Archive for the ‘Sunsystems and Vision’ category

Enhanced HA and DR benefits for SQL Server Sofware Assurance from 1 November.

November 5th, 2019

The enhanced benefits to SQL licensing for high availability and disaster recovery that are listed below are now applicable to all releases of SQL Server for a customer with SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance. The updated benefits will be available in the next refresh of the Microsoft Licensing Terms.

Business continuity is a key requirement for planning, designing, and implementing any business-critical system. When you bring data into the mix, business continuity becomes mandatory. It’s an insurance policy that one hopes they never have to make a claim against in the foreseeable future. SQL Server brings intelligent performance, availability, and security to Windows, Linux, and containers and can tackle any data workload from BI to AI from online transaction processing (OLTP) to data warehousing. You get mission-critical high availability and disaster recovery features that allow you to implement various topologies to meet your business SLAs.

A customer with SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance has historically benefited from a free passive instance of SQL Server for their high availability configurations. That helps to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an application using SQL Server. Today, this is enhanced for the existing Software Assurance benefits for SQL Server which further helps customers implement a holistic business continuity plan with SQL Server.

Starting Nov 1st, every Software Assurance customer of SQL Server will be able to use three enhanced benefits for any SQL Server release that is still supported by Microsoft:
• Failover servers for high availability – Allows customers to install and run passive SQL Server instances in a separate operating system environment (OSE) or server for high availability on-premises in anticipation of a failover event. Today, Software Assurance customers have one free passive instance for either high availability or DR
• Failover servers for disaster recovery NEW – Allows customers to install and run passive SQL Server instances in a separate OSE or server on-premises for disaster recovery in anticipation of a failover event
• Failover servers for disaster recovery in Azure NEW – Allows customers to install and run passive SQL Server instances in a separate OSE or server for disaster recovery in Azure in anticipation of a failover event

With these new benefits, Software Assurance customers can implement hybrid disaster recovery plans with SQL Server using features like Always On Availability Groups without incurring additional licensing costs for the passive replicas.

A setup can use SQL Server running on an Azure Virtual Machine that utilizes 12 cores as a disaster recovery replica for an on-premises SQL Server deployment using 12 cores. In the past, you would need to license 12 cores of SQL Server for the on-premises and the Azure Virtual Machine deployment. The new benefit offers passive replica benefits running on an Azure Virtual Machine. Now a customer need to only license 12 cores of SQL Server running on-premises as long as the disaster recovery criteria for the passive replica on Azure Virtual Machine is met.

If, the primary. or the active replica. uses 12 cores hosting two virtual machines and the topology has two secondary replicas: one sync replica for high availability supporting automatic failovers and one asynchronous replica for disaster recovery without automatic failover then . the number of SQL Server core licenses required to operate this topology will be only 12 cores as opposed to 24 cores in the past.

These high availability and disaster recovery benefits will be applicable to all releases of SQL Server. In addition to the high availability and disaster recovery benefits, the following operations are allowed on the passive replicas:
• Database consistency checks
• Log backups
• Full backups
• Monitoring resource usage data

SQL Server 2019 also provides a number of improvements for availability, performance, and security along with new capabilities like the integration of HDFS and Apache Spark™ with the SQL Server database engine.

SnapLogic iPasS integration as a service – from Synergy Software Systems.

October 20th, 2019

Business Intelligence Managers/Analysts, Data/ETL Engineers, and Information/Data Architects are tasked with empowering business users to make use of
data to drive smart decisions and innovations. Data-driven initiatives can be challenging considering the explosion of data volumes due to the proliferation of sensors, IoT, and mobile computing.

Moreover, a growing number of groups within the business want access to fresh data.

To fully harness their data, organizations must also have a cloud strategy for their digital transformation efforts, namely to migrate data from
on-premises environments to the cloud. Considering the tremendous business value of unlocking that data, it’s imperative to prioritize and streamline these
data integration and migration projects.

