Archive for the ‘Sunsystems and Vision’ category

SQL Server 2016 SP2 Cumulative Update 12

April 1st, 2020

SQL Server 2016 SP2 Cumulative Update 12 contains some useful fixes:

SQL Server can shut down when you hit the max number of sessions
SQL Server can shut down due to lock conflicts during error message processing
“SQL Server crashes frequently” when you check a clustered columnstore index for corruption
AGs may have “interruption” – I guess that means the AG stops replicating, but it’s not clear from the KB article.
Stack dumps when transaction replication has a heavy workload on the publication database
Stack dumps when you query persisted computed columns
Stack dumps when you run a batch mode query with multiple joins (that’s columnstore indexes in 2016)
Scalar functions run slower than they did on SQL Server 2008 R2
Non-yielding scheduler when the primary AG replica runs low on memory
AG may think there’s a missing log block when the database isn’t very active
AG automatic seeding may fail
AGs with persistent log buffers: “all of the secondaries in the AG become unavailable”
Change tracking auto cleanup causes access violations and stack dumps
Access violations when Extended Events tries to capture query text on busy servers
Error when stored proc in database A pulls data from database B while being audited in database C
Stack dumps when you alter database-scoped configurations
Incorrect statistics histograms when they’re updated in parallel – which also means that after you apply this CU, you should probably update your statistics.
There’s also a new feature: the default system health Extended Events session can store way more data now, AND you can edit how much it holds!

SQL Server 2016 SP2 Cu12 is available

March 1st, 2020

There’s a new feature: the default system health Extended Events session can now store a lot more data and you can edit how much it should hold.

Several hotfixes
• SQL Server can shut down when you hit the max number of sessions
• SQL Server can shut down due to lock conflicts during error message processing
• “SQL Server crashes frequently” when you check a clustered columnstore index for corruption
• AGs may have “interruption”
• Stack dumps when transaction replication has a heavy workload on the publication database
• Stack dumps when you query persisted computed columns
• Stack dumps when you run a batch mode query with multiple joins (that’s columnstore indexes in 2016)
• Scalar functions run slower than they did on SQL Server 2008 R2
• Non-yielding scheduler when the primary AG replica runs low on memory
• AG may think there’s a missing log block when the database isn’t very active
• AG automatic seeding may fail
• AGs with persistent log buffers: “all of the secondaries in the AG become unavailable”
• Change tracking auto cleanup causes access violations and stack dumps
• Access violations when Extended Events tries to capture query text on busy servers
• Error when stored proc in database A pulls data from database B while being audited in database C
• Stack dumps when you alter database-scoped configurations
• Incorrect statistics histograms when they’re updated in parallel – which also means that after you apply this CU, you should probably update your statistics.

Cumulative updates (CU) are now available at the Microsoft Download Center.

Only the most recent CU that was released for SQL Server 2016 SP2 is available at the Download Center. Each new CU contains all the fixes that were included togetrher with the previous CU for the installed version or service pack of SQL Server.
•Microsoft recommends ongoing, proactive installation of CUs as they become available: •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.
•CUs may contain added value over and above hotfixes. This includes supportability, manageability, and reliability updates.

•Just as for SQL Server service packs, we recommend that you test CUs before you deploy them to production environments.
•We recommend that you upgrade your SQL Server installation to the latest SQL Server 2016 service pack.

Azure Misconfiguration Exposes 250 Million Microsoft Customer Accounts

January 24th, 2020

Microsoft warned its users this week that their customer support case information might have been exposed at the end of 2019 due to security misconfigurations in an Azure-hosted database. According to Microsoft’s investigation, customer data was left unprotected from Dec. 5, 2019 through Dec. 31, 2019.

Most of the personally identifiable information in these customer support records was “redacted” or obscured by “automated tools.”

However, some customer information, if it was slightly off-format, may then have been exposed. Microsoft’s example of such exposed data is a URL that contained extra spaces. The records contained logs of conversations between Microsoft support agents and customers from all over the world, spanning a 14-year period from 2005 to December 2019. All of the data was left accessible to anyone with a web browser, with no password or other authentication needed.

Microsoft took swift action to secure it. ‘I immediately reported this to Microsoft and within 24 hours all servers were secured,” said Bob Diachenko who led the Comparitech security research team that discovered the issue. “< em>I applaud the MS support team for responsiveness and quick turnaround on this despite New Year’s Eve.”

Comparitech also gave this good advice:
the dangers of this exposure should not be underestimated. The data could be valuable to tech support scammers, in particular.

Tech support scams entail a scammer contacting users and pretending to be a Microsoft support representative. These types of scams are quite prevalent, and even when scammers don’t have any personal information about their targets, they often impersonate Microsoft staff. Microsoft Windows is, after all, the most popular operating system in the world.

With detailed logs and case information in hand, scammers stand a better chance of succeeding against their targets. If scammers obtained the data before it was secured, they could exploit it by impersonating a real Microsoft employee and referring to a real case number. From there, they could phish for sensitive information or hijack user devices.

Microsoft customers and Windows users should be on the lookout for such scams via phone and email. Remember that Microsoft never proactively reaches out to users to solve their tech problems—users must approach Microsoft for help first. Microsoft employees will not ask for your password or request that you install remote desktop applications like TeamViewer. These are common tactics among tech scammers.

This follows many high profile beaches e.g.:
•267 million Facebook user IDs and phone numbers exposed online
•2.7 billion exposed email addresses from mostly Chinese domains, 1 million of which included passwords
•Detailed personal records of 188 million people found exposed on the web
•7 million student records exposed by K12.com
•5 million personal records belonging to MedicareSupplement.com exposed to public
•2.8 million CenturyLink customer records exposed
•700k Choice Hotels customer records leaked

If you need to improve your system security call Synergy Software Systems on 0097143365589 to learn more of our solutions.

Be prepared for Potential Iranian Cyberattacks

January 10th, 2020

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies

The U.S. agency in charge of cybersecurity urges organizations in the United States to prepare for potential attacks from Iran in response to the American drone killing of General Qassim Suleimani.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued its warning, “Potential for Iranian Cyber Response to U.S. Military Strike in Baghdad,” on Monday afternoon. CISA is a federal agency created in 2018 to coordinate with other government entities and the private sector on cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection.

The drone attack as Suleimani was visiting Baghdad last week is widely expected to prompt counterattacks of some sort from Iran, with Iranian leaders vowing as much in recent days. One of the most rapid ways that Iran can respond is through attacks on computer systems of U.S. businesses and government agencies. However, proxy attack on perceived USA allies, or major USA technology firms also have to be considered.

A key feature in your defence is the way your anti malware software handles unknown files. All Ransomware/Malware starts as an unknown file. Older protection software uses a detect and remediate approach to stop it. Basically, a default ‘allow’ policy, because they let unknown files come into their system and then try to stop the effect. This is a problem because hackers make new malicious codes every single day, and rely on signature based detection methods.

We offer a solution with a default ‘Deny’ approach. Our auto-containment features is a patented and the one-and-only technology that renders malware useless and to date the Platform and Auto Containment.
has 0 breaches.

With growing and ever more sophisticated and expensive attacks, and increasingly stringent legislation such as GDPR with swinging data breach penalties, the risks of international war by cybercrime have gone up another notch.

If you need to boost your defences then contact us on 0097143365589

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 support will end January 14, 2020- ask Synergy Software Systems about options.

November 16th, 2019

On January 14, 2020, support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will end. Only 2 months away
That means the end of regular security updates.

Don’t let your infrastructure and applications go unprotected.

We’re here to help you migrate to current versions for greater security, performance and innovation.
009714 3365589

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.