Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

SQL 2008 and Windows Server 2008 end of support dates.

January 15th, 2019

Reminder:

End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is on July 9, 2019.
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is on January 14, 2020.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-sql-server-2008

https://info.microsoft.com/ww-ondemand-windows-server-2008-sql-server-2008-end-of-support.html

This means:
No further security updates
Compliance implications around standards and GDPR
Reduced performance
Less opportunity to innovate
May restrict ability to upgrade application software

Extended support is available at 20% of license cost.

This is a critical project to undertake, which is made more difficult by the tight timeframes and the need to build a plan that encompasses both Server and SQL upgrades. Each organisation has different, individual system architectures, strategy, budget , IT resources, and risk appetite.

Failure to update your platforms could result in compliance gaps or security attacks. The risks are too important to ignore. One in five organizations loses customers due to a cyberattack and nearly 30% lose revenue.1 4.2 billion records were stolen in 20162 and hackers aren’t going anywhere—the expected cost of cybercrime to the global economy by 2022 is $8 trillion.

The modern work landscape is changing. There is a need for massive data growth, powerful insights into unstructured data, and analytics that drive digital transformation. End of support provides a chance for you to not only revisit your IT strategy and to ensure your systems are modernized, and compliant.

Three options to consider:
1 – Upgrade to the latest versions of Windows Server and/or SQL now, either on-premises or deployed in private or public Cloud, either DIY or managed.
2 – Go ‘as a service’ and shift the responsibility, either moving workloads onto a VM within a managed Azure environment (IaaS), or transforming the workloads to platform-based services (PaaS) and going ‘serverless’.
3 – Move everything as is into the Azure environment where Microsoft will continue support for Server and SQL 2008 for a further three years at no cost which gives you more time to plan upgrade.

Consider whether now is an opportune time to migrate to azure and to take advantage of this special migration offer.

Extended security updates will be available for free in Azure for three more years after the End of support deadline for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server to help secure your workloads .

This means that Azure is an ideal place for older SQL and Windows servers.

Contact Synergy Software Systems on 009714 3365589 to understand the migration services we offer to help you manage the upgrade. (Microsoft partners for over 20 years in the U.A.E.).

Dynamics Ax 2012 mobile apps connector – SAS solution is released to replace ACS.

January 14th, 2019

There is an underlying technology change for access to azure see Synergy’s blog article and https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/service-bus-messaging/service-bus-migrate-acs-sas.

Service Bus applications have previously had a choice of using two different authorization models: the Shared Access Signature (SAS) token model provided directly by Service Bus, and a federated model where the management of authorization rules is managed inside by the Azure Active Directory Access Control Service (ACS), and tokens obtained from ACS are passed to Service Bus for authorizing access to the desired features. The ACS authorization model has long been superseded by SAS authorization as the preferred model, and all documentation, guidance, and samples exclusively use SAS today. (It is no longer possible to create new Service Bus namespaces that are paired with ACS.) ACS is generally already retired and for those who had an extension the end date is on Feb 4, 2019.

The Windows Mobile app will be deprecated and will be removed from the store in February when ACS is decommissioned

The ACS to SAS solution for Dynamics 2012 for the mobile connector is now complete.
• For anyone using Workflow Approvals via email (no app), there is an updated whitepaper and updated mobile connector.
• For anyone using Timesheets, expense, or Approvals apps, confirm you have a machine with ADFS 3.0 available, and follow the steps in the whitepaper for configuring Companion Apps.

Updated apps :
o Dynamics AX (IOS) – Version 5.2 is available in the store .
o Dynamics AX 2012 (Android) – Version 5.0 is available in the store.

Note: The previous app (Dynamics AX) is not SAS compatible and will be removed from the store in February and should be replaced with the new app with 2012 in the name.
o Dynamics AX 2012 Expenses (Windows desktop) – Version 2.19.0.13 available in the store today.
o Dynamics AX 2012 Timesheets (Windows desktop) – Version 1.5.0.1 available in the store today.
o Dynamics AX 2012 Approvals (Windows desktop) – will be available early next week.

End of mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2

December 29th, 2018

Reminder – End of mainstream support for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2 was ‎10‎/‎05‎/‎2018

Upgrade is not trivial especially when you have lots of customisations and bespoke reports and interfaces. Plan plenty of time for conversion and for testing and contingency. There is backlog of companies who need to migrate and only a limited number of skilled consultant available.

Decide as soon as possible whether on-premise or on cloud. If on-premise then consider what extra hardware you will need and whether you also need to upgrade SQL server. Don’t forget that SQL license costs have also changed.