Gone are the days when IT needed hundreds of coders to build extract, transform, load (ETL) solutions and then maintain those by writing more code. Modern integration platforms eliminate the need for custom coding. Now, data integration projects deploy and scale, often as much as ten times faster.

iPaaS platforms ease the pain because they’re designed for flexibility and ease of deployment for any integration project. A drag-and-drop UX coupled with a powerful platform and hundreds of pre-built connectors out of the box.

The connectors are always up-to-date, so the IT organization doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time maintaining every integration by hand. This saves an incredible amount of time, money, and frustration across the team and projects and greatly reduces risk.

Not all integration platforms are created equal. Some do simple point-to-point cloud app integrations while others transform large and complex data into a data lake for advanced analytics. Some stgill require extensive developer resources to hand-code APIs while others provide self-service, drag-and-drop offerings that can be used by IT and business leaders alike. Some are best for specific tactical projects while others provide a strategic, enterprise-wide platform for multi-year digital transformation projects.

Organizations must address four key steps during the data migration and integration process:
1. Capture data that supports both the known use cases as well as future undefined use cases (think IoT data to support a future machine learning
enabled use case).
2. Conform inbound data to corporate standards to ensure governance, quality, consistency, regulatory compliance, and accuracy for downstream
consumers.
3. Refine data for its eventual downstream application and/or use cases (once its been captured and conformed to corporate standards).
4. Delivery of data needs to be broad and prepared to support future unknown destinations.

For decades, IT has been tasked to manage integration projects by writing tons of custom code. This onerous task is even more complex with the proliferation of SaaS applications, the surge in big data, the emergence of IoT, and the rise of mobile devices. IT’s integration backlog has exploded. Not only is the deployment too much work, but there is a growing cost to maintain all of the integrations.

Deploying a tactical or departmental data warehouse solution should take days, not months. Moreover, enterprise-wide data transformation projects should take months, not years.

The best data integration platforms:
- Support multiple app and data integration use cases across cloud, on-premises, and hybrid deployments
- Offer the flexibility to be used in cloud, hybrid, or on-premises environments, regardless of the execution location
- Provide a self-service user experience aided by AI, machine learning, hundreds of pre-built connectors, and integration pipeline
templates (patterns) resulting in greater user productivity, and faster time-to-integration
- Have an underlying, scalable architecture to grow with evolving data and integration requirements
- Support different data modes such as streaming, event-driven, real-time or batch

The SnapLogic iPaaS offering is functionally rich and well-proven for a variety of use cases. It supports hybrid deployments and provides rich and differentiating features for analytics and big data integration (Hadooplex). Clients score SnapLogic as above average for cloud characteristics, functional completeness, ease of use and ability to meet SLAs.” Gartner

SnapLogic is a U.S.-based integration platform company. In mid-2013, it transitioned from a traditional software business to an iPaaS model with the release of the SnapLogic Elastic Integration Platform which provides a large set of native iPaaS capabilities that target the cloud service integration, analytics and big data integration use cases.

The flagship Enterprise Edition features a set of base adapters (Snaps), an unlimited number of connections and unlimited data volume.

Synergy Software Systems has been an Enterprise Solutions Integrator in the GCC since 1991. We are pleased to announce our formal partnership to represent Snap Logic in the MEA region.

Do you need to integrate with Azure? with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud? with Workday? With Odette compliant auto mamufacturers………..?.

To learn more call us on 009714 3365589

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU10 – (it fixes CU 9)

October 10th, 2019

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU10 is essentially a fixed version of CU9.

Microsoft added a note to the KB article to holdoff on CU9, and now…that CU9 KB article page has vanished altogether.

So CU9 is dead to Microsoft, Everything we said about CU9, is replaced by CU10.

