Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Windows- no more security updates for older versions of Windows 10

October 12th, 2019

On Wednesday last week Microsoft warned that organizations running Windows 10 version 1703 will stop getting “quality updates” (security and nonsecurity patches) on Oct. 8, 2019.

Organizations running Windows 10 version 1803 will stop getting quality updates on Nov. 12, 2019.
So our advice is to upgrade to the latest version to continue to get patch support from Microsoft.

Patching systems is more complicated with Windows 10. Microsoft admitted a couple of year ago that it had stopped testing its quality updates when it released Windows 8 and it reduced its app testing. It now follows more of a combination of a DevOps ‘crowd -QA’ feedback approach and its “telemetry” data collection, to hold off delivering potentially problematic upgrades. It hasn’t been a problem-free approach, and there have been failures in delivering problem-free patches. Enterprise organizations also have more complex software environments to patch for in its own testing.

If Microsoft continues as indicated down the road of making Windows a service billed on consumption, then it may have to look close at the relationship between QA and its SLAs

5G – performance and security

October 12th, 2019

5G is now available in many countries. Gartner research indicates that 66 per cent of organisations plan to deploy 5G by 2020, while 59 per cent intend to include IoT communications with 5G. However, many enterprises are underprepared to cope with the levels of data to be captured, shared, analysed, and stored in near-real time for its benefits to be realised.

The promise is higher bandwidth delivered at lower latency offers huge potential. predecesso. 4Ghas a current maximum download speed of 100 Mbps. 5G is expected to deliver 10 Gbps; download speeds 100 times faster than 4G. Any kind of lag in transmitting information for real-time decision-making can be problematic. ERP systems notoriously suffer when they scale up to multi geographies. Because of latency, a connection or transaction might timeout before being committed. To minimise the risk thin client connections are often adopted

When data travels thousands of miles to a cloud data centre, via multiple isp providers latency is a very real concern. Edge computing address this issue with micro data centres just outside the network i.e. at “edge.” to place compute and analytics power as close to the action as possible, to enable real-time decision-making. Data that doesn’t have to be processed immediately is routed to a cloud data centre for later use.

Consider self driving cars as IoT endpoints, band lack boxes at crossroads as edge computing points, with communication secured via 5G. Context is everything. Without the ability to instantly analyse and act upon data in context, 5G will offer less value. An isolated measurement e.g. a plane is cruising at 10,000 feet isn’t very useful, unless you know it was at 36,000 less than one minute beforehand. This contextual analysis is vital to get the best from IoT. Data still needs to be processed centrally. Edge computing can provide, more rapid, but more superficial insights, but it does not give context-rich data insights. So, while there’s a clear need to be prepared to collect data from distributed sources, there’s also a need to manage and act upon it centrally.

5G is here to stay, and the number and types of devices that will connect to the network will continue to increase
So how do you optimise and secure its use for different business requirements, First identify the requirements, the options and the threats.

Custom network configuration — known as network slicing is the most significant difference between 4G and 5G. In previous generations of wireless, the networks were configured universally, and each customer, and each network operator had few options for customisation or optimisation of their network configuration.

Vertical applications, each require different levels of performance and network slicing allows operators to offer customised resources for the different types of applications running on their network. The European Commission and the European Agency for Cybersecurity issued a report earlier this week,argues that, for 5G to work, telecommunications companies will increasingly rely on software, for things like network virtualisation and slicing.

A healthcare provider require, high reliability and low latency resources in their networked applications, redundancy for applications like remote surgery or heart monitoring run on the network.

For an IoT application, the needs are different. The of IoT data flowing over the network will be small amounts of data from many sensors. While reliability is still a factor, more important may be the management of a very high number of connections. Mobility management might not be particularly important for a large IoT network, because the connected devices might not move. Without the need to provision mobility for a network of millions of devices, the operator can save on capital expenditure.

According to a the European report, vendor lock-in, and potential cybersecurity are weak spots for telecommunications companies all over the world looking to integrate 5G, Given the USA- China trade war controversy this year its not surprising that many in media argue that the report’s concerns are targeted at Huawei even though the company’s name was never mentioned.

If, due to a lack of skilled staff, the telcos look to outsource to suppliers for soft
zware support, then will they put their entire operation at risk? “The increased role of software and services provided by third party suppliers in 5G networks leads to a greater exposure to a number of vulnerabilities that may derive from the risk profile of individual suppliers,” the report states. .”Major security flaws, such as those deriving from poor software development processes within equipment suppliers, could make it easier for actors to maliciously insert intentional backdoors into products and make them also harder to detect. This may increase the possibility of their exploitation leading to a particularly severe and widespread negative impact.”