It is not too early to start budgeting – find out what you get and don’t get on the cloud, there are both hidden costs, (e.g. extra back up storage space) and hidden savings (e.g. electricity). What extra environments or storage will you need e.g for dev and test over those used by Microsoft. How have license types and costs changed, understand the Modern Lifecycle Support update policy, .

Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1 (SP1), Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2:
Mainstream support fends on October 9, 2018 after that date, only security hotfixes will be provided for these three versions through the extended support period that continues until October 12, 2021.

Dynamics AX 2012 R3
Mainstream support for continues through October 12, 2021. Microsoft will provide security hotfixes, non-security hotfixes, and regulatory updates for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 throughout that mainstream support period. The source code for these non-binary, non-security hotfixes and regulatory updates will continue to be available for customers active on the Enhancement Plan or Software Assurance.

Can customers on Premier Extended Hotfix Support or on Unified Support Advanced and Performance Levels get a non-security hotfix or regulatory update?

No. Neither non-security hotfixes nor regulatory updates will be available for Dynamics AX 2009 SP1, Dynamics AX 2012, or Dynamics AX 2012 R2 during the Extended Support phase of the product lifecycle.

While the ability to request a non-security hotfix for select products is included with Unified Support Advanced and Performance Levels, Microsoft has determined that non-security hotfixes cannot be provided with a commercially reasonable effort for these products. As a result, no requests for non-security hotfixes or regulatory updates will be accepted.

However, Microsoft will continue making security hotfixes, non-security hotfixes, and regulatory updates for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 throughout that mainstream support period. The source code for these non-binary, non-security hotfixes and regulatory updates will continue to be available for customers, and their partners, active on the Enhancement Plan or Software Assurance. Dynamics AX 2009 SP1, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2 customers can selectively integrate those changes as required. Customers and partners can get the source code from packages attached to relevant Dynamics AX 2012 R3 KB articles published on LCS and discoverable through LCS Issue Search.

Will I still get a regulatory update for Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2?

No, Microsft will only provide regulatory updates for Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2 for regulatory changes with the law enforcement dates on or earlier than October 9, 2018.

What happens if a new bug is found by a customer in Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1, Dynamics AX 2012, or Dynamics AX 2012 R2?

The bug must be reproducible in Dynamics AX 2012 R3. If it is reproducible and accepted, then a hotfix will be provided for Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and the customers can elect to integrate this hotfix in their version themselves, or work with their partners to integrate the changes.

How are binary hotfixes handled for Dynamics AX 2009 Service Pack 1, Dynamics AX 2012, and Dynamics AX 2012 R2?

If a hotfix is needed for a part of the system where Microsoft does not provide the source code and it is not a security bug, then a hotfix will not be provided.

To discuss a move to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations call Synergy Software Systems your Dynamics Partner for over 15 years : 009714 3365589

Dynamics Finance and Operations Dv-2 CPU upgrades for Development and Test environments

December 18th, 2018

In October 2018, Microsoft adjusted the configuration of the Finance and Operations Develop and Test environments for better performance. All new deployments have moved to Managed premium disks, optimized for DS12v2 VMs. because of updates to code and metadata, development and testing requires extensive disk access operations. Memory optimized VM sizes offer a high memory-to-CPU ratio that are best for relational database servers, with medium to large caches, and in-memory analytics. The M series is the highest spec.

(The Dv2-series is a follow-on to the original D-series, and features a more powerful CPU. The Dv2-series CPU is about 35% faster than the D-series CPU. It is based on the latest generation 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2673 v3 2.4 GHz (Haswell) or E5-2673 v4 2.3 GHz (Broadwell) processors, and with the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, can go up to 3.1 GHz. The Dv2-series has the same memory and disk configurations as the D-series. Moving to Managed premium disks will provide a much better performance experience for these operations.)

Synergy recommends that you deallocate, delete, and re-deploy new Develop and Test environments to take advantage of this new topology. Before you delete your Development or Test environment, make sure that you save all of your work, check your code into Azure DevOps (formerly known as VSTS), and make a local backup of any test database that you would like to preserve.

Allow up to 48 hours for a redeployment request to be processed by Microsoft.

Dynamics 365 One Version – April 2019 is fast approaching

December 16th, 2018

If you are running Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and you are on version 7.3 or below, then be aware that the product will be considered as end of service after March 31, 2019. Note however that other Dynamics 365 Apps are also impacted e.g. Customer Engagement and Field Service.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/faq-update-policy

From April 2019, all Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers for all Dynamics solutions, will run on the same version and code base. This means from Microsoft point of view that it is still possible to have own customizations and ISV solutions in your own environment. The standard application will be the same for all customers.