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 SP2 CU9 release

October 1st, 2019

Cumulative Update package 9 (CU9) (build number: 13.0.5470.0) for Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 SP2 is now aavilablefor download. (It contains fixes that were released after the initial release of SQL Server 2016 SP2.)
SQL Server CUs are certified to the same levels as Service Packs, and should be installed at the same level of confidence. Historical data shows that a significant number of support cases involve an issue that has already been addressed in a released CU.

The CU provides the following fixes and improvements (Referenced from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4100997/cumulative-update-9-for-sql-server-2016-sp1)

KB4099472 – PFS page round robin algorithm improvement in SQL Server 2016 SQL service
KB4133164 – FIX: Error when a SQL Server Agent job executes a PowerShell command to enumerate permissions of the database Management Tools
KB4086173 – FIX: Access violation occurs when executing a DAX query on a tabular model in SQL Server Analysis Services Analysis Services
KB4131193 – Performance issues occur in the form of PAGELATCH_EX and PAGELATCH_SH waits in TempDB when you use SQL Server 2016 SQL service
KB3028216 – FIX: A crash occurs when proactive caching is triggered for a dimension in SSAS Analysis Services
KB4135113 – FIX: Change tracking record is inconsistent during an update on a table which has a cluster/unique index in SQL Server SQL service
KB4293839 – FIX: TDE database goes offline during log flush operations when connectivity issues cause the EKM provider to become inaccessible in SQL Server SQL security
KB4230730 – FIX: A dead latch condition occurs when you perform an online index rebuild or execute a merge command in SQL Server SQL service
KB4163478 – FIX: An access violation occurs when incremental statistics are automatically updated on a table in SQL Server SQL performance
KB4230306 – FIX: Restore of a TDE compressed backup is unsuccessful when using the VDI client SQL service
KB4163087 – FIX: Performance is slow for an Always On AG when you process a read query in SQL Server SQL service
KB4164562 – FIX: Wrong user name appears when two users log on to MDS at different times in SQL Server Data Quality Services (DQS)
KB4094893 – FIX: Database cannot be dropped after its storage is disconnected and reconnected in SQL Server SQL service
KB4162814 – FIX: An internal exception access violation occurs and the SSAS server stops responding Analysis Services
KB4134541 – FIX: Error in the MDS Add-in for Excel when you use the German version of Excel in SQL Server Data Quality Services (DQS)
KB4132267 – FIX: Deploying a SSAS project in SSDT is frequently unsuccessful in SQL Server Analysis Services in Tabular mode Analysis Services
KB4101554 – FIX: Parallel redo in a secondary replica of an availability group that contains heap tables generates a runtime assert dump or the SQL Server crashes with an access violation error High Availability
KB4098762 – FIX: Hidden parameters are included in reports when the Browser role is used in SSRS 2016 Reporting Services
KB4134175 – FIX: Processing a cube with many partitions generates lots of concurrent data source connections in SSAS Analysis Services
KB4091245 – FIX: Access violation occurs when you query a table with an integer column in SQL Server 2017 and SQL Server 2016 SQL performance
KB4094706 – FIX: One worker thread seems to hang after another worker thread is aborted when you run a parallel query in SQL Server SQL service
KB4058175 – FIX: TDE enabled database backup and restore operations are slow when the encryption key is stored in an EKM provider in SQL Server SQL service
KB4131960 – FIX: An access violation occurs when you execute a nested select query against a columnstore index in SQL Server SQL Engine
KB4094858 – FIX: “An unexpected error occurred” when you use DAX measures in Power BI table visualizations in SQL Server Analysis Services
KB4101502 – FIX: TDE enabled database backup with compression causes database corruption in SQL Server 2016 SQL service

CUs also often include supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.

Before udpate:

- Check compaitbiltiy with your application.
- Test CUs before you deploy to production environments.

VAT update Qatar, KSA

September 10th, 2019

On 23 May 2019, Qatar’s General Tax Authority (GTA) disclosed to tax advisors in Qatar a new online tax management system known as “Dhareeba.” The new system should be available to taxpayers near the end of 2019, with all taxpayers expected to be registered before 1 January 2020, at which time Dhareeba will replace the current Tax Administrative System (TAS). PwC Qatar was invited to go through its own registration as a ‘pilot’ exercise during the last week of July 2019.

