Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Atlas 6 release for Dynamics Ax – ask Synergy Software Systems

November 24th, 2014

I was able to catch up with the Ataas team at Convergence Barcelona 2014 earlier this November. and to see the Atlas 6.0 launch experience.

Some key new features:
• Blending data from many data sources; Microsoft Dynamics AX, CRM, OLAP cubes & external database, SSAS & Oracle.
• The new ‘Atlas Desktop Client’ with options for visualising your data, blending your information, and building dashboard reports & charts to paint a true BI picture of your company.
• For the first time, the capability to Report and Upload on the move as you access Desktop dashboards and visualisation canvases through mobiles and tablets.
Blend business data easily into your existing PowerPoint, Excel, Word & Outlook documents
• Drill down to source transactions
• Combination of reporting & upload styles.

I am pleased to advise some important dates to which that we have all been looking forward:

Release Dates
Atlas 6.0 General Availability: 8th of December 2014 – Available to all customers and prospects.
Atlas 6.0 Upgrade Scripts: 1st February 2014

New like-for-like License keys will be issued to each customer who has a current AEP subscription.
An additional add-on will be installed to assist the transition from Atlas 5.1 x to 6.0.
Please note:
Atlas 5.1 will be withdrawn from the market for new customers from 1st March 2015.

SQL Server 2012 SP2 Cumulative Update 3

November 23rd, 2014

Microsoft has released SQL Server 2012 SP2 Cumulative Update 3, which is Build 11.0.5556.
This CU has 34 hotfixes in the public fix list.
If you are running SQL Server 2012, then this is the build you should be planning to install, after you have done your testing.

They have also released SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 13, which is Build 11.0.3482.
It only has 10 hotfixes in the public fix list.
We recommend you should be planning to move from the SP1 branch to the SP2 branch sooner, rather than later.
The RTM branch of SQL Server 2012 has been retired.

Patch Tuesday woes November 2014

November 23rd, 2014

Last week’s patches.

Some serious problems with MS14-066 (KB2992611), (the SChannel patch). This patch is reported to cause severe performance problems on SQL Server, problems with the Chrome browser communicating with IIS web servers, and disconnections of TLS 1.2 sessions during the key exchange process. There are also compatibility problems with IBM’s B2B Integrator and File Gateway.

Also problems with MS14-065 (KB3003057), which is this month’s cumulative security update for Internet Explorer. Problems include crashes of IE 11, inability to connect to the Internet after installing the patch, and incompatibilities with specific software including Epim and the IWebBrowser interface.

MS14-070 (KB2989935) is reported to cause unexpected behavior with Websphere Application Server. In most of these cases, uninstalling the patches fixes the problems.

Meanwhile, a new “out of band” patch was released. Patch releases outside of the regular Patch Tuesday schedule are relatively rare, and generally reserved for very severe zero day type vulnerabilities are that already being exploited or have been publicly disclosed and thus the risk of imminent exploit is high. This one is a little different, though. Last week’s release was unusual in that the Advance Notification the week before announced the impending release of 16 patches but on Patch Tuesday, only 14 updates appeared. Two numbers, MS14-068 and MS14-075, were deferred with the label “Release date to be determined.”

MS14-068 (KB3011780) was released today, November 18. The vulnerability that it addresses is rated critical and affects all currently supported versions of Windows Server – 2003, 2008/2008 R2, 2012/2012 R2 – but it was reported privately and the attacker has to have valid domain logon credentials to be able to exploit it.

MS14-068 addresses a checksum vulnerability in Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC) that, due to failure to properly validate signatures, can allow certain types of Kerberos service tickets to be forged. An attacker can use this to elevate privileges remotely, gaining domain administrator privileges with an unprivileged domain user account. The attacker would be able to impersonate any domain user and join any domain group. Obviously this would give the attacker full control over the domain.

Windows Server domain controllers that are set up to function as Kerberos KDCs should be patched as soon as possible. This includes server core installations. In addition to fixing the Kerberos vulnerability, the update also includes some additional defense-in-depth system hardening. For that reason, it should also be applied to Windows client systems – Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 – even though they are not at risk from the Kerberos vulnerability.

Critical Patch Tuesday November 2014

November 8th, 2014

Next week’s round of Patch Tuesday updates from Microsoft will be the biggest so far this year with 16 bulletins in total, five of which are rated Critical and nine as Important.

