Archive for the ‘HR and Payroll’ category

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 -OUT OF SUPPORT today

July 13th, 2019

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, both of these versions of SQL server go out of extended support with Microsoft today 9th July 2019

Many companies and businesses are still SQL Server 2008 R2 and below. There can be a number of reasons for this, maybe the applications the databases support require an older version of SQL Server, maybe the applications are also coming to the end of life, but the end dates do not match up with the data platform end of support dates.

Sometimes applications are critical to the business and everything works just fine. The business doesn’t want to disrupt the application or introduce any risk by performing a migration to a new version so why change it?

In this situation your data platform is out of support completely. Out of support system attract hackers. Note the previous articles about fines for loss of privacy data to realise how serious this can be

So you should be making plans to migrate your legacy SQL Servers off the unsupported versions. It is likely if you are still on an old database that you are also on an old server and on an old version of Windows. That gives additional risk of failed hard disks, other system vulnerabilities – Meltdown, Spectre? Phishing…….
Investors and insurers are not likely to be sympathetic in such circumstances.

There are many performance and security benefits of upgrade.

If you decide to run on out support software and take the risk associated with running on out of support software. The main advantage of this approach is there is nothing immediate to do. The longer you run on the platform the greater the chances of you encountering a security vulnerability or failing a compliance test.
If anything does go wrong you’ll have no support from Microsoft.
Other software vendors support contracts may also require that you be on a currently supported database

Modernise and upgrade is one of the options that you have available.

You can upgrade your on premises SQL Server or migrate the databases to Azure either as IaaS solution where you run the VM in Azure or even the PaaS Azure SQL database offering

There are number of advantages to upgrading your data platform. You’ll be running your database workloads on an in support data platform, with a long support window. There will likely by new features in the latest and greatest version of SQL Server that you can use to add business value to your application – Availability Groups for example. Also you will likely find people with skills in the later technology, those skills will be more readily available in the jobs market.

There will likely be a different licensing model – the licensing model changed between SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 – it possible you will have to pay more for you SQL Server licences.

The third option is instead of doing nothing you pay for a custom support agreement. The main advantage here is you can continue to get security updates and therefore potentially remaining compliant. The main disadvantage of this approach is the cost involved, which is typically 75% of the full license costs of the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Server.

Migrate workload to Azure. Microsoft allow SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server R2 VMs running in Azure to have the security updates for free for a further 3 years. So you can migrate your database server to azure and continue to get security updates for free until 2022.

The main advantage of this is you get to keep running the same version of the OS and Data platform, the security updates are free so the cost is minimal \. The disadvantages is you would need to move off premises, if this is not an option for you then you can’t exercise this option and there will still be work in involved in ‘lifting and shifting’ the VM to the cloud.

Whatever you do when support ends for SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 have a plan

Integration as a Service – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai about Snap Logic

July 2nd, 2019

Why do companies like Adobe, AstraZeneca, Box, GameStop, OSN, Verizon, and Wendy’s choose SnapLogic?

They have a problem that many other companies are facing today. On one side, business managers rely more and more on SaaS applications and big data for daily tasks yet IT is responsible for integrating the applications. These business managers need daily access to accurate information but can’t always wait for IT. On the other side, IT is managing multiple projects, including integration requests and is working with far fewer resources. Requests can take weeks or even months to complete and business leaders can’t wait that long, so end up making decisions based on less than perfect data.

The Snaplogic Enterprise Integration Cloud comes with Iris Artificial Intelligence built in. Take away he complexity of dealing with multiple applications, big data, complex APIs, and IoT and abstract it into drag and drop components, all in one platform. SnapLogic’s Iris AI further democratizes the use of data by empowering users from all departments and teams to make data-driven decisions quickly and easily with higher accuracy. Business manager can now do their own analysis with minimal support from IT and make informed, data-backed decisions quickly.

IT people can spend less time building routine integrations and more time helping the business grow. SnapLogic is already helping many businesses with these challenges. GameStop reduced the amount of time it took to build integrations by 83%. Business processes cut across functions and applications. Transform business processes faster and stay focused on managing your business with data-driven insights rather than spend time on writing and maintaining code.