The Qatar General Tax Authority (‘GTA’) has redesigned the Tax website, allowing it to be operational in both English and Arabic. The website aims to provide vital information regarding any new taxes which may be implemented, particularly emphasizing the Excise Tax which came into effect on January 2019.

VAT is widely expected to be introduced on 1 Jan 2020. Synergy support several companies in Qatar and has a local registered company there. If you need assistance with planning VAT implementation for Dynamics Ax./Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, or Infor SunSystems then please contact us. we have already undertaken numerous VAT projects In the GCC.

You will find much useful advice in our previous blog posts.

Meanwhile today the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that the value-added tax (VAT) should be doubled from 5% to 10% in Saudi Arabia in consultation with the other Gulf countries. Analysts expect the hike in VAT rate will come only after 2021 once Kuwait and Oman will also be ready to implement it and as a customs union, the increase makes sense across the GCC countries.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia introduced the 5% value-added tax from January 2018 and both the countries surpassing their tax collection targets. So this proposed increase seems odd because it has already impacted businesses more than expected.

The Kingdom’s non-oil revenues last year increased by 59%, buoyed by the VAT, excises, expatriate levy, and proceeds from the settlement agreements. IMF estimated that the VAT rate increase will add 2.0% to the Kingdom’s GDP in 2024.

Of course, as a customs union, it is logical that GCC countries would seek to keep their VAT rates harmonized in order to prevent tax arbitrage opportunities emerging within the GCC.

Gartner recognized SnapLogic as a Visionary in its Data Integration Magic Quadrant

August 7th, 2019

Gartner recognized SnapLogic as a Visionary in its Data Integration Magic Quadrant! This comes on the heels of being recognized as a Leader in three top analyst reports for the best integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions – the Gartner Magic Quadrant, Forrester Wave, and G2 Crowd Grid.
We believe these collective recognitions testify to the fact that SnapLogic is unrivaled when it comes to integrating cloud applications and on-premises data in one unified platform.

Gartner commended SnapLogic for:
• Our powerful integration convergence and augmented data integration delivery
• Our easy accessibility to diverse user personas
• Our pricing model simplicity and trial version

Synergy Software Systems is a Middle East partner. . This solution speeds up deployment of complex solutions with multiple jntegrations and significantly improves and simplifies the management and maintenance of integrations.

Whether for EDi to Odette standards for the automotive sector, or for streaming high volumes of data, or for ETL processes to bring data from multiple, enterprise systems into a data lake or Enterprise BI or Corporate performance management system, Snap Logic provides a multitude of pre built “Snap integrations: for a low code, configuration approach to integration.

Synergy Software Systems has provided integrated solutions in the region. Digital revolution is proving new opportunities and challenges. Robotic Processes Automation, Predictive analytics, ML AI, IoT, RFID, cloud services, data lakes, and mobility are now standard components of any solution. However digital revolution also requires agility and rapid robust deployment and ease of update and maintenance. Integration ETL, and streaming data from multiple systems at enterprise scale needs a new ‘productized’ low code approach to integration.

Snaplogic is a key tool for successful agile deployment of Enterprise integration, Corporate Performance management, EDI, BI and RPA solutions.

There are already major clients deploying Snap Logic in the UAE.

