Archive for the ‘SQL’ category

Power BI why does it matter?

April 24th, 2016

The new Dynamics Ax comes with embedded Power BI content packs watch the whirlwind tour presentation to find out why.

It opens up to self service to all users, Bi can now leverage the scalable resources of the cloud. this presentation by Nick Caldwell is almost an hour long – but its worth making the time to watch. Power Bi is a cloud-based SaaS that “enables you to find and visualize data, share discoveries and collaborate in intuitive new ways.” A, single view of your critical business data via a self-service analytics hub.

To learn more watch this slightly shorter presentation from Will Thompson which provides some interesting and useful tips and tricks.

SandDance is a Microsoft Research data visualization project, spearheaded by Steven M. Drucker and Roland Fernandez, that experiments with new genres of visualization and represents an innovation in user interactions.

With SandDance, every data element is always represented on the screen, and animated transitions are used between views to help people explore, understand, and communicate insights in their data.

The SandDance custom visual puts this innovation into the hands of users through the open, extensible visualization framework of Power BI that can leverage rich connectivity, modeling, and interactive reporting. The focus of SandDance is on tasks where data is not pre-aggregated (that is, many individual records), and can be rearranged in groups on the screen to create meaning.

Download the SandDance chart from the Visuals Gallery. Import it into your Power BI report, and drag all the fields that you would like to use into the Values field bucket.

Once you have created a SandDance chart change the View, -there are some interesting types available, including 3D. Sum by any column in the dataset. -this ‘ summary chart’, it is actually created with many rectangles. . In the Color by options select the color palette then use Facet by to view the same visualization broken up by different ranges of a particular attribute.

Note that you can also place other visuals on the canvas and they will interact and cross filter with SandDance – explore your data in many perspectives.

For more detailed help, check out http://www.sanddance.ms

SQL Server 2014 RTM cu13 released

April 23rd, 2016

The 13th cumulative update release for SQL Server 2014 RTM is now available for download at the Microsoft Support site.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3144517

SQL server 2016- runs a lot faster!

April 23rd, 2016

There many well publicised features of SQL 2106 that have maybe overshadowed the many enhancements to improve performance.

Added together there is a huge impact as these various blofg articles reveal.

Large Data File Writes (April 15)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/15/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-larger-data-file-writes-2/

Indirect Checkpoint Default (April 12)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/12/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-indirect-checkpoint-default/

SOS_RWLock Redesign (April 7)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/07/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-sos_rwlock-redesign/

Dynamic Memory Object (CMemThread) Partitioning (April 6)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/06/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dynamic-memory-object-cmemthread-partitioning/

Updated Scheduling Algorithms (April 1)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/04/01/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-updated-scheduling-algorithms/

Automatic Soft NUMA (March 30)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/30/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-automatic-soft-numa/

Instant File Initialization (March 25)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/25/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-instant-file-initialization/

LDF Stamped (March 22)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/22/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-ldf-stamped/

Automatic TEMPDB Configuration (March 17)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/17/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-automatic-tempdb-configuration/

T1117 and T1118 Changes for TEMPDB and User Databases (March 15)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/15/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-t1117-and-t1118-changes-for-tempdb-and-user-databases/

Spatial Index Builds Faster (March 10)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/10/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-spatial-index-builds-faster/

TVPs with Spatial Column(s) (March 8)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/08/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-tvps-with-spatial-columns/

Native Spatial Implementations (March 3)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/03/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-native-spatial-implementations/

DBCC Extended Checks (March 1)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/03/01/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dbcc-extended-checks/

DBCC Scales 7x Better (February 25)

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/psssql/2016/02/25/sql-2016-it-just-runs-faster-dbcc-scales-7x-better/

Query Store – SQL 2016

April 23rd, 2016

Query Store will be available in all editions of SQL Server 2016.

This is a huge plus because Query Store serves as a data recorder for your query execution plans. It’ll help you troubleshoot :parameter sniffing issues, connection settings issues, plan regressions, bad stats, and much more.
It is a rich persisted db of query execution over time for SQL Server/Azure DB and is a central starting point for Query Tuning and Troubleshooting

- Query Store collects and persists:
- all query texts and to compile time stats
- all plan choices and runtime metrics – and allows you to force plans from history

What can you do with it?