The report argues that, countries should not only assess at the technical qualities of their potential suppliers but also analyse the “non-technical vulnerabilities related to 5G networks”, which includes having connections and/or doing business with the government. Lack of legislation, or “democratic checks and balances”, as well as the lack of security or data protection agreements between the supplier’s country and the EU are other concerns.

“……..hostile third countries may exercise pressure on 5G suppliers in order to facilitate cyberattacks serving their national interests,” the report states. “The degree of exposure to this risk is strongly influenced by the extent to which the supplier has access to the network, in particular its most sensitive assets, and by the risk profile of the individual supplier.”

If your digital journey includes scalability, IoT, Big Data and Predictive analytics, RPA and cross platform process automation then both 5g and Wifi6 will be enablers and their secure management and the overall solution architecture needs to be considered holistically.
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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.

Legacy web client for Dynamics 365 CRM will be deprecated. New D365 Unified Client ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

October 3rd, 2019

On the 10th September 2019, Microsoft announced the legacy web client for Dynamics 365 CRM will be deprecated. Customers must transition to Unified Interface before October 1, 2020.
This will affect Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Customer Service, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Project Service, and Dynamics 365 Marketing customers.
According to Microsoft, they will “continue to provide support, security, and other critical updates to the Dynamics 365 legacy web client until October 1, 2020, but will not release any additional functionality beyond what has already been announced.”
In addition, the following capabilities will also be removed from Dynamics CRM solutions by October 1, 2020:
• Process dialogs
• Task flows
We expect other current functionality to also be deprecated within the next year.
New features include:
• Form Updates
• Entity Based Dashboards
• Business Process Flows
• Role Based Apps and Views
• Navigation and Views
• Panels and Subgrids
• Timelines
• Artificial Intelligence
Contact us for an upgrade analysis. We’ll help you consider the information you need before you transition to the new UI including:
• High-level state of your current CRM system
• Cloud and mobile strategy
• Usability
• List of all third-party ISVs
• User processes
• Tenant analysis
• Deployment methodology
• License changes from 1 Oct 2019

Dynamics 365 release wave 2 October 2019

October 2nd, 2019

In August, Microsoft brought Dynamics 365 2019 release wave 2 to early access. Initially, 74 new capabilities were showcased, targeting various applications that are part of Microsoft’s enterprise resource planning suite of services. These applications include Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance and Operations, and Retail, as well as the Power Platform which comprises of PowerApps, Flow, and Power BI.

We recently posted about new licensing changes.
At the same time this latest release wave is now generally availabile,

It brings over 400 new capabilities and feature updates to users – one of the largest ever update plans for Dynamics 365.

Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in AI research to bring insights to everyone in context of the task at hand—a key to transforming from a reactive to proactive organization. New AI-powered insights applications were also released last week, including: Dynamics 365 Product Insights, Commerce, and Connected Store.

Additional capabilities for already existing services were also introduced.

Moreover, Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection is also generally available starting today.

Power BI, gets new features every month. We now have a unified platform for enterprise BI, and self-service analytics for all.
•Unified platform for enterprise BI •Data Protection (Preview)
•Shared and Certified Datasets
•Data lineage capabilities (Preview)
•Open platform connectivity (XMLA Read/Write) (Preview)
•Datasets larger than 10GB in Power BI Premium (Preview)
•Admin usage metrics
•Unattended Power BI template app installation

•Self-service analytics for everyone •New experience for report consumption
•Home customization
•Mobile Home

Other apps on the Power Platform are also have updates, with AI Builder for Powerapps and Flow reaching general availability. Administrators benefit from richer tooling, such as PowerShell Command lets (cmdlets) and the new Power Platform Admin Center.

https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications/product-updates/

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.

Mainstream support for SharePoint Server 2010 ends in October 2020.

October 1st, 2019

Mainstream support for SharePoint Server 2010 will ends this time next year – October 2020.
Microsoft will completely end support for SharePoint Server 2010.

• No critical updates were released in 2017 for SharePoint Server 2010 under extended support.
• No security updates will be developed or released after end of support.
• The operating systems supporting SharePoint Server 2010 are reaching, or have reached end of support.

So its time to consider migration to SharePoint Server 2016 or SharePoint Server 2019 to modernize your infrastructure and take advantage of the latest in content collaboration and portal technologies.

Azure Data Share in preview

August 29th, 2019

A brand new product by Microsoft called Azure Data Share was recently announced and is in public preview. It is a simple way to control, manage, and monitor all of your data sharing.