Most of the Critical bulletins are for Windows components and affect a range of supported systems.

If you are currently running a supported version of Windows, then update as soon as these updates become available. These are some nasty vulnerabilities in Windows

We expect that one of these bulletins will address the OLE remote code execution for which a security advisory was published last month. Exploits have continued.

There will be an update to .NET Framework too – those patches tend to take longer than the average OS patch to install.

Patches for the Windows 10 and Windows Server Technical Previews will be available

The additional 16 bulletins means that we will probably finish the year under 100 vulnerabilities, which is a bit lower than in 2013

Bulletin 2, which covers all versions of Internet Explorer from IE6 on Windows 2003 to IE11 on Windows 8.1, should be a high priority for admins since there’s a whole underground industry developing browser exploit kits.

The Important bulletins address Windows, the .NET runtime framework and Word along with the SharePoint and Exchange servers. If you have automatic updates turned on all of the required updates will be downloaded as they become available. A reboot will be needed to complete the installation.

Adobe has put out Flash updates on all but one of this year’s patch Tuesdays, so add that to your list .

Convergence Day 1 Barcelona – Synergy Software Systems

November 5th, 2014

More then 4000 participants from 71 countries learned that sunny Spain stops at Barcelona as the heavens opened up with monsoon like rain and it turned out the main hall was the other side of the exhibition centre. Fortunately this did not dampen spirits and the day got off to a visionary start with the opening address that showed how Microsoft’s breadth of platform and products enables personal professional productivity.

This was delivered by Kirill Tatarinov president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Division (MBS) who whose key theme was that today’s connected workforce is transforming business from the inside out.

Workplace productivity is changing and evolving in front of our eyes. A key statistic he cited is that next year, it’s estimated that almost 30 percent of the global workforce will be mobile and that it’s estimated that over 85 percent of organizations worldwide will have policies enabling their people to bring their own devices and use those for work.

As individual business people and teams work closer together, and organizations become more customer-focused, they need technology that will help them unite. Businesses are increasingly looking to the cloud to respond to these changes. 75 percent of enterprises already enjoy the benefits of the cloud. The Microsoft recipe for cloud success is rooted in the integration and interrelationships between cloud platform, cloud productivity and cloud Business Applications – and only Microsoft offers all three. Together, Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics Business Applications deliver cloud experiences businesses can count on.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM works seamlessly with Office and Power BI across mobile devices to help increase sales productivity, deliver smarter marketing, and boost customer loyalty. Advances in Dynamics CRM 2015 are designed to address the growing need for businesses to deliver great experiences to their customers by helping them to break down the barriers between divisions and to collaborate like never before.

Every day, twenty million businesses around the world trust the Microsoft Cloud – the only cloud provider that is certified by the European Union under the EU model clause – across all cloud services – Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online.

Case studies featured JJ Foods, Ingram Micro, Kudelski Group and Onduline, who are transforming their businesses in unique and creative ways, harnessing the power of the cloud to gain competitive advantage through outstanding customer experiences and productivity improvements.

A view of the future today showed how Power Bi, CRM, Office 365, Bing search engine, predictive analytics, alerts to a wearable wrist device and a mobile phone assistant can all interact across a range of platforms :ipad, Surface, browser, desktop, mobile.

It was also a chance to catch up with several of our partners for specialist isv solutions and global collaboration.


Emily- CWR mobility for Dynamics CRM

I was particularly interested in a session involving Mike Ehrenberg – Microsoft CTO on the future of Dynamics Ax showing how predictive analytics could be used for constraint based inventory forecasting e.g. for daily sale of an item based on a nearby event detected by Bing, change in weather or temperature, prior sales history etc. It also gave a peek at the future Ax html client.

Microsoft Convergence Barcelona 2014 – Synergy Software Systems

November 2nd, 2014

I will be in Barcelona all week, first for the Ax Pact CEO conference, then for Convergence.
This has been an interesting year for Microsoft with management changes, wholesale redundancies, major profit growth, significant new product acquisitions, a clearer corporate strategy, huge advances in Office 365, Azure , mobility, social media, BO, and major new releases of Dynamics Ax and CRM so there is much to be learned about the road ahead

For Synergy Software Systems it is chance to meet up with global partners and Senior Microsoft managers, and to stay in the vanguard of the product road map. Our membership of the Microsoft council Ax Pact, System Advisors Global and other international alliances is a a major benefit to our clients when planning their forward strategy.