Analyze performance and details of queries whether they are cached or not
Analyze the history of queries and plans across server restarts
Look at properties and statistics for queries not available in DMVs
What queries consume the most/least cpu, i/o, memory over time?
Compare performance before/after a change (A/B Testing)
Plan stability after upgrading to SQL Server 2016
Are ad-hoc queries killing performance filling up your cache?
What is the standard deviation of performance for a query?
What % of time is the performance of my query spent on compile?
What is the performance of queries with different SET options?
Keep performance information in the backup of the database
Allows a simpler and more robust method to force plans vs plan guides

Upgrades are also easier in SQL 2016 with Query Store – you control when Optimizer changes are enabled
and can also quickly fix regressions with Query Store

See Books Online’s section on Query Store to start learning, .

Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ended on April 12, 2016

April 21st, 2016

Extended support for SQL Server 2005 ended on April 12, 2016
customers still running SQL Server 2005 after April 12, 2016, will no longer receive security updates and technical support. We recommend upgrading to SQL Server 2014 and Azure SQL Database to achieve breakthrough performance, maintain security and compliance, and optimize your data platform infrastructure.

Envision 2016 takeaways – Synergy Software Systems

April 12th, 2016

Nadella, in his opening Microsoft Envision keynote said “The very nature of work is changing.” He spoke about Microsoft reinventing productivity and business process through the Windows 10 platform and other products. With all of the abundance of technology, what is still scarce is human attention and time. Our goal in reinventing business process and productivity is to help you reclaim that time to grow your focus on things that matter the most to you and your organization.”

Astronaut Scott Kelly who spent nearly one year on the International Space Station, when asked what business people could learn about technology from his experience in space, said that, as he left the International Space Station for the last time, he was “absolutely inspired by what we are capable of achieving if we dream it — and that we have to put the resources behind it.”

Nadella and Lilian Rincon of the Skype team previewed enhancements to Skype that will include making Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, persistent within Skype. If you need to look something up, such as check your calendar, you will be able to click on the Cortana icon and ask Cortana to check your schedule without leaving Skype. Along with the integration with Cortana, Skype will also be able to interact with “bots” or automated artificial intelligence agents from other organizations. One example of bots included a hotel bot that helped with booking a room — all from within Skype.

Microsoft also announced an important new partnership with car manufacturer Toyota at the Microsoft Envision event. The new collaboration called simply Toyota Connected was touched upon briefly in Nadella’s remarks. The new initiative will deliver a connected car technology drawing in part from Microsoft’s Azure cloud service.

Microsoft is partnering with R3, a consortium of major banks around the world, to develop new blockchain technologies, leveraging the underlying approach from the Bitcoin digital currency to change the way they track transactions and offer financial services to their customers. The blockchain is a public ledger of transactions, and the R3 consortium consists of more than 40 banks, including big names such as BNP Paribas, Wells Fargo, ING, JPMorgan and Citi. Microsoft will work with the consortium to “develop, test and deploy blockchain technologies to modernize decades-old processes and streamline operations, potentially saving billions of dollars from back-office operations,” said Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president for business development, in a blog post explaining the news. Goals include faster trades of assets such as stocks and bonds, and direct transfer of ownership, which cuts clearing houses out of the processes, something that’s appealing to banks because it promises to cut costs and reduce the risk of fraud, Johnson said. The partnership could be a boon for Microsoft’s partners and its cloud platform. The consortium will use Microsoft Azure and also have access to more than 45 “blockchain as a service” technologies from companies that work with Microsoft. In addition, Microsoft says it will offer dedicated technical support and service to R3’s blockchain labs.

Paypal President and CEO Dan Schulman said Bitcoin is “not necessarily something that we’re betting on,” even though PayPal allows Bitcoin through the Coinbase bitcoin wallet. However, the underlying blockchain technology is “very interesting,” Schulman said. What blockchain allows is … theoretically a friction-free, cost-free way of doing transactions.” The key, he said, is to tie the blockchain into a currency that isn’t as volatile as Bitcoin.