General Electric’s (now Suez Water) employees are 4 times more productive when it came to onboarding partners through its multiple systems.

AstraZeneca has more than 500 users around the world who are performing self-service integrations.

Box has connected 40 applications and is processing more than 15M transactions daily with only 1.5 full-time developers needed to support this volume.

Corporate performance management or Big data analytics from multiple, disparate corporate erp and finance systems, hybrid cloud and on premise integration, migrating to the cloud or to new software versions, IoT, T@A, EAM systems, WMS systems, Payroll systems, there are many integration challenges.

To support your digital transformation call us on 0097143365589

SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 – end of life July 9, 2019 -ask Synergy Software Systems

June 23rd, 2019

Microsoft has previously announced that SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will reach end of life on July 9, 2019.

This means that in less than a month, Microsoft will no longer release regular security updates for the product.

There are several reasons this is important to you.
• Attacks against software products of all types are common and ongoing. With Microsoft SQL being such a prevalent platform, attacks against it are ubiquitous, and it’s important to keep your database platform up-to-date with the latest Microsoft security patches.
• Many compliance requirements dictate that you must be running currently supported software.
• As Microsoft drops support for a product, many third-party applications may also discontinue support for their products running on those platforms.

So, if you are still running SQL Server 2008/2008 R2, then what are your options?

1.Upgrade to a newer version of SQL.
SQL 2019 is in preview release as of this writing, so the current production version of SQL Server is 2017. Its end of life will be October 12, 2027.
Evaluate your applications and databases to make sure they are compatible e.g. Dynamic Ax 2012 is not supported beyond SQL 2016

Plan a migration for either on-premises or cloud. A move to an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, will not require you to upgrade in the future. By choosing this option, you will also gain access to new features which have appeared in the latest SQL Server versions. However, it only offers subset of SQL features so you need to be sure it will support your application and use.

2.Migrate to Azure to receive three more years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. If you need to stay on the same SQL code base for a bit longer, Microsoft will allow you to rehost your SQL 2008 environment in Azure and still provide you with security updates for an extended period. There is no extra cost for the extended updates beyond the standard Azure VM rates.

3.Purchase extended support. Microsoft allows customers with an active Enterprise Agreement and Software Assurance subscription to purchase and receive three years of Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. The annual outlay for the updates is 75% of the full license cost.

4.The least desirable option is to stay where you are and pray. If circumstances prevent you from moving forward now, then at minimum you should:
• Recognize and account for the risk;
•Plan and budget for a transition as soon as possible;
•Re-evaluate your security and tighten it as much as possible.

Microsoft provides guidance for handling the end of support of SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 at https://www.microsoft.com/2008-eos.

Of course, Synergy is ready to help you to evaluate and to progress to the next level. 0097143365589

If you are running newer versions of SQL Server, then here are their End-of-Life dates.
•SQL Server 2012 – July 12, 2022
•SQL Server 2014 – July 9, 2024
•SQL Server 2016 – July 14, 2026
•SQL Server 2017 – October 12, 2027

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, support is coming to an end.

June 23rd, 2019

Sometimes lifecycles end because of age or workload and other times they expire due to vendor support.
In the case of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, Microsoft announced that Extended Support will end on January 14, 2020.

Microsoft provides: Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Beyond End of Support.

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is Microsoft’s first phase of support and lasts five years. It includes the following benefits:
• Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
• Security update support
• Ability to request non-security updates

Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support, and also lasts five years. The key features of Extended Support are:
• Paid support
• Security updates at no additional cost
• Ability to request non-security updates (available only via Unified Support, a new model of support that offers comprehensive support that covers your entire organization)
• Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase.

Beyond End of Support

The Beyond End of Support phase is the final phase of the product lifecycle and lasts for three years. Here are the key things to remember.
• Request to change product design and features are not available
• Security updates are available only with the purchase of the Extended Security Update Program for up to three years. This typically costs 75% of the on-premises license cost annually.
• Technical support is provided when you purchase Extended Security Updates and have an active support plan in place on the product that has moved beyond the Extended Support date.