Watch this space for convention news.
Yoshijima Ryohei CEO of our Japanese partner at the Temple of the Sacred Family before work starts in earnest tomorrow.

BI4Dynamics – new release. Wow! Ask Synergy Software Systems

October 21st, 2014

Biggest BI4Dynamics release in the history includes:
• Smartest self-service Cube Wizard in the market
Easily create custom cubes in 4 simple steps. Download the Manual and watch How to Videos.
• BI4Dynamics SQL framework refactored and upgraded
o Improved performance (30 to 50% performance improvement with incremental processing).
o Faster and easier custom development (more than 50% less custom code needed when creating new modules).
o Improved logging in the SQL framework (more detailed execution information for each procedure are available).
o Easier debugging of incorrect data in custom development (data references that connect fact and stage records have been added).
• NAV2013 R2 multitenant and NAV 2015 support
• SQL Server 2014 support
• Log window improvements
Better and easier tracking of log entries

Note: BI4Dynamics v4 and v5 can run simultaneously in separate folders.

And of course you still get prebuilt dashboards and reports and direct access to your data for ad hoc reports and inquires from Excel -just pick the fields you need – tis that easy and very fast because the KPIs and total and summary calculations are already defined and processed in the underlying data warehouse. No other BI solution implements a s fast and no other provides anything like the same prebuilt content.

If you are either a Dynamics Nav partner, or a Customer then contact us – you must take a look.

Special cube and report pack also for NAV Retail.

Dynamics Ax ? Yes BI4Dynamcis is also available and updated content packs for 2012 R3 will be released shortly.

Ask about our special post Gitex offer. Invest in BI4Dynamics with us and also get a free training place on our 2 day Management Reporter course in November.

Gitex end – Synergy Software Systems. Dubai

October 18th, 2014

A very busy week – thank you to the many visitors vendors, customers, friends and the curious. Also a very tiring week and everyone ready for the weekend

Thank you to all the staff who manned the stand, the administrative tram behind the scenes, and those keeping the business going who covered work for their colleagues at the show.

A particular thank you to our partners Computime who joined us on the stand to help present BRSAnalytics for Banking regulatory reporting

For the many visitors from around all around the region interested in our solutions we will be in touch – but please be patient for a day or two there are a lot of you!

What’s next:
17th November 2014 at Microsoft Gulf Offices, we will be holding a morning seminar on BRSAnalytics and up to date information about the latest regional information on regulatory reporting. See for example regulatory reports in the regional Central Bank mandated formats.

In the afternoon we will be holding a Dynamics Ax 2012R3 seminar for the Construction and Property Management sector which will highlight Flex Property module, AEC BIM construction and tools, our localised GCC module for HR and Payroll, and our exciting offerings for BI (Management reporter new features, Atlas6, BI4Dynamcs and an incredible new cross platform app to visualise your Dynamics Ax (and other system) data

We will be running another Management reporter course soon – watch this blog for details.

In December we will also run our annual course on Year end closure for Dynamics Ax-there is always a high demand for this course so book early. New features in Ax 2012 and R3 for example budgets, and encumbrance accounting now also need to be considered.

Microsoft Sway

October 2nd, 2014

Sway allows anyone to create a beautiful website from just images and text without minimal effort- what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) — a modern version of FrontPage. It will sit alongside the regular Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote apps as a rich content creation tool. Microsoft is billing this latest addition to its Office portfolio as a “way to re-imagine how your ideas come to life.”

The new Office app, released in preview on Wednesday, can be used to create a wide range of document types, such as: presentations and Web pages, as well as standard documents and reports. Components can include anything from text and tables, to photos, videos and animations.

Microsoft says Sway is designed to help users to quickly create and to share polished, interactive content. For example, a marketing professional could use Sway to craft a corporate brochure, or a do-it-yourselfer could share his woodworking expertise, complete with step-by-step video instructions.
More Than a Document

“A ‘Sway’ is the canvas you create using Sway, and it’s much more than a document in the traditional sense,” according to Microsoft. “It’s built from the ground up for the Web and devices.”

Microsoft said the new app adapts to fit any device, large or small. Sway is built for cloud computing, so users can just drop in their Sway is a cloud service, built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, that stores all your data so you create, continue or finish any project either in a normal web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer) or through any desktop or smartphone app.