PayPal is used by 180 million people worldwide. It’s also used by 14 million merchants, according to Schulman, the CEO of PayPal since the company’s split from eBay back in 2014. Schulman gave a fireside chat format interview with Peggy Johnson, EVP of Business Development at Microsoft. PayPal has two other brands. The company bought Xoom about a year ago. Xoom is an international money transfer service. PayPal is also behind Venmo, the digital wallet service with a social element to it. Venmo, which is popular with millennials and younger generations, is used four to five times per week on average by customers because of the social element and the ability to split the cost of payments for things like meals and entertainment. Whereas, PayPal is used on average by customers just a little over two times per month. Schulman foresees that Venmo and PayPal will be a seamless experience in the future

Clearly many prominent Dynamics partners have opted for WPC and don’t see Envision as a replacement for Convergence. The focus of this conference has massively shifted, as has Microsoft’s vision in general. Attendees included top company executives, department managers, and other decision makers. This opens up opportunities to see how the vision of “One Microsoft” can be achieved through the use of many products. For example someone attending because they are a Microsoft Dynamics AX customer had the opportunity to see how they could leverage PowerBI, Office 365, and Azure to create a more connected and efficient business environment.

Many big players announced new solutions built on top of CRM, and azure/Cortana based solutions. However relatively very few partner products were showcased. While many of the main partners had a booth, the expo floor was much smaller with very limited product selection. The attendance and the expo traffic was significantly lower than Convergence. the rationale may be that top executives focus on strategic, visionary sessions – not on deciding what third-party product would be a good match for their requirements.
Extension in Microsoft Dynamics is eagerly awaited its not yet available in the current RTW release but should be a features of the upcoming ‘AX 7 update 1’ . The ability to adapt queries for the processes of drafting or extending existing elements, without overriding into other layers. means that developers no longer need to customise elements; instead elements will be extended. All customisations and code are then stored in a separate assembly and are therefore not influenced during upgrades and tests.. This approach will significantly reduces upgrade cost and conflicts.

Microsoft announced the availability of two out-of-the-box Power BI content packs for different business users: Financial Performance and Retail Channel Performance. Both power packs can be selected from the service catalogue and be deployed ‘within minutes’.

If you missed out, then see available on-demand the keynote and several session videos on the new Microsoft Envision YouTube Channel.
They have 87 videos on the site and 16 playlists uploaded.

SQL 2005 – no more support

April 11th, 2016

All support for SQL Server 2005 will come to an end on 12th April 2016.

If you have not already planned to upgrade your aging technology to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 then we recommend that you consider this urgently..

Why migrate to SQL 2014?:
Data is proliferating as are the demands for: real time analytics, mote frequent planning, more frequent forecasting and budgeting, fast month ends etc. which all requires increased speed of performance and scalabiity.

Meanwhile there are increasingly sophisticated attacks on security.

• SQL Server 2014 is benchmarked to be 13 times faster than SQL Server 2005
• The National Institute of Standards and Technology for the past six years has running, has found that SQL Server 2014 had the least vulnerabilities of any major database

Prophix 12 is now available from Synergy Software Systems

April 5th, 2016

We are happy to announce the availability of Prophix Version 12. Designed with the user in mind, with enhanced ease of use with a web browser interface and access to Prophix from anywhere, any time, on any device.

The same productised approach with a single suite of tools for all your corporate performance requirements is now enhanced. In this time of ongoing recession, volatile exchange rates, commodity prices collapse, and global political challenges the need for corporate performance management tools are greater than ever. More frequent reforecast, budget scenarios, budget vs actuals, detailed planning, faster month end, ease of inquiry are all essential now.
A proven solution for almost 30 years Prophix is regularly enhanced with a clear road map that leverages the evolving Microsoft technology stack and is driven by business need and user and partner feedback.

Some of the great new enhancements in Prophix Version 12:
• Brand new user experience developed after hundreds of hours of usability studies with everyday users, designed to make it even easier to complete key tasks in performance management across the organization.
• New web client based on HTML5 technology for access all major browsers (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, Safari).
• New Dashboard Studio for self-service dashboard creation by any user through a drag and drop user interface. Create innovative mash-ups to monitor key business processes and performance metrics using data sourced both from within Prophix, or externally.
• Redesigned Workflow Tasks portal and new workflow dashboard tile for quick access to assigned tasks, and monitoring of completed, past due, and future tasks.
• Enhanced navigation and layout selection in Ad hoc Analysis and Templates. These changes enable users to interrogate ,and to navigate, across multidimensional data to get exactly what they need in fewer clicks.
• Enhancements to line item schedules to cell commentary.