Server 2008 and 2008R2 are moving out of the Extended Support phase on January 14, 2020. From that date on,
non-security updates will no longer be available,
security updates will be available only if you pay for the Extended Security Update Program,
and other vendors will diminish their support of this operating system version.
If you are not prepared, then this will leave your environment open to security holes, application instability, and support restrictions.
If you have not already planned for this then now is the time to get it into your budget for first thing next year.

Sql 2014 Sp2 Update 15

December 15th, 2018

The 15th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2014 SP2 is available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site.
Registration is no longer required to download Cumulative updates.

CU15 KB Article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4469137

Microsoft® SQL Server® 2014 SP2 Latest Cumulative Update: https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=53592

Update Center for Microsoft SQL Server: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sqlserver/ff803383.aspx

RPA certifications for Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

November 25th, 2018

I am pleased to announce that following extensive training over recent weeks two of our consultants have already achieved certifications.

If you have an ROA project in mind and need support for your project from a proven, local. UAE partner then please call Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589

Gitex 2018- See Filehold DMS with Synergy Software Systems

September 30th, 2018

Meet us with Globalis to see how advanced cheque scanners and a modern DMS solution work together.

Talk to us about how repetitive automation can help you match hundreds of thousands of invoices, or to reconcile claims, or to reconcile multiple bank accounts.

Let us show you how easy it is to drillback from any key field in any application, back to the source doument and all related documents in Filehold.

End of life for SQL 2008 and 2008 r2 is only a year away

July 14th, 2018

On July 9, 2019, Microsoft will end Extended Support, for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2hich means no more updates or support of any kind, potentially leaving you vulnerable to security and compliance issues.
Some considerations:
That is only a year away. So time to start planning and to get it into your 2019 budget.
What applications are affected? With what new SQL version are they compatible?
Will you need to rebuy licenses? The SQL license cost is now core based and it might prove lot higher than last time so take the time to consider all options.
Should any of your applications move to the cloud?
Should you also look at upgrades to Hardware? Windows, Office, Exchange, or Business finance/erp systems in conjunction with SQL?
Is now the time to review your security solutions?
Are you going to expand, or implement heavy new processes like consolidation, budgeting, BI in then next 2-3 years?
Is your mobile network growing?

There are major enhancements at QL 2016 sp1 so we recommend you should not consider any version lower than that. By next year SQL 2017 will also have settled down.

To discuss options callus o 0097143365589

SQL version – when should you upgrade – ask your Dynamics U.A.E. Partner, Synergy Software Systems

December 23rd, 2017

SQL Server for many years on a two-year release cycle. SQL Server 2017 arrived less than 18 months after SQL Server 2016 became available.

Since 2005 each release of SQL Server brings exciting new features and improvements to existing capabilities. Many organizations are running instances that are several versions of SQL Server behind.

To keep up with the latest SQL Server versions is a challenge, but risks losing mainstream support and missing out on beneficial features. Often database administrators must support multiple versions at once, and consultants face an even greater range of versions across their customers.

Microsoft has not committed to any specific release cadence for ersions of SQL Server. Many clients it seems are still running SQL Server 2008 R2. One reason why companies are hesitant to make the move off 2008 R2 is because of the change to per core licensing. The effort to test and to upgrade is discouraging, but it is best to do this on a planned basis than a reaction to a crisis..

It was a painful experience to upgrade from SQL Server 2000, but the compatibility gap between versions is much narrower once past 2005. To make upgrading easier, provides a tool called The Upgrade Advisor for each new version that will spot issues and provide a chance to resolve them before starting the upgrade process. Virtualization also makes setting up testing environments much simpler and quicker.

With each new version there are enhancements to T-SQL, improved availability and disaster recovery functionality, more security options, and additional ways to get better performance. 2016 service pack 1, was a game change – many previously Enterprise only features were ported down to more affordable editions.

Another consideration is support. It doesn’t take long to reach the end of mainstream support. SQL Server 2008 R2, for example, has been out of mainstream support since 2014. While it’s still in extended support, which will ensure security hotfixes, other support features are available only on a paid basis.

When you look at erp upgrades it makes sense to also review your SQL upgrade plans.