Data which resides in Azure storage can be securely shared between a data provider and a data consumer by copying a snapshot of the data to the consumer’s subscription (called snapshot-based copying, and in the future there will be in-place sharing). It supports ADLS Gen1, ADLS Gen2, and Blob storage, and eventually will support Azure Data Explorer, SQL DB, and SQL DW.

With a few clicks share data with another user that has access to an Azure Subscription and storage account. Dat is copied, and updated and is encrypted during transit. Specify the frequency at which the data consumers receive updates.
- With Azure Data Share, as a data provider, you provision a data share and invite recipients to the data share.
- Data consumers receive an invitation to your data share via e-mail. Once a data consumer accepts the invitation, they can trigger a full snapshot of the data shared you shared them.
- This data is received into the data consumers storage account. Data consumers can receive regular, incremental updates to the data shared with them so that they always have the latest version of the data.
- When a data consumer accepts a data share, they are able to receive the data in a storage account of their choosing. For example, if the data provider shares data using Azure Blob Storage, the data consumer can receive this data in Azure Data Lake Store.

Azure Data Share also provides a way for companies to monetize some of theirvaluable internal data. With all the work done to build a modern data warehouse, why not sell the data to partners and business customers? They will save a ton of time and money trying to create the same data. This needs to be considered in the context of privacy laws like GDPR.

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Skype for Business Online being retired in 2021

August 19th, 2019

Microsoft has stated that, “starting September 1, 2019 ), we will onboard all new Office 365 customers directly to Teams for chat, meetings, and calling.” (only 2 weeks away)

For those of you using Skype for Business On-premises this change will not affect you till July 2021.

Microsoft now feels that Teams provides all the functionality (and then some) that Skype for Business Online provided so they recommend that every Skype for Business Online customer upgrade to Teams.

In Teams Microsoft provides some of the features that aren’t offered in Skype for Business Online

• Dynamic 911 ◦Automatically find a caller’s current location so you can route to a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) call center operated by the local government. Dynamic E911 is due by the end of 2019

• Shorter Retention Periods◦Set retention periods to as short a 1 day – this ensures channel and chat data will be removed from all permanent storage locations in the Microsoft Teams service. This feature is also due by the end of 2019

• Teams and Skype Consumer interoperability With this latest feature you will be able to communicate between Microsoft Teams and Skype Consumer by using either chat or calling. This is due to release in Q1 2020

• Contact Center Integration and Compliance Recording
At Microsoft Inspire this year there was an announcement of these Teams partnerships: Five9, Genesys, and NICE, to enable Contact Center solutions. In addition, Compliance Recording will be offered by: ASC, NICE, and Verint!

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Power BI wave 2 Oct 2019 – what’s new preview

August 18th, 2019

The 2019 release wave 2, 2019 release wave 2 -planned to release in the time frame October 2019-March 2020 – brings to market significant new capabilities to enable digital transformation for businesses. For Power BI, these new capabilities include:
Unified platform for enterprise BI
• Data Protection (Preview)
• Shared and Certified Datasets
• Data lineage capabilities (Preview)
• Open platform connectivity (XMLA Read/Write) (Preview)
• Datasets larger than 10GB in Power BI Premium (Preview)
• Admin usage metrics
• Unattended Power BI template app installation

Self-service analytics for everyone
• New experience for report consumption
• Home customization
• Mobile Home

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 2014 Sp3 mainstream support ended on July 9 – CU4 just released

July 31st, 2019

However Cumulative Update 4 for SQL Server 2014 SP3 has just been released.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4500181/cumulative-update-4-for-sql-server-2014-sp3

Office 365 will retire TLS 1.0 and 1.1 starting June 1st, 2020

July 24th, 2019

To provide best-in-class encryption, and to ensure the service is more secure by default, Microsoft is moving all of its online services to Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2+

Office 365 will be retiring TLS 1.0 and 1.1 starting June 1, 2020. This means that all connections to Office 365 using the protocols TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 will not work so prior to June 1, 2020.

Plan to replace clients and devices that rely on TLS 1.0 and 1.1 to connect to Office 365.

The TLS protocol aims primarily to provide privacy and data integrity between two or more communicating computer applications. It is an IETF standard intended to prevent eavesdropping, tampering and message forgery. Transport Layer Security (TLS), and the deprecated predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols that provide communications security over a computer network and the protocols find are uses in applications such as: web browsing, email, instant messaging, and voice over IP (VoIP). Websites use TLS to secure all communications between their servers and web browsers. The latest version – TLS 1.3 – is an overhaul that strengthens and streamlines the crypto protocol.