The upgrade path to Prophix Version 12 will be seamless for customers currently using Prophix 11. Cubes do not need to be rebuilt; templates will not have to be redesigned. Everything that users have learned will still be valid as the existing Smart Client and its functions continue to work well.

Dynamics Summit 22 Mar 2016 – great success

March 22nd, 2016

Despite Heavy rain and a drive to the end of the Dubai Palm outer frond to get to the Waldorf Astoria venue, the summit had a packed attendance. It seemed that thunder and lighting had followed the attendees into the ballroom when a sound and laser show started the event.

The day started with presentations that highlighted the disruptive potential of technology, and how that can be leveraged through the scalable azure platform to brig together social listening, predictive analytics, Big data, Internet of Things, Cloud based multi platform any time anywhere Dynamics Ax Enterprise erp and CRM systems.

Key note speakers included:
Christian Pedersen, General Manger, Enterprise ERP, Microsoft
Siegfried Leiner Principal Program Manager, Dynamics CRM, Microsoft
Karim Talhouk Microsoft Business Solutions Director, Microsoft Gulf

Several videos featured other Microsoft speakers including Sathya Nadell as well as case studies of local implementations. This was followed by a panel discussion and a packed day of presentations.

Synergy Software Systems, a gold sponsor of the events, had a constant stream of visitors to their stand. Our rolling presentations showed Dynamics Ax and Dynamics CRM, and complementary solutions such as our incredible ACE construction BIM suite, Dox42 to enable end users to create richly formatted reports themselves in Microsoft Office rather than in their business systems for enhanced presentation without need for development cost, the BI4Dynamics pre-built report packs , and the Prophix produitised CPM solution.

At the end of a busy day Synergy Software Systems Director, Stephen Jones showed that despite the emphasis on the new html 5 user interface and technical architecture there are also quite a few functional tweaks to welcome in almost every module. To illustrate the general use of workspaces and the new UI he presented an end to end run through of Employee Lifecycle management in the HR module in the new release. He then showed some screens shots of Synergy’s localised Ax GCC Payroll and HR enhancements upgraded to the new release. He rounded off the packed 30 minutes with a look at the extensive capabilities of Power BI to analyse HR and Payroll data.

Microsoft Licensing changes in EA and Dynamics CRM

March 22nd, 2016

This blog post seems to have slipped past many Microsoft partners and customers.

“Beginning on July 1, 2016, the minimum Enterprise Agreement (EA) commitment for commercial customers signing new Enterprise Enrollments or Enterprise Subscription Enrollments will increase from 250 users or devices to 500. Along with this change, we are guiding new commercial customers within the 250 to 499 user or device range to our modern volume licensing solutions: the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) and the Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP)………….At the expiration of their current EA term, existing commercial customers with fewer than 500 users or devices can choose to transition to MPSA or CSP, or they can renew their EA by extending it for one additional 36-month period. The extension option is recommended for customers whose unique needs are not yet supported by MPSA or CSP, as well as for customers who simply prefer to continue with the EA. Please note that the change to the minimum commitment does not impact EA customers with greater than 500 users or devices, Public Sector customers, or the Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE).
Start preparing for the change today. While changes do not go into effect until July 1, 2016, customers can start planning ahead today. Commercial EA customers with fewer than 500 users or devices should contact their partner or sales executive to learn more, and visit our online resources for EA, MPSA, and CSP. For updates, real-time information and direct engagement, please follow us on Twitter”

However, as reported by Linda Rosencrance at MicrosoftDynamics.com, Microsoft is now offering customers more flexible licensing terms for such online services as: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online increased-capacity add-ons and Office 365 E1 and K1.

That means that organizations can license Microsoft software for just portions of a year by taking advantage of new short-term options in Microsoft’s Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). This new capability gives customers a way to license short-term business scenarios not previously addressed by existing licensing options, company officials said in a statement.

Available as of March 1, these short-term options are aimed at companies that employ seasonal retail workers or organizations that have changing business demands and may not need full-year subscriptions, according to the statement. Companies can get short-term MPSA contacts to cover “one to 11 months” licensing periods and they can initiate these contracts at any time – something not previously addressed by existing full-year subscriptions. This option will be particularly helpful for customers who hire additional retail workers during holidays; manage fluctuating volumes from one season to the next; or initiate special projects that require additional capacity for less than a year.