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 4 (SP4) is available

October 16th, 2017

SQL Server 2012 Service Packs, Service Pack 4 (SP4). This release of SQL 2012 Service Pack has 20+ improvements centered around performance, scalability and diagnostics to enable SQL Server 2012 to perform faster and scale out of the box on modern hardware design.

SQL Server 2012 SP4 includes all the fixes up to and including SQL Server 2012 SP3 CU10

Security security security

September 26th, 2017

You never know when some item that queries or alters data in SQL Server will cause issues.

Bruce Schneier recently commented on FaceID and Bluetooth security, the latter of which has a vulnerability issue. I was amazed to see his piece on infrared camera hacking. A POC on using light to jump air gaps is truly frightening. It seems that truly anywhere that we are processing data, we need to be thinking (see https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/attackers-can-use-surveillance-cameras-to-grab-data-from-air-gapped-networks/)

Airborne attacks, unfortunately, provide a number of opportunities for the attacker. First, spreading through the air renders the attack much more contagious, and allows it to spread with minimum effort. Second, it allows the attack to bypass current security measures and remain undetected, as traditional methods do not protect from airborne threats. Airborne attacks can also allow hackers to penetrate secure internal networks which are “air gapped,” meaning they are disconnected from any other network for protection. This can endanger industrial systems, government agencies, and critical infrastructure. With BlueBorne, attackers can gain full control right from the start. Moreover, Bluetooth offers a wider attacker surface than WiFi, almost entirely unexplored by the research community and hence contains far more vulnerabilities

Finally, unlike traditional malware or attacks, the user does not have to click on a link or download a questionable file. No action by the user is necessary to enable the attack.

Fully patched Windows and iOS systems are protected

– the Equifax breach for example must worry everyone who has ever had credit in the USA. (Hackers broke into Equifax’s computer systems in March, which is two months earlier than the company had previously disclosed, according to a Wall Street Journal report.)

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday that a cyber breach of a filing system it uses may have provided the basis for some illegal trading in 2016. In a statement posted on the SEC’s website, Chairman Jay Clayton said a review of the agency’s cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected “incident” was caused by “a software vulnerability” in its EDGAR filing system (which processes over 1.7 million electronic filings in any given year.) The agency also discovered instances in which its personnel used private, unsecured email accounts to transmit confidential information.

So let me suggest take a good look at your systems and be honest – do you feel safe?

Microsoft has released Microsoft 365, a complete, intelligent solution, including Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, that empowers everyone to be creative and work together, securely. Watch Satya introduce it.

What about your websites?
Although acts of vandalism such as defacing corporate websites are still commonplace, hackers prefer to gain access to the sensitive data residing on the database server and then to sell the data.

The costs of not giving due attention to your web security are extensive and apart form direct financial burden and inconvenience also risks:
• Loss of customer confidence, trust and reputation with the consequent harm to brand equity
• Negative impact on revenues and profits arising e.g. from falsified transactions, or from
employee downtime
• Website downtime – is in effect the closure of one of the most important sales and marketing channels
especially for an e-business
• Legal battles and related implications from Web application attacks and poor security
measures including fines and damages to be paid to victims.

Web Security Weaknesses
Hackers will attempt to gain access to your database server through any way they can e.g. out of date protocols on a router. Two main targets are :
• Web and database servers.
• Web applications.

Information about such exploits are readily available on the Internet, and many have been reported on this blog previously.

Web Security Scanning
So no surprise that Web security should contain two important components: web and database server security, and web application security.

Addressing web application security is as critical as addressing server security.

Firewalls and similar intrusion detection mechanisms provide little defense against full-scale web
attacks.
Since your website needs to be public, security mechanisms allow public web traffic to
communicate with your web and databases servers (i.e. over port 80).

It is of paramount importance to scan the security of these web assets on the network for possible vulnerabilities. For example, modern database systems (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL) may be
accessed through specific ports and so anyone can attempt direct connections to the databases to try and bypass the security mechanisms used by the operating system. These ports remain open to allow communication with legitimate traffic and therefore constitute a major vulnerability.

Other weaknesses relate to the database application itself and the use of weak or default passwords by
administrators. Vendors patch their products regularly, and equally regularly find new ways of
attack.