You can simultaneously collaborate with multiple authors on a single project.
content from their cloud storage, their individual devices, or their social networks. Users’ Sways are stored in Microsoft’s Azure cloud and the photos used to create their sways are stored in OneDrive, Microsoft’s storage app. Microsoft will use the company’s powerful Azure cloud servers to suggest page layouts and to quickly render content on the fly.

Sway will format pictures and text in a way that its algorithm feels is appropriate, even picking colors from photos to apply to the site. Although the end result is on the web as a site, it’s actually a complex new format that’s stored on Microsoft’s cloud servers. Sways will render differently based on device type, but they’re not traditional responsive design as Microsoft simply creates separate views on the backend.

Sway’s built-in design engine makes it easy for users to format their various pieces of content by integrating those into cohesive layouts. Users can easily adjust their designs to create something that reflects their unique styles. “This means from the first word, image, Tweet, or graphic you add, your Sway is already being formed for you,” Microsoft explains. As you add more of your content, Sway continues to analyze and arrange it based on built-in algorithms and design styles. You can then easily adjust and customize the format as needed.

Users can share their content with others even if they don’t have the Sway app installed via links as well as on certain social networks including Facebook and Twitter. You can also embed Sways in websites

Microsoft plans to add more business -specific features. A few examples include OneDrive for Business and SharePoint connectivity, integrating the Office Graph, and capabilities for information protection and IT management.

http://blogs.office.com/2014/10/01/announcing-office-sway-reimagine-ideas-come-life/

https://sway.com/

New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks often about positioning the company for a “mobile-first, cloud-first world,” and Sway is another step in that effort. The goal is to make products like Office, Outlook and Skype staples for individual customers regardless of the device they’re using, and to transform Windows from a desktop operating system to cloud computing platform that can be accessed from anywhere

Forget Windows 9 – Windows 10 is announced

October 1st, 2014

Microsoft Corp will skip a numeral in naming its next operating system, opting for “Windows 10″,

Maybe trying to put some distance between the new platform and the Windows 8, which met with little enthusiasm from enterprise and consumer users. Early adopters felt that the touch-optimised OS was ill-suited to productivity tasks. There was also widespread condemnation of Microsoft’s decision to abandon the Start button,

In a prototype of the new OS, two modes are provided, one for touch operation and one for traditional keyboard-and-mouse use. Windows still runs on the vast majority of desktops and notebooks, but on only 14% of devices, according to Gartner figures cited by Reuters.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in an effort to win mobile users has acknowledged the shrinking PC market by steering the firm towards a single mobile-and-cloud strategy.

EASA says O.K. to mobile devices on flights

September 27th, 2014

Personal electronic devices including mobile phones can be left turned on — and not just in ‘flight mode’ — during all phases of a flight, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ruled. The agency said it is satisfied that personal electronic devices do not pose a safety risk when used on aircraft.

It is now up to airlines to conduct their own safety tests, to the satisfaction of EASA, before implementing the change, although each airline may decide to put in place its own policy.
The announcement means passengers could soon be able to make/take phone calls when inside an aircraft.

Of course, it will not be possible to get a reception while flying high in the air.
At the moment, passengers can use handheld devices during taxiing, take-off and landing, as long as ‘flight mode’ is switched on.

Windows 9 ‘Threshold’

September 23rd, 2014

Windows 9, currently codenamed ‘Threshold’ at Microsoft’s headquarters, could be making its début in April 2015.

Windows 9 will try to be completely different to Windows 8 and 8.1, both of which were greeted with mild hatred from its user base

So expect the return of the beloved start menu- lack of a start menu was one of the most disagreeable non-features of Windows 8, and it has long been rumoured that it will make a comeback

The 2015 release date, as is a short release cycles for another new operating systems IT professionals will have to support multiple versions of Windows, as well as a number of different platforms and devices.

This means IT staff will have to stop managing devices and platforms at an OS level and start look at ways to manage users, data and applications no matter what the device.

Windows 9 will be the first major release under VP Terry Myerson, who led the Windows Phone group in his previous position at Microsoft. Updates for the Xbox One and Windows Phone will also be released under the new operating system.

Not much is known of Windows 9 at the moment, but if it rights the wrongs of the current flagship OS, the Windows 8 could end up becoming the next Windows Vista; an expensive lesson.

