I had a problem this morning with a 3 server SharePoint farm (DB, APP and WFE) where Feature files, Assemblies and pretty much any file contained in a WSP package was not getting deployed to the APP server.
I first spotted this issue when deploying a WSP file containing a Web Application Feature. When I went to activate the feature it didn’t show up in the ‘Manage Features’ dialog.
The files in the WSP were only getting copied to the WFE server and this was causing all kinds of messages in the logs such as:
05/26/2011 10:50:31.57 OWSTIMER.EXE (0x142C) 0x0ECC SharePoint Foundation Topology 8zqi Medium Solution Deployment : The content WebService is not running in this server. Removing web application http://myserver/ for timer job 311e1e1a-4dde-4b25-ac75-e3a0503a6c6f
05/26/2011 10:32:13.70 w3wp.exe (0x1E24) 0x13E4 SharePoint Foundation General 8e1f High Failed to find the XML file at location ’14\Template\Features\MyFeature\Feature.xml’
Googling for the error message ‘The content WebService is not running in this server’ only turned up one result and this was in Russian!
After resolving the issue temporarily by copying the feature folders and assemblies between servers I was about to put a question on the SharePoint StackExchange website when I spotted this question – http://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/12547/should-i-have-the-microsoft-sharepoint-foundation-web-application-role-active-o.
After looking in ‘Services on Server’ in Central Admin sure enough the Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application service was stopped!
Starting this service fixed all the above issues – turns out it was a simple fix in the end!
Please note it is recommended to keep this service stopped on application servers so its best to turn it on to allow deployment of your custom WSP and then stop if after.