Besides Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365, other services available for short-term subscriptions are:
•Enterprise Mobility Suite
•SharePoint Online Plan 1 and Plan 2
•Exchange Online Kiosk Plan 1 and Plan 2

In September, Microsoft also added multiple-year options under its MPSA contracts for its Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) licensing. ECS licenses combine Office 365 licenses, EMS Enterprise Mobility Suite licensing and the Windows Software Assurance annuity upgrade guarantee, officials said.

SQL Server 2005 extended support will end on April 12, 2016.

March 13th, 2016

Reminder that SQL Server 2005 extended support will end on April 12, 2016.
After this date, no security updates, hotfixes, or Microsoft professional support will be available for SQL Server 2005. Continuing to run the product after the end of support may expose your business to security risks, increased maintenance and operations costs, as well as compliance violations and possibly a fine.

To avoid the risks of running unsupported software, Microsoft recommends that you migrate to SQL Server 2014 or Azure SQL Database prior to April 12, 2016. You can find more information on how to plan your SQL Server 2005 migration at http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserverupgrade.

Ax for 2016 – why does Azure and LCS matter?

March 6th, 2016

At the Dynamics Technical Conference 2016, conference general sessions presented by Microsoft’s AX leaders Dan Brown and Sri Srinivasan, the focus was on business process transformation and how the new Dynamics AX places emphasis on the overall user experience. This includes enhanced integration capabilities that will make work easier, no matter the location from which the user is accessing the solution. Improvements are coming not only to AX but also to Power BI , with real time analytical data. According to Brown, AX :

– Has An Intelligent user interface
– Proven business logic
– Gives Continuous life to your system
– Supports Business anytime, anywhere

Additional new capabilities for data entry, globalization, agility and lifecycle management are likely game changers.