75% of cyber attacks target weaknesses within web applications rather than directly at the
servers. Hackers launch web application attacks on port 80 . Web applications are more open to uncovered vulnerabilities since these are generally custom-built and therefore pass through a lesser degree of
testing than off-the-shelf software.

Some hackers, for example, maliciously inject code within vulnerable web applications to trick users
and redirect them towards phishing sites. This technique is called Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and may
be used even though the web and database servers contain no vulnerability themselves.

Hence, any web security audit must answer the questions “which elements of our network
infrastructure are open to hack attacks?”,
“which parts of a website are open to hack attacks?”, and “what data can we throw at an application to cause it to perform something it shouldn’t do?”

Ask us about Acunetix and Web Security
Acunetix ensures web site security by automatically checking for SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting,
and other vulnerabilities. It checks password strength on authentication pages and automatically
audits shopping carts, forms, dynamic content and other web applications. As the scan is being
completed, the software produces detailed reports that pinpoint where vulnerabilities exist

European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – 2018 what should GCC countries consider?

May 30th, 2017

The UAE Ministry of Economy is raising awareness among private sector companies of the need to be ready for new European data protection rules, which comes into force one year from now.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to become law by May 2018. The new rules govern all companies in Europe, as well as all companies trading with European companies and individuals.

The GDPR was drafted to “harmonise the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons in respect of processing activities and to ensure the free flow of personal data between Member States

The law includes strong penalties for either misuse of data, or failure to protect the personal data of customers, with fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, or 20m euros ($22m).

HE Juma Mohammed Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary for Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy, noted that the regulation issued by the EU aims to protect the data of every individual in the EU.

This not only impacts companies operating in European countries, but includes all institutions and companies that conduct business, trade and investment activities within EU countries, including the UAE business sector linked with European trade relations.

Due to this, the Ministry is working on deepening its knowledge about the new legislation, its provisions and requirements, and aims to reconcile its operational procedures with European authorities, in adherence with the framework of the GDPR, before May 2018.

Al Kait emphasized the EU is one of the UAE’s most important trade partners. Trade between the two sides generated $65.8 billion in 2016 alone. The UAE has become one of the top 10 destinations for EU exports, and is home to over 41,000 European companies, in addition to over 121,000 EU citizens.

Penalties will also apply to information controllers and processors, including cloud software companies.

The new legislation also outlines terms of approval for the use of data, to prevent companies from using legally illegitimate terms, and gives both parties the ability to easily withdraw if desired.

The compliance world will change dramatically for a number of GCC organizations on 25 May 2018. In just over one year’s time GCC organizations that:
1.have a branch, subsidiary or single representative in the European Union (“EU”);
2.do not have a physical presence in the EU, but offer goods or services to data subjects in the EU; or
3.neither have a physical presence in the EU nor offer goods or services to people in the EU, but monitor the online behavior of data subjects in the EU, will have to ensure that they are complying with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”).

Who is likely to be affected?

Based on the test set out in the GDPR, the new regulations will likely apply to a significant number of entities in this region.
Obvious examples include:
– major airlines that fly to and from the EU,
- hotel and tourism operators who promote travel to the region to EU data subjects,
- regional banks and other financial service companies that have branches in the financial centres in the EU and online.

Less obvious examples include:
- e-commerce companies that are able to accept payments in euros and deliver to the EU
- mobile apps that can be downloaded by users in the EU and which have access to a user’s contacts, photos or location data.

All of these businesses may need to comply with the GDPR and to mitigate the risk and cost of failure to do so.
If your organization is affected it has three main options:
1. wait and see i.e. do nothing (not advisable);
2.consider what it needs to do to ensure that it does not fall within the scope of the GDPR;
3. take immediate steps to prepare to comply with the GDPR .

For option (2), if your organization does not have an establishment in the EU and does not need to target or monitor EU data subjects then you ight consider making it very clear that your website or app is not for use by EU users (e.g. including geo-blocking EU data subjects).

for option (3), if you have not started the process of ensuring compliance by now, then there is a lot to do.