To learn more . Call us on 00971 43365589

SQL Server 2016SP2 Cumulative Update 8

August 3rd, 2019

The urgent security update earlier this month is not the only patch for SQL Server 2016 in July,
Microsoft has released SQL. SP2 CU8 (build number: 13.0.5426.0)
• Restores of compressed encrypted backups fail
• Data masking doesn’t
• DAXquery needs memory 200x larger than the database size
• Peer-to-peer replication fails when your host name isn’t uppercase
• QueryStore cleanup can fill the transaction log and cause an outage
•DistributedAvailability Groups cause memory dumps when automatic seeding
• AGreplication stops working due to internal thread deadlocks
•The deadlock monitor can cause an access violation
• Query a view with a union on a linked server,
• Concurrent inserts into a clustered columnstore index can deadlock
•Infiniteloop when FileTable is used for a long time without a restart
•SSAS2016 randomly crashes ( maybe not completely random if they fixed it)
•TransparentData Encryption doesn’t encrypt if it’s restarted mid-encryption

And much more.https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4505830/cumulative-update-8-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

I guess we will get a similar patch for Sp1 but by now you should be on a later patch

“Disbursements & Reimbursements’: U.A.E. – VAT clarification

July 31st, 2019

The Federal Tax Authority (‘FTA’) has released a Public Clarification on “Disbursements & Reimbursements” which addresses how to distinguish reimbursements and disbursements, and to clarify the applicable VAT treatment.

U.A.E. businesses incur expenses and subsequently recover such expenses from another party. The VAT treatment of the subsequent recovery of expenses depends on whether the recovery is a “disbursement” or a “reimbursement”.

The first step to determine whether a recovery is a disbursement or reimbursement is to establish whether you have acted as a principal or an agent in purchasing the goods or services

General principles to determine the VAT treatment of such recoveries:
Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of an agent, the recovery would generally amount to a disbursement.
A disbursement does not constitute a supply and is,therefore, not subject to VAT

Where a taxable person acts in the capacity of a principal, the recovery would generally amount to a reimbursement.
A reimbursement is part of consideration for the supply and follows the same VAT treatment as the main supply.

Principles

* The other party (from who you are recovering such expenses) should be the recipient of the goods or services;

* The other party should be responsible for making the payment to the supplier;

* The other party should have received an invoice or tax invoice in their own name from the supplier;

* The other party should have authorized you to make the payment on his behalf;

* The goods or services paid for should clearly be additional to the supplies you make to the other party;

* he payment should separately be shown on the invoice and you should recover the exact amount paid to the supplier, without a mark-up.

* You should have contracted for the supply of goods or services in your own name and capacity;

* You should have received the goods or services from the supplier;

* The supplier should have issued the invoice in your name;

* You have the legal obligation to make payment to the supplier;

* In case of goods, you should own the goods prior to making any onward supply.

Examples

Company A procured group medical insurance from a local insurance company and received an invoice directly from the insurance company.

* Company A requested Company B to make the payment on its behalf.

* The subsequent recovery of the amount by Company B from Company A will amount to a disbursement, and would not be subject to VAT.

* Company A should ensure that the Tax Invoice is addressed to it from the insurance company and should recover the input tax through its UAE VAT return, subject to the normal input tax recovery rules.

Company A entered into a contract with Company B to provide marketing services.

* The contract stipulated that Company A would be eligible to reimburse the expenses from Company B.

* Company A incurred the expenses in its own name and subsequently recovered the amounts from Company B as per the terms of the contract.

* The recovery of expenses from Company B would follow the same VAT treatment as that of the main supply.

We recommend;

* Identify the nature of your contract and agent/principal relationships (if any) based on the above principles;
* Ensure that all disbursements have proper authorizations (contracts); and
* Re-view all inter-company disbursements/ reimbursements (cross-charges).

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

Oman and VAT – Ask Synergy Software Systems to help prepare and update your systems

June 30th, 2019

Oman government representatives have said that the state is looking to implement a 5% VAT regime from 1 September 2019. In 2017,
it signed the Gulf Cooperation Council VAT Framework Agreement, which included: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Local media reports in March 2019 quoted a senior official from Oman’s Ministry of Finance as saying that the date of implementation of VAT in Oman is under review. The official reportedly indicated that the target date had been 1 September 2019 but that this is not confirmed, although the intention clearly remains to implement VAT as early as possible. Businesses should take this as a cue to continue their VAT implementation plans in Oman, or restart and reinvigorate those if the work has been put on hold.