The work on TLS1.3 started in April 2014, and it took four years and 28 drafts before it was approved in March of 2018. Version 1.3 makes the handshake process faster by speeding up the encryption process. This has a security benefit, and will also improve performance of secure web applications. With TLS 1.2, the handshake process involved several round trips, whereas with 1.3 only one round is required, and all the information is passed at that time. In addition to security improvements, TLS 1.3 eliminated a number of older algorithms that did nothing other than create vulnerabilities.The updated protocol added a function called “0-RTT resumption” that enables the client and server to remember if they have communicated before.

The PCI compliance standards require that any site accepting credit card payments uses TLS 1.2 after June 30, 2018 Services such as PayPal, Authorize.net, Stripe, UPS, FedEx, and many others already support TLS1.2, and have announced that they will eventually refuse TLS 1.0 connections. This means your safest action is to upgrade to TLS 1.2+/3 sooner than later to avoid disruption. It also likely to be a consideration for GDPR compliance in the event of a breach if using an older protocol.

Dynamics 365 license changes – from 1 October 2019

July 22nd, 2019

There was a lot of exciting product and technology news form Microsoft’s Inspire event in Las Vegas this month.
Not so inspiring for many of the audience was the announcement of changes in licensing to take effect as early as 1 October this year.

if you are an existing Dynamics 365 customer on the cloud for any app then you are affected, as are those intending to buy.

For now there is no change to on-premise licenses (some D365 apps are only available on the cloud).

Effective October 1 , 2019, Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Operations Plan, and Dynamics 365 Plan
SKUs will be removed from all price lists. Finance and Operations will be split into individual applications – one for Supply Chain Management, and one for Finance. This change will enable customers to purchase suitable core workload application(s) for individual user
needs going forward.

Core workload Business Applications are Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Supply Chain Management, Finance, Retail, and Talent. The current plan offerings for :Customer Engagement Plan, Unified Operations Plan, and Dynamics 365 Plan be removed from all channels and for all licensing segments.

The new ‘ la carte’ approach is user license (USL) based.

Base license: the first Business Application purchased at the standard price.
Attach licenses are the additional USL application(s) at a flat price of:
$20 per Customer Engagement application
or
$30 per Unified Operations application.

• Each Attach license can only be assigned to a user with the prerequisite Base license.
• When purchasing multiple Business Applications, the Base license must be the higher priced license.
• Each user may only have one Base license.
• Attach license:USL application(s) incrementally purchased after the Base license. Users may have
as many Attach licenses as needed.
• Base and Attach licenses are identical in their core capabilities and are only differentiated in price. .

Business Applications that can’t be purchased as Attach licenses:
Core workload Business Applications:
• Project Service Automation
• Marketing
• Talent
Non-core workload applications:
• Customer Insights
• Microsoft Relationship Sales solution
• Sales Insights
• Marketing Additional Application
Customer Service Chat
• Resource Scheduling Optimization
• comprehensive hiring
• Order Lines
• Forms Pro
• All capacity add-ons

Customers seeking one Business Application per user should only purchase a Base license per user.
Single Business Applications priced between $50-$180 are less expensive than Customer Engagement Plan ($115) or Unified Operations Plan ($190) today.

For existing customers there is no immediate change to customers’ existing agreement. They can true up seats at the renewal anniversary as required. At renewal (after the beginning October 2019), customers must renew on the new Attach construct. They must have a qualified Base license for each user and assign the additional Attach licenses to their multiple application users as required. Its possible that someone will be able to use lower cost licenses.

Supply Chain Management, Finance, and Retail apps have a 20-user minimum purchase requirement. There is a difference between CE and CSA licensing in this respect..

There is no change in dual use rights. Dual use rights vary by application.

Power Bi new installers – be ready to change your upgrade scripts

July 20th, 2019

Currently, Microsoft builds and publish 84 different .msi files for installing Power BI – a 32-bit and a 64-bit one for each of the 42 languages it supports/

They have just completed work to wrap these into two installers (32- and 64-bit), which will give users the ability to change the language of the UI and model without having to install a new version.

An enterprise administrator who manages the rollout of Power BI Desktop to users in multiple languages will find this much easier.

You can get the new single installer at https://aka.ms/pbiSingleInstaller, and you still find the separate MSIs for each language at https://www.microsoft.com/download/details.aspx?id=45331.

The MSIs will continue to be available (and updated each month) until the September update, after which only the new single installer will be available.

If you have scripts that pull new versions of Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Download Center, need to be update to point to the new location before October 1st