OWA Login Issues With RWW in SBS and WEBS

Posted on Posted in ebs 2008, rww, sbs 2008

Remote Web Workplace (RWW) is a feature of Windows Essential Business Server 2008 (WEBS) and Small Business Server 2008 (SBS). Both of these operating systems provide a web portal to view internal resources such as Outlook Web Access (OWA), SharePoint and Remote Desktop to your own PC.

I have noticed on a number of installations the following error:

There is a problem in Remote Web Workplace. A logon error occurred: There is a problem communicating with the Outlook Web Access server.

There are two reasons for this that I know about. The outcome of this for the user is a popup with the above error in it when clicking the E-Mail or SharePoint link within RWW.

The first is if you have changed the URL of your RWW site then the Single Sign-On (SSO) functionality is configured to connect to the old URL and so fails. The second reason is if the external URL for RWW is not accessible internally (for example if the internal Active Directory DNS name is the same internally and externally and the internal DNS zone does not have an A record for the RWW URL).

To fix the first issue you need to make a backup of the web.config file located in “c:\program files\Windows Essential Business Server\Bin\webapp\Remote” and then edit this file (using Notepad or the like) so that the ssoApplications node reads as follows:

Where the serverName value is correct for your environment. Note also that if SharePoint is installed and the Company Web link appears on RWW, this XML node will contain some Sharepoint information that will need changing too.

To fix the second issue you need to add an A record to your internal DNS that points to your RWW site and to use the external IP address of this site. If your internal AD/DNS zone is the same as your external zone (i.e. fabrikam.com in the above example) then create a new A record for remote.fabrikam.com on an internal DNS server that has the external IP address of the site as IP address. If you internal and external DNS zones are separate ensure that the SBS server or the WEBS Messaging Server resolve the external value correctly.

If neither of these solve your problems with RWW then the place to look is the RWW debug log file. This is located in “c:\program files\Windows Essential Business Server\Logs\WebWorkplace\w3wp” and you need to read the bottom of the file to find the most recent login error (search the file from the bottom upwards for the word “error”).

The above two problems where solved based on the errors found in this debug log file.

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