A key lesson from our experience of VAT implementation projects in UAE, KSA and Bahrain, across more than 100 companies is that companies that started their VAT planning and implementation projects early had a smoother transition to VAT, than those that waited for the final publication of the domestic law and regulations. A ‘wait and see’ approach backfired on many businesses in the UAE, KSA and Bahrain where there was minimal time between the release of the law and regulations and the go-live date for adequate training, data preparation and testing, and a shortage of resources in the market to cope with the backlog.

There are practical steps to take now. the first is to form an internal VAT working group of key stakeholders to monitor developments in VAT and ensure that VAT is on the Board agenda and is included in budget discussions. The working group will be best placed to negotiate professional services to support implementation, to train end users, and to define test scenarios, etc.

Next ensure there is VAT awareness is key – customers, vendors, and staff. Many in the region have never dealt with VAT, and a solid understanding of the mechanics, scope and terminology of the tax takes time, and that is a necessary foundation for the next steps.

Document your transaction flows . VAT is a transaction tax, with each transaction triggering a potential VAT consequence. This will help you to identify: software changes, processes to update, training needs, data collection needs, commercial document redesign, financial report redesign etc.

Review Contract to ensure they are ‘future proofed’ for the introduction of VAT. For example, to identify whether they include suitable clauses allowing VAT to be charged in addition to contractually agreed prices. The UAE VAT law clearly mandated that communication be sent to all customers within a specific timeline stipulating whether their contracts will be treated as exclusive of tax, failing which customers can dispute the tax being charged in the contract. Therefore, revisiting contractual obligations for both customers and vendors and determining cutover dates, incorporating tax clauses and revising prices and quotations will play a pivotal role to safeguard the business interests of all parties to a contract.

There will be transactions which are closed before the go-live date, and there will be instances where payment is received post the go-live date or where the supply is scheduled post the go-live date, but where the relevant invoices are paid prior to it. Failure to assess and communicate/agree on the VAT impact between all parties to the transaction on such spillover transactions might increase the cost of such transactions and either of the parties may be out of pocket in such scenarios, and there may be unwelcome friction with trading partners, if not managed.

IT infrastructure will be the ‘backbone’ of the VAT compliance function from issuing VAT compliant invoices to producing the VAT return.

Identify VAT resource requirements, particularly external consultants and auditors. Skilled VAT resources are drawn from a diminishing pool of individuals. Take advantage of the experience gained by service providers implementing in Dubai, KSA and Bahrain. There are many wrinkles, not immediately obvious.

Industry associations can raise common issues and concerns with the Ministry of Finance, particularly in advance of the formal publication of the VAT law.

While you can choose to defer VAT implementation be ready to demonstrate to your owners/investors/respective boards and shareholders, that you have done so only after undertaking an appropriate level of due diligence of the likely preparation of the VAT environment. Some key areas include:

Upgrades to ERP systems and user acceptance testing Reporting
Timely VAT registration, (company by company or at Group level?)
Timely Collection of Tax registration numbers for Trading partners
Timely returns, accrual and and payment of taxes
Scoping the need for professional service and selection/references, time for reaching agreement with partners.
Unforeseen penalties
Cash flow management – how will this change? the delayed inflow on account of receipts from customers; outflow after the discharge of tax liabilities on supplies without consideration/deemed supplies (if any); outflow on account of payment to vendors; and additional outflow due to the payment of taxes (net of input tax recoverable) to tax authorities.

Tracking changes in law/ public clarifications

Some businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia faced challenges when ERP systems were not implemented in time to capture VAT on transactions or to generate customised VAT payable or receivable reports. The first quarter of the respective VAT regimes required substantial manual effort to properly account for transactions.