As of April 2019, the product version number will be 10.0. From then expect major releases every April and October.
In between there will be continuous updates for platform, application and financial reporting fixes as well as smaller functional features and regulatory requirements. Version number ‘9’ will be skipped for Finance and Operations. Customer engagement is on version 9 so to have a single product range on the same vision, Microsoft has to align the version numbering to be the same across all of the Dynamics apps.

The service will also end for version 8.0. We advise to move to version 8.1 as soon as possible. If you are already on version 8.1, then you are already enrolled in the continuous update plan. The 10.0 version will then be an update when coming from this latest version; not an upgrade.

If you are running on version 7.3, then in general you also have to be on version 10.0 starting April 2019. If you have submitted extension requests, then you are expected to have no issues for upgrading and your 7.3 environment will be considered as end of service starting April 2019. That also means you need to move all over-layered coding into extensions. If you use an ISV module then check with the ISV vendor whether is ahs issues with over-layered code to resolve.

There is limited time to prepare and test, (and limited D365 technical skills, in the market to move all customers at the last minute, and it does not happen in a day.) Starting with the April 2019 update, you can validate major updates in a sandbox environment in advance of the update release. This will help you assess productivity and efficiency gains of the new capabilities, as well as train your end users about new capabilities

It’s important to do this sooner than later. The move from 7.3 is a significant exercise i.e. it’s an upgrade. Thereafter the advantage of the new platform is that in future it will be updates. The ongoing April and October updates will be backward compatible.

There are many enhancements both technical, and functional in 8.0/B.1. So plan time for some additional end user training and testing days.

Sql 2014 Sp2 Update 15

December 15th, 2018

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

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

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

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

Micorsft is to discontinue its Azure Container Service in Jan 2020

December 15th, 2018

On December 5, Microsoft officials said in a blog post that ACS will no longer be supported as of January 31, 2020. Beginning on that date, all ACS application programming interfaces (APIs) will be blocked. Users will no longer be able to create new clusters, or update or scale existing clusters. They will be able to list and delete existing clusters.

Microsoft’s recommendations for existing ACS users are to migrate to AKS or the ask-engine open-source project if they use Kubernetes.

If they use ACS with Docker, then Microsoft suggests moving to the Basic or Standard/Advanced Docker Enterprise Edition for Azure solution template.

If they use ACS with DC/OS, then they advocate that users move to the Mesosphere DC/OS Enterprise or Mesosphere DC/OS Open Source solution template

Hitec Dubai 2018- Synergy Software Systems, Deyafa Systems showcase ‘Inigma’.

December 6th, 2018

Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) CEO Issam Kazim officially inaugurated the second HITEC 2018 Dubai, the Middle East’s largest, hospitality technology, exhibition and conference.

This year’s event took place yesterday and today at the Madinat Jumeirah Dubai ( December 5- 6) and showcased a wide range of innovative solutions from the world’s leading hospitality technology providers. Synergy Software Systems together with Deyafa Systems presented the Inigma software solution.

Inigma task management system and collaboration platform offers a smoother and more efficient way to run operations for any hotel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8ZiVzKQ5G4

Synergy and Inigma stand with John M. Clark Vice President – SynergyMMS Division. Systems Associates

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations on-premise v 8.1 – ask Synergy Software Systems

December 3rd, 2018

Microsoft published last month that version 8.1 was released for on-premise version of D365FO.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/migration-upgrade/on-prem-version-update-policy?toc=/fin-and-ops/toc.json#dynamics-365-for-finance-and-operations-on-premises-release-dates.

Synergy has completed the upgrade, and also upgraded its D365 Payroll and HR admin modules for this new release and for the latest kernel..

Note: All customers must be on the latest version of Finance and Operations by April 30, 2019. However, Microsoft will make an exception for customers who have unfulfilled extension requests that have been submitted to Microsoft. Those customers can be on version 7.3 until April 2020.

Layered code is not supported after version 7.3

See:
docs.microsoft.com/…/apply-updates-on-premises
docs.microsoft.com/…/redeploy-on-prem

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/migration-upgrade/upgrade-latest-update

If you need proven expertise toupdate your D365 from v 7 then contact U.A.E. Dynamics partner Synergy Software Systems 0097143365589.