1.monitor business to consumer business practices, including:
- conducting a data protection audit,
- examining the legal basis on which it processes personal data and updates its privacy policies;
2.monitor internal business practices, including:
- review and update of agreements with data processors,
- implement processes for adoption of pseudoanonymization and privacy by design
- considering the legal basis on which it transfers personal data between jurisdictions;
3.establish compliant accountability processes, including”
- processes for record keeping,
- appointment of a data protection officer or EU representative and dealing with data subjects;
4.invest in infrastructure, including:
- how to determine the severity, and impact on data subjects of a data breach
- to establish robust security processes and procedures for notifying regulatory authorities and data subjects -

The need for compliance, especially for longer-term projects such as records of processing and compliant contracting, must be addressed as soon as is practicable.

Businesses that either operate, target customers or monitor individuals in the EU should :
• Audit: to identify key remediation areas.
• Record of Processing: This mandatory record will require significant internal resources, but will also help to plan and implement GDPR processes. .
• Consider Contract Renegotiations: The GDPR requires that contracts with data controllers include additional obligations. As companies come to renegotiate contracts, ensure that adequate data protection clauses are added.
• Review and update, where necessary, employee notices to be GDPR compliant. If you currently conduct criminal records checks, then review national laws where you operate to ensure you can continue to do so . There is an emphasis on transparency in the GDPR. Notices must be clear, concise and informative. Employees must be adequately informed of all data processing activities and data transfers and the information set out in Articles 13 to 14 must be provided. Criminal records can no longer be processed unless authorized by member state law.

Consider whether your organization is processing any sensitive personal data and ensure the requirements for
processing such data are satisfied While the grounds for processing are broadly the same as those set out
in the current Data Privacy Directive, the GDPR imposes new requirements to gain valid consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and systems must be able to handle withdrawal request.

• Review and update, where necessary, customer notices to be GDPR compliant
• Consider whether your notices have to accommodate “child-friendly requirements”. he GDPR requires parental consent for the processing of data related to information society services offered to a “child” (ranging
from 13 to 16 years old depending on the member state.
• Data privacy rights. The current rights to request access to data or require it to be rectified or deleted have been expanded to include a much broader right to require deletion (“the right to be forgotten”), a right not just to access your data but have it provided to you in a machine readable format (“data portability”). Versions of the existing right to object to any processing undertaken on the basis of legitimate interests or for direct marketing and the right not to be subject to decision based on automated processing are also included and expressly refer a right to object to profiling.
These must be clearly communicated in the notices given to data subjects, e.g. privacy policy
• Privacy by design. Ensure processes are in place to embed privacy by design into projects (e.g. technical and organizational measures are in place to ensure data minimization, purpose limitation and security)

Consider what data you hold in emails, in CRM systems, Social media.
What should be your data access use and retention policies?

Personally I think it will be great if this is a way to prosecute the perpetrators of all the spam nd phishing emails I get or at least to remove data form their lists!

3 new Microsoft tools to help you to move to the cloud.

April 18th, 2017

Here’s a breakdown of the three new Microsoft tools to help you move to the cloud faster and what they can offer businesses.

1. Free cloud migration assessment

This assessment will help customers to more easily find and to better understand their current server setups, to help them to determine the cost and the value of moving to the cloud. Once the servers are discovered, the tool can analyze their configurations, and give the user a report of the potential cost drop of moving to Azure.

Data center administrators can export the results of the assessment into a customized report. The report could provide some valuable data and statistics for a CIO conversation with the CFO.

2. Azure Hybrid Use Benefit

This tool should save users money on their cloud deployments. Customers can activate the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit in the Azure Management Portal,It is available on Windows Server virtual machines in Azure, to all customers. “Use your on-premises Windows Server licenses that include Software Assurance to save big on Windows Server VMs in Azure. By using your existing licenses, you pay the base compute rate and save up to 40 percent.” the tool’s web page said,

3. Azure Site Recovery

Azure Site Recovery is meant to ease the process of migrating virtual machines to Azure. Applications running on AWS, VMware, Hyper-V, or physical servers can be moved. Additionally, a new feature in Azure Site Recovery will “allow you to tag virtual machines within the Azure portal itself, This capability will make it easier than ever to migrate your Windows Server virtual machines.”

