the farm Steps

  • Open CA > Servers in farm > Click on Remove the Server for the dev server.
  • Click OK on the warning dialog, The page updates, and the server that you removed no longer appears in the list of servers.
  • Yes, I know how to properly remove a server from a farm. The thing is, it was not done correctly (i.e. the server was just shut down) yet the SP site is apparently working just fine. That tells me that, despite what CA is telling me, there is some other server out there that is carrying the bulk of the application service load. Just trying to figure out where to look to find out what that server might be. Or perhaps is something screwy with DNS. This is a weird one. Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 20:32

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