Shared Access Signature (SAS) token authorization model and Dynamics 365 systems

November 29th, 2018

In November 2018, all ACS components were permanently shut down. This affects all requests to the service i.e. those fail. This includes the Access Control management portal, the management service, secure token service, and token transformation engine rule. Microsoft made changes to Azure Service Bus that affect Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Azure connector, and impact email workflow approvals, companion/mobile applications, and vendor portals. It also affects any other application or service that uses Access Control Service (ACS).

If for example you use Dynamics AX 2012 mobile or tablet applications for time and expense management, and/or approve workflows via email, then be aware of the changes to Azure Service Bus. The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Azure connector uses the Access Control Service (ACS) for user authentication. The management of authorization rules is managed inside by the Azure Active Directory Access Control Service (ACS), and the tokens obtained from ACS are then passed to Service Bus to authorize access to functionality in AX.

ACS is now replaced by Shared Access Signature (SAS) token authorization model. A shared access signature (SAS) provides you with a way to grant limited access to objects in your storage account to other clients, without exposing your account key. A shared access signature provides delegated access to resources in your storage account. With a SAS, you can grant clients access to resources in your storage account, without sharing your account keys. This is the key point of using shared access signatures in your applications–a SAS is a secure way to share your storage resources without compromising your account keys.

To continue using email workflow approvals, mobile applications, and other Dynamics AX features, if you have nit already done so then you will need to migrate your components previously using Access Control Service (ACS) to Shared Access Signatures (SAS). This token model is provided directly by Service Bus and can be used without any intermediaries through access to the SAS rule name and rule key.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/develop/active-directory-acs-migration

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/developer/walkthrough-update-service-endpoint-acs-sas-authorization

Retail Cloud Scale unit – Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations – October 18 release.

November 27th, 2018

In the October 2018 release, Microsoft launched the concept of Retail Cloud Scale Unit (RCSU) to increase cloud scalability for customers consuming retail work-loads on the D365 platform.
The Retail Store Scale Unit (RSSU) which was already available in D365 Retail is different from the newly released RCSU functionality. It is “on-premises” box physically located within the store which allows retailers with intermittent internet (and hence cloud) connectivity issues to still execute cross terminal transactions and shift operations when they lose connectivity to the back office. It contains a retail server, a channel database, CDX Asynch client and the IIS website to enable cloud POS features.

(Even though the RSSU hardware is running on “on-premises” hardware, this concept is not to be confused with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail “on-premises” deployment option which is also another recent release from Microsoft for those who want to run their entire D365 operation on -premise)
For a D365 Cloud deployments with RSSU, the D365-Finance and Operations Enterprise Modules (including your Retail HQ) still run in the cloud. When you have connectivity in your store both mPOS and cPOS are connected to your cloud-hosted deployment..
When offline with RSSU, please note “In Store Scale Unit, users cannot perform any real time operations such as issuing gift cards, looking up products, or performing credit card transactions, unless there is Internet connectivity to HQ or a payment provider. If the majority of your transactions involve real time transactions, then your Store Scale Unit will always need Internet connectivity to enable the connection to HQ or payment provider.”
Also note that mPOS stations also have the ability to be configured to go offline individually and to each use its own local SQL Express database on the POS device itself. That does however mean more data synchronsiation and the relevant extra batch tasks have to then run per POS rather than per store..
So where does the RCSU functionality in the October 2018 release fit in the architecture?.
See https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/business-applications-release-notes/october18/dynamics365-retail/retail-cloud-scale-unit
A key feature is that it separates the front-office and back-office work-loads into separate infrastructure to improve performance due to: better resource governance and load isolation, segregation of work-loads and scalability. When applying an update, patch or extension the l down-should be significantly reduced because the whole environment does not go down, only a specific work-load. The back-office does not need to go down when the front-office retail work-loads are upgraded and the retail operations can continue when they have RSSU and/or offline functionalities deployed locally in the store.
Caveats:
This functionality is only available on Production and SAT environments. It is not supported for Tier-1 environments, (sandboxes for dev). In the current RCSU you cannot deploy a separate retail scale unit per region.

Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is to add EAM next year- ask Synergy Software Systems

November 27th, 2018

Microsoft is targeting the October 2019 release i.e, a year away,to offer enterprise asset management (EAM) natively to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (D365FO) using the solution from ISV partner Dynaway The company “will be making it available natively” in D365FO, writes GM Muhammad Alam. Microsoft acquired the rights to the solution rather than purchasing the company or the IP. The EAM solution, includes asset tracking, preventive and predictive maintenance, spare parts tracking, and analytics..

This move provides a springboard for further AI-focused updates in the EAM space to bring together Dynamics 365, Power Apps, Power BI, IoT, MR applications, and Machine Learning. An EAM solution also complements the Dynamics 365 for Field Service application –so I expect the same integration there that they are planning for integrating CRM PSA and Dynamics 365 Finance and operations Project Accounting.