Dynamics Ax lifecycle – Ax 2009 and Ax 2012

September 23rd, 2014

Dynamics AX 2012 mainstream support was recently extended by two years to October 2018.

Please be aware that Dynamics AX 2009 will go into Extended Support in April 2015. This means support is only provided if an extended support agreement is in place and deliverables are limited to security updates and non-security hotfixes (specific bug fix for a critical issue).

Therefore, the goal of the Servicing strategy should be to keep all products within their mainstream support.

Servicing Windows: Review all windows security patches bi-weekly and push update accordingly. Service pack and major update need to be tested before applying to production.

These patches shouldn’t impact AOS however it is recommended to first run sanity check on User Acceptance Test (UAT) environment. Any major update (.Net Framework and Windows SP) may impact system so put in place a control windows update using Windows Server Update Service for all servers in Production.

Servicing SQL Server: Our recommendation is always to keep the build up to date in regards to the latest CU available of the latest Service Pack officially supported.

For example, as of August 2014, SP2 was strong>not yet officially supported with AX 2012.

Lifecycle of SQL Server 2008 is now in extended support since July 2014

Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2010 mainstream support will end in January 2015.

Patch tuesday 5 Sep 2014

September 5th, 2014

Internet Explorer needs another critical patch. If left unpatched, the browser is subject to attacks that execute malicious code on victim machines, so getting the updates to patch it is important.

In addition to the threat posed by the vulnerabilities that the patches correct, these critical browser updates will be challenging for IT organizations. Installing the updates requires system restarts and the browser in all its versions is widely distributed among organizations.

Vulnerable versions include IE 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 running on desktop Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as well as Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2012.

The bulletin about the Internet Explorer problems is likely to include a roll-up of fixes for any number of vulnerabilities found over the past month

Microsoft Migration Accelerator for Azure

September 5th, 2014

Microsoft recently acquired InMage, which has a hybrid cloud product to help migrate computing assets into, or back from, or in between, either public or private cloud infrastructures with ease,

It helps you also to replicate with a real-time sync with premise assets to leverage the cloud for: dev, test, analytics, and more; and helpesyou to recover and back up your physical and virtual assets ,whether on premise, or in the public/private cloud

Microsoft announced yesterday :

Spawned from the technology of Microsoft’s InMage acquisition announced July 11, the MA is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, AWS and Hyper-V workloads into Azure. It automates all aspects of migration including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration. With MA, transitions into Azure can occur in mere minutes!

MA changes the cloud migration paradigm by offering:
Heterogeneity: With MA you can migrate workloads running on a broad range of platforms such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services and/or Physical servers within your environment. MA can support workloads running on Windows Server 2008 R2 sp1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.
Simple, Automated Migration: The MA portal allows you to automatically discover your enterprise workloads, remotely from the cloud. With a few clicks, you can configure end-to-end migration scenarios. MA allows you to test your workload in the cloud without impacting the existing on-premise production workload, offering the ability to validate workload functionality before a cutover is performed.
Migrate Multi-tier Applications: MA boasts the unique ability to migrate a multi-tier production system with application level consistency, orchestrated across tiers. This ensures multi-tier applications run the same in Azure, as they ran at the source. Application startup order is even honored, without the need for any manual configuration.
Continuous Replication, Least Cutover Time: MA for Azure provides full-system replication including the OS and application data. This continuous replication and in-memory change tracking reduces the cutover time to mere minutes, minimizing impact to production workloads.

MA offers an unprecedented level of automation to provide seamless migrations of heterogeneous assets, into Azure.

Key Highlights:
Automated asset discovery and migration – MA portal orchestrates the discovery and migration of workloads from a single pane of glass.
Migration cutovers to Azure in minutes – continuous replication and in-memory change tracking significantly reduce cutover time.
Self-provisioned target Azure VM’s — Target VMs are dormant during synchronization saving compute cost and are then automatically provisioned during cutover.
Heterogeneous platform support – support for broad range of environments and platforms.
Continuous replication – lightweight agents on the source servers continuously replicate all changes to target ensuring near zero downtime during migrations.
Multi-tier application support – migrate your multi-tier production system with application level consistency orchestrated across tiers.
Target VM Network and Endpoint Adaptation – support for automated network adaptation and endpoint reconfiguration.
Integrated compression, encryption and bandwidth management.