So what are the key features?
1. AX7 is a true Saas/Paas platform that leverages the Azure platform natively
In the literal words of Mike Ehrenberg, AX is not a ‘lift-and-shift’ of AX2012R3CU9: simply shifting the on premise platform to the cloud, as many competitors have done. Microsoft has separated the AX7 application layer and the platform layer – So what? this allows AX7 to run on native Azure technology. So the many future Azure enhancements ahead will directly impact AX positively. For SQL Server, only from CTP6 Microsoft was able to run SQL Server natively on an Azure VM.
2. AX is a Microsoft-wide achievement
AX, is built on the Microsoft technology stack, ranging from SQL Server technology to Azure to BI technology. Each has its own big team of experts. It’s amazing how Microsoft has managed to blend all these broad specialisms into the AX product.
3. The new AX release is not incorporating new technology but is driving new technology.
With AX being a cloud-first platform fully in line with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s focus for service orientation, The new Dynamics is now fully in the spotlights within Microsoft AX is on a path where it drives the other Microsoft teams to enhance, instead of ‘just’ incorporating existing technologies in new releases.
A good example is real time analytics. With the market demand for real-time analytics, AX had to move away from non-real time data warehousing and SSAS technologies in favor of the new read-only secondary database (replicated in seconds) and AX entity database (replicated in minutes). Instead, AX required new technology to allow true real-time analytics. This technology was found in new SQL Server 2016 in-memory technology, leveraging indexing on columns instead of the conventional row-based indexing.
4. Enriching AX functionality exactly according to market demand
AX is developed with more customer, partner and ISV involvement. That’s something that could have been done 10 years ago. The difference is that telemetry data is collected from actual AX usage data. Based on already available data up to the recent RTW release, Microsoft is able to identify exactly which areas of AX are used most and which areas have been customized most. This enables focused targeting of all available development capacity . Imagine what will happen if Ax is enrolled to thousands of customers worldwide? On Azure Microsoft analytics can analyse how Ax is used by all customers. An ABC Analysis of use for example.
5. With the release of AX7, the production environment will no longer be accessible by customers or partners.
Microsoft ‘frees’ the customers and partners from the responsibility to maintain this environment, to apply patches and – again in the words of Mike Ehrenberg – to allow the partners and customers to focus more on unleashing the potential of the software for their respective business instead of being bothered by ‘low-value’ activities.
6. AX7 resolves many implementation pain points
With AX7 Microsoft truly expresses an ongoing focus for shortening the AX implementation cycle. Many pain points are now solved by Microsoft:
• Fast code deployment: the application code base has now been split up in multiple models. Code can now be compiled and deployed in smaller chunks and in a much faster way.
• Easier code upgrades: the conventional ‘layering’ option is still there, but custom code can now be implemented as an extension (applicable to not all but many AOT elements). As such, the extension is completely segregated from the out-of-the-box code base, which makes customizations much more flexible, especially regarding future upgrade scenarios.
• Shipping of configuration data among environments: with so called data packages (a collection of data entities which are an aggregated collection of tables and views), sets of data can easily be shipped across different environments.
• Optionally the data in the data package can be edited in Excel prior to deployment as the data package is physically nothing more than a zipped collection of Excel files added up with a header and manifest XML. So called ‘process data packages’ can even associate a data package with a specific process in the LCS process library. You can have a new sales order posted in a brand new originally empty environment in minutes.
• Multi-purpose task recorder: the new task recorder can record tasks in AX not only to train people on any task in the software (including interactive guided clicking), but can also be used to automate testing. The recorded tasks (including the data captured) can be made part of new software builds to automatically regression test the build before deployment.
• Retail: activation of a cloud-POS or mPOS device can now be done through an easy-to-use wizard. As there’s only 1 channel database for all your channels in the new cloud topology, the wizard pre-populates the channel database URL and also the stores the device can be associated for (based on the Azure AAD user > worker > store address book > store association).
7. Life Cycle Services (LCS) is a requirement and can no longer be avoided.:
• AX no longer provides access to production environments, so the telemetry LCS offers is crucial in identifying issues. LCS is leveraged to quickly deploy a representative environment, load relevant reference test data and to simulate the issue with a task recording.
• Data packages and other assets are all stored in the LCS Asset Library. LCS is the central repository for storage and deployment across the various environments. LCS has a hierarchical structure: a ‘corporate’ section which allows re-using ‘assets’ among different projects.
8. Support 2.0
AX now re-defines the way you can support your users. Users record the issue they face through the task recorder and create a ticket from AX which is directly converted into a Visual Studio work item for the support engineer. The major impact here is the available telemetry for the support engineer: AX continuously logs system performance and system activity along the way, the work item is automatically enriched with a ‘snapshot’ of the state of the system at the time the issue occurred: what browser did the user utilize, what batch jobs were running, what was the user doing exactly etc.
9. Business process orientation
The new AX UI offers a better way to expose application functionality to the business users: workspaces. Workspaces are reminiscent of role centers: tiles are the new cues, tabbed lists are the old enterprise portal enabled list pages (although the new ‘tab’ structure is very handy) and charts and links can be embedded as role center offered (although far more sophisticated now). However, a user is now offered numerous workspaces, all supporting a specific set of tasks related to a process with which the user is affiliated. The set of workspaces together forms the user’s dashboard.
10. New features
There are fewer because of the other technical topics mentioned, but AX still offers some great new features – a glimpse of the less prominent features:
• Finance: cross company general journal entry: creating and posting journals without having to switch companies.
• Retail: download updates to mPOS from the device form directly (self-service installer). Process: a new update is made available by IT and a store manager can download and run the update package locally in the store.
• Enterprise search and ribbon search: Use ALT+G to open enterprise search and then type “U C” and AX7 will open“Unit Conversion” immediately – one click and you’re in the form. Navigate to other pages by changing the URL. Type ALT+Q and to search for a specific function in the ribbon, regardless of the tab group tow which the function belongs.
• Invenotry cost analysis
11. The cloud: a new way of thinking.
With the AX cloud release some basic on-premise functions have suddenly become a challenge. Some examples and how Microsoft will tackle these:
• Accessing on-premise files and folders is not possible from the cloud: AX can no longer poll on-premise folders and pull-in files for processing. For example in recurring integration scenarios. Microsoft has exposed an API for a source system to push a file into Azure blob storage accompanied by an enqueuing message which flags a recurring AX batch job that there’s a file to be processed. Microsoft will ship an application to do the enqueuing (and similar dequeuing for exports) on behalf of the source (or target) application. This application will be able to work with processing folders (IN, ERROR, COMPLETED etc.) as many customers were used to with the DIXF batch job .
•(Printing on local network printers is not possible from the cloud. We need an on-premise pull mechanism. Microsoft will ship a ‘document routing agent’ which will query an Azure queue for messages which contain meta data for new documents to be printed (stored in Azure blob storage). Network printers can be configured on a specific form in AX7 which will allow the Azure queue message to contain meta data about to which printer the ‘document routing agent should send the document
• Hot keys: the different browsers have different reserved hot keys. To stay as much in line as possible with current hot keys users are familiar with, Microsoft has been creative. For example, the ‘new record’ hot key CTRL+N has been replaced by ALT+N, which is still pretty familiar for hot key addicts.
12. Relatively low threshold for adopting AX.
It’s a challenge to develop and release a new product which involves so many paradigm shifts. So why will the AX adoption to be relatively easy?:
• Developers will embrace Visual Studio, the AOT is re-arranged a bit and developers have to get used to work with the extensions and file based code and packages. X++ is largely untouched (only enriched at some points) and for those who have some Visual Studio experience, a lot of ‘new’ things are common to .NET/Visual Studio in general.
• The cloud environment requires a new way of thinking, but most things will be managed by Microsoft ‘under the water’. As always, understanding the concept is much easier than having to become a specialist in an area.
• With the earlier CTPs operating the new AX7 UI is a bit different than the familiar AX2012 navigation. But with RTW the similarities are very clear. The area pages are back, form dyna-linking (selecting a different record in the list page is reflected in a details form) is working flawlessly and the old ribbon and favorites are still there.