Other recent acquisitions include enterprise credit management and catch weight.
Synergy Software Systems has implanted and supported EAM and asset tracking solutions in the region for over 20 years.

For more information on dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations contact Synergy Software Systems, Dubai your U.A.E. Dynamics partner since 2003.
call: 0097143365589

RPA certifications for Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

November 25th, 2018

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

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

Microsoft to open two Data centres in S Africa at the end of 2018

November 25th, 2018

18 months ago Microsoft said it would deliver two new data centres one based in South Africa North in Johannesburg and South Africa West in Cape Town.
Microsoft South Africa’s Director of Commercial Partners, Lionel Moyal, recently announced, while speaking to entrepreneurs and startups at the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2018 in South Africa. that the two Azure datacenter regions are due to go live “within weeks” at the end of 2018. Calling the centres “a cloud for Africa”, he noted that “latency will not be an issue any more.” Lionel encouraged workers to skill up in cloud technologies, machine learning, AI, mobile technologies, development tools, noting that he expected South Africa to add 112,000 IT specific jobs by 2022.

The announcement follows Amazon saying in October 2018 that AWS was to open Data Centers in South Africa by 2020.

Microsoft Kaizala – secure mobile chat app for the U.A.E. mobile enterprise -ask Synergy Software Systems

November 21st, 2018

What is Microsoft Kaizala?
A disconnected value chain hinders productivity, slows down decision making, prevents the ability for insights to surface from the field, and creates potential for customer dissatisfaction. Today’s workplace extends well beyond organizational boundaries, and there is an increasing need to connect your entire business value chain, including your Firstline workers, vendors, partners, suppliers, and customers..

Today, consumer messaging apps are often used between people across the value chain, but this poses security, privacy and compliance risks to company data. Microsoft Kaizala aims to solve a lot of these challenges, especially in mobile-first, developing markets.

Microsoft Kaizala is a simple and secure mobile chat app for work, with easy sign-up using just a phone number.
It enables networks of people to connect and coordinate work across their roles, spanning Firstline workers, vendors, partners, suppliers, customers, and citizens. Many organizations are already doing amazing things with Kaizala.

Communicate across dynamic networks: Kaizala supports diverse group types such as: hub and spoke, hierarchies, and public groups – which model the
communication needs of your organization. Use it to connect with your customers and partners or your Firstline workers. Temporal and geo-fenced groups make the set-up and discovery of groups easy, and large group size of up to 1 million users enables scenarios such as government-to-citizen communication.

Digitize business processes to coordinate work and gather field insights: Across every business, there is valuable data that originates at the front lines and out in the field, from sales metrics, to customer experience and operational insights. The problem is that much of it is either still paper-based or not getting recorded at all. Kaizala makes it. Gather field insights in mobile-first, dynamic environments with built-in actions such as surveys, polls, jobs and more.

Integrations with Office 365 services such as Power BI and Microsoft Flow allow you to quickly build customizable business workflows that use Kaizala’s chat interface. Kaizala allows you to integrate with existing applications and systems so you can connect your business end-to-end and digitize manual, paper-based procedures.

The built-in reports on the management portal let you visualize and analyse the data – giving you real-time insights into your business and helping drive day to day efficiencies. You can also build custom cards to support your line of business tasks using Kaizala aggregation service.

Manage and secure your data: Kaizala is served from the hyperscale global network of Azure datacentres and data is encrypted at rest and in-transit. Advanced IT administration capabilities with the Kaizala management portal allow business owners to view reports, create and manage groups, define group policies etc. Kaizala supports key compliance standards such as ISO 27001, SOC2, HIPAA, GDPR and more.

How do I get access to Kaizala?
Customers that are currently licenses on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Business products (Office 365 Business Essentials, Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business) in eligible 28 markets* will be able to utilize Microsoft Kaizala starting mid-November.

Kaizala is now turned on by default in these products, with the ability for tenant administrators to opt out. A more detailed on the communications timeline is found below:
• Communications sent to tenant administrators letting them know about the Kaizala backfill (end October)
• Message Center Admin comms (11/5)
• Blog post on the Kaizala Microsoft Tech Community, outlining the product value prop, availability with Office 365 and how to access the product
• Kaizala backfilled in SMB tenants (Mid-November)

What next?
Contact your UAE Microsoft 365 partner Synergy Software Systems 0097143365589
Download the Kaizala mobile app for free from Google Play Store or App Store