Other features include automated protection and replication of virtual machines, remote monitoring, custom recovery plans, recovery plan testing, and more

Project failure? – what wait of find out, try a pre-mortem.

January 23rd, 2017

A recent survey by PwC showed that over 85% of Dynamics AX projects failed to achieve their core objectives.

Implementing Dynamics AX has been compared to performing open heart surgery on an organisation, where the stakes couldn’t be higher, and so the ‘physicians’ that are entrusted to give the ‘patient’ it’s new lease of life, need to be masters in their craft and highly experienced

the same is true of most erp systems, and indeed of most projects. There si always over optimism, and over confidence, and an assumptions of perfections, despite the copious evidence that other good companies made the same errors of judgement.

So before you start a project rather than wait to see how it pans out and then do a post mortem, instead do try holding a pre-mortem. Assume it did no go so well. Ask your project team/stakeholders to write down why.

In the re-project phase one a senior executive gives a green light to go ahead, dissenting voices tend to go quiet. Costs are negotiate down rather than risk management, contingency and quality built in.

A pre-mortem can help you find what people really think and inject a touch of realism, about challenges, realistic scope, time and resources needed. With concerns identified they can be addressed and the team who has to deliver will be much more committed with their concerns out in the open and a less rosy tinted outlook.

Gartner shows Microsoft Azure as a cloud leader for the third succesive year

September 23rd, 2016

Gartner has recently identified Microsoft Azure as a leader in the analyst firm’s Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), for the third year in a row, both based on both completeness of vision and the ability to execute.

Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform enables the creation of virtual networks, servers and machines, and supports multitenant storage, object storage and a robust content delivery network for both Microsoft and other vendor solutions. Azure also provides advanced services such as machine learning and Internet of things.

The Azure infrastructure has security integrated from the ground up, and all data, whether at rest or in transit, is strongly encrypted. All of offerings are supported by a leading-edge Cyber Defense Operations Centre that monitors customer infrastructure around the clock.

Gartner’s announcement comes at a time when the Gulf region is taking strident steps towards cloud infrastructure adoption. Saudi Arabia plans to invest $2 trillion in IT projects in the coming years, with a significant portion to be invested in cloud. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates will see a gradual growth in IT spend from now until 2020, according to a report from BMI Research. A compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 per cent is expected.

An accompanying decline in hardware sales together with BMI’s prediction that SaaS will take an increasing share of software sales, and strongly indicates a decisive shift to cloud for the GCC.

When Microsoft announced the G series of virtual machines, back in Q1 of 2015, it represented the most memory, highest processing power and the largest local SSD capacity of any VMs then available in the public cloud. The G series, allowed Azure to lead the market with continued innovation also supporting SAP HANA workloads up to 32 TB. Azure has industry-wide recognition too for its support of Linux and other open-source technologies having nearly one third of all Azure VMs on Linux boxes.

Gartner’s report singled out Microsoft’s “rapid rollout” of these new features and many others, signaling that the company’s brand and history, both with its customers and with its delivery of enterprise-class solutions and services, combine to allow the company to ‘rapidly attain the status of strategic cloud IaaS provider’.
“Microsoft Azure encompasses integrated IaaS and PaaS components that operate and feel like a unified whole,” Gartner analysts wrote.

Microsoft has been rapidly rolling out new features and services, including differentiated capabilities. It has a vision of infrastructure and platform services that are not only leading standalone offerings, but also seamlessly extend and interoperate with on-premises Microsoft infrastructure (rooted in Hyper-V, Windows Server, Active Directory and System Center), development tools (including Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server [TFS]), middleware and applications, as well as Microsoft’s SaaS offerings.”

Gartner’s analysts also cited Microsoft’s “deep investments” in engineering and “innovative roadmap” as crucial factors in the company’s current IaaS market standing. The report further recommends Microsoft Azure for General business applications and development environments that use Microsoft technologies; migration of virtualized workloads for Microsoft-centric organizations; cloud-native applications (including Internet of Things applications); and batch computing.

Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

Microsoft Gulf opened its Dubai-based headquarters in 1991 the same year as Synergy Software Systems.

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