GESS Exhibition ( Global Educational Supplies & Solutions ) 2016

March 2nd, 2016

Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) opened yesterday and is being held under the patronage of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, GESS and Global Education Forum (GEF). In its 9th edition, GESS provides the ideal platform for education professional worldwide to meet, find new products and services, and discuss a range of topics about education and its future.

H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of UAE Ministry of Education, UAE and Synergy Software Systems Account Manager Sudhakar Raman at yesterday’s exhibition in Dubai. The event continues today and tomorrow.

H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi was appointed Minister of Education in 2014 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He is also CEO of the Emirates Advanced Investments Group of companies.

Synergy Software Systems is a Microsoft President’s Club member and implements solutions for the Education sector, such as: specialised Admissions and Billing in Dynamics Ax, library system, classroom scheduling, as well as traditional enterprise solutions for finance, HR, payroll, CRM , T@A and the Office 365 suite of applications.

Microsoft’s cloud ambitions expand with Azure stack – Hybrid cloud and Metanautix

February 7th, 2016

Microsoft unveiled its new Azure Stack offering at last year’s Ignite conference as a solution that would enable users to easily run Azure cloud services in their own on-premises datacenters, thus supporting the increasingly hybrid nature of organizations’ IT environments.

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson, speaking at the 2015 Ignite keynote, described Azure Stack this way:
“This is literally us giving you all of Azure for you to run in your datacenters. What this brings you is you get that great IaaS and PaaS environment in your datacenters. You have incredible capability like a unified application model that gives you a one-click deployment experience for even the most complex, multi-tier applications and then you get that cloud-inspired infrastructure. We’re giving you the same software controller that we built for our network, the name is the same, network controller. We’re giving you our load balancing. We’re giving you all the storage innovation.”

Azure Stack represents an evolution of Microsoft’s older Cloud OS solution, which also promised to give partners and organizations the ability to build Azure environments in their datacenters, but suffered from low uptake due to its complexity. Azure Stack shares a common architecture, application model and DevOps tool set with Azure, according to Microsoft. This minimizes the work that developers need to do to make sure their apps work on both Azure and Azure Stack, as well as lets IT pros extend on-premises apps to the cloud without having to drastically change the tools they use for automation or management. Microsoft has not given a specific date for Azure Stack’s release, but because it is linked with the company’s 2016 wave of server releases, it will likely become generally available by year’s end.