Another hurdle was training staff on the upgraded ERP software as well as new reporting standards

In a test system for financial or erp system, for training and requirement scope you could get early familiarity with the Dubai or KSA framework – there are unlikely to be major changes in the Oman framework.

If you current system is largely manual, or has significant limitations then now be the time to plan for upgrade, or reimplementation or a new system. The UAE VAT law has a penalty provision whereby every incorrect invoice can trigger an AED 5,000 fine (approx. OMR 500), irrespective of the value of the invoice. Exposure to these fines can be significant in industries where high volumes of transactions are made per day, for example the retail, utilities and banking industries. Compliance depends on a robust system and operations preparedness. The audit trail of the process, and other documents, help to ensure correct and timely filing of the returns as well as avoiding any unwarranted penalties.

Businesses across the globe tend to see a fall in demand where the display prices on products do not include VAT, specifically in the case of products which are price sensitive. The implementation of a new indirect tax law will have an impact on turnover and consumer preferences. Some prices ma need to be rounded up or down. You may need to show VAT separately, item by item on a receipt or invoice – is your software able to do that?

Given that the potential VAT rate in Oman may vary between 5 per cent, exempted, non-taxable and zero-rated, businesses should ascertain the price impact of VAT on imports which are recoverable and non-recoverable, final product pricing and alternative sourcing if imports are expensive, and vice versa.

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.

Major SQL updates don’t skip – SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 and SQL Server 2017 CU 15

May 26th, 2019

This week, Microsoft released two major updates.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU7 has multiple fixes including:

• Filtered index corruption
• Access violations in sys.dm_exec_query_statistics_xml, sys.dm_hadr_availability_replica_states, sys.availability_replicas, sys.dm_db_xtp_hash_index_stats, sys.fn_dump_dblog, sys.dm_db_xtp_checkpoint_files
(I.e. if you monitor your servers, which you should, then you should apply this CU to avoid problems caused by the monitoring tool’s queries)
• AG failover fails
• Incorrect query results on columnstore indexes, and also this

SQL Server 2017 CU 15 has even MORE fixes, read the full list. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4498951/cumulative-update-15-for-sql-server-2017

Note also, that from SQL Server 2017, the Analysis Services build version number and SQL Server Database Engine build version number do not match

There are some CUs you might be tempted to skip because they don’t affect you. These releases will affect a wide range of features and you should plan to apply these sooner than later.

Power BI update March – April 2019

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft launched the public preview of new Power BI workspace experiences in August 2018 to enable Power BI workspace admins:
• to use security groups to manage access to workspaces,
• to enable BI teams to create workspaces without needing to create an Office 365 Group,
• to provide granular workspace roles to make giving access to workspaces easier.

At the beginning of April 2019, the new workspace experiences. will reach General Availability (GA)

Usage metrics for new workspaces are rolling out this week
This capability is much requested by customers and works the same as it did for classic workspaces based on Office 365 Groups. It may take until late this week or next week to reach all commercial cloud customers.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/update-on-the-new-workspace-experiences-preview-including-ga-timeline/

The March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.2.47) includes an updated version of the Mashup Engine, which matches the one released as part of the Power BI Desktop March update.

This will ensure that the reports that you publish to the Power BI Service and refresh via the Gateway will go through the same query execution logic/runtime as in the latest Power BI Desktop version.

Happiness Day, Loneliness and Power BI

March 21st, 2019

At the annual Gartner BI Bake Off session at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando, Florida the Power BI team featured this report which you can explore here:

Here are some insights and highlights from the report:
• The employment groups with the most happiness are employed and retired people followed closely by stay at home parents and students.
• The highest ratio of lonely to non-lonely people by age group is between 35 and 44 years old.
• For the countries in the dataset, the UK and the US have higher loneliness ratios (0.30 and 0.29 respectively) than Japan (0.10).

if you think Power BI might provide insights into your business, and need training or assistance with report modelling, or need to understand the different licence types, then contact us – 009714 3365589