While Microsoft claims 100,000 new Azure subscriptions per month, it also recognizes that many enterprises “still have business concerns around moving fully to the public cloud, such as data sovereignty or regulatory considerations.” So they are in limbo between the public cloud and on-premise; hence the need for a hybrid cloud approach that provides consistency across private, hosted, and public clouds.

Among the capabilities:
• Azure and Azure Stack feature a standardized architecture (e.g., the same portal, a unified application model, common DevOps tools); thus, developers can offer the same end-user experience as Azure delivers.
• IT professionals can transform on-premise datacenter resources into Azure IaaS/PaaS services while maintaining oversight and corporate governance, using the same management and automation tools that Microsoft uses to operate Azure.

For heavily-regulated companies, control where data resides. Highly regulated companies (SOX, HIPAA, FDA, etc.) having their data hosted at a Microsoft Azure datacenter doesn’t typically meet all of their regulatory requirements. and there is a growing demand for enterprise cloud apps, with a hybrid cloud platform product that helps enterprises deploy Azure Services in a private cloud environment.

So, businesses have the freedom to decide where applications and workloads reside – overcoming one of the most vehement objections to the cloud.

Azure Stack and Dynamics
The new Dynamics AX, which will be launching on Azure first, apparently in March. The plans to bring the new AX to private cloud and on-premise customers hinge on the release of Azure Stack for the Windows Server 2016 wave of products.

Metanautix,
In December Microsoft furthered its pursuit of enterprise analytics with the acquisition of Metanautix, a company that makes it possible for businesses to pull together all their data and gain insights into it. Metanautix’s product can pull information in from a variety of private and public cloud data sources including traditional data warehouses, NoSQL databases like Cassandra and business systems like Salesforce. Once it’s aggregated, businesses can use SQL to query the resulting data pipeline in order to glean insights from the information. Microsoft isn’t saying much about its plans for Metanautix’s technology, but it can be expected to roll it into products like SQL Server and the Cortana Analytics Suite.

Why Azure anyway?
Managed Web Sites
Window Azure has a special mode of use just for 2-tier web sites, called Windows Azure Web Sites. Both Microsoft’s SQL Database or MySQL databases can be used. WAWS web sites use a shared VM pool, and provisioning happens in just seconds, not minutes. Customers can promote to reserved VMs if they choose. WAWS web sites are fast, easy, and superbly managed.

WEB FRAMEWORK SUPPORT
Window Azure Web Sites also support common open source frameworks, including DotNetNuke, Drupal, Joomla, Orchard, and WordPress. Web developers can quickly provision web sites with their desired framework.

WEB DEPLOYMENT FREEDOM
Web developers work in different ways, and there’s no single way to deploy. Windows Azure Web Sites support several popular methods of deployment, including Web Deploy, FTP, Git, and TFS. In addition, the deployment is conveniently always to a single “server”, even when running multiple server VMs in the cloud. WAWS takes care of distributing new and updated deployment files to the individual VM instances.

IAAS
Window Azure now has Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) support, to complement the Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) support. IaaS Virtual Machines are based on VHDs which are fully portable between cloud and on-prem and those are also persistent, making Windows Azure viable at last for single-server solutions and for running server products such as AD, SQL Server, or SharePoint Server.

Non-Microsoft OS & Database support

Traditionally, Microsoft has offered platform services based on Windows Server and SQL Server. With the new platform there is support for Linux virtual machines and MySQL databases. This means a broader range of software can now run in the Microsoft cloud even SAP.

VM Image Gallery
When creating Virtual Machines, select from a gallery of pre-configured images. For example, install Windows Server 2008 plain, or with SQL Server also installed or add your own VM images to the gallery.

VM Composition

Window Azure virtual machines is easily provisioned, configured, and managed in the Windows Azure portal. Once you connect to and set up a VM, capture its disk to create a reusable image that is added to your VM image gallery.

Cloud Services

The traditional Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) mode–now known as Cloud Services–not only remains, it’s getting new and updated services. An expanded virtual networking capability can interface with enterprise VPN appliances to enable hybrid cloud scenarios where segments of your local network are joined to your cloud assets. Windows Azure Media Services, a new service in limited preview right now, will allow uploading, transcoding, and delivery of media content such as video. A new identity service is coming that will extend the identity federation we currently have in the Access Control Service with expanded capabilities.

The New Portal

Window Azure gets a huge usability boost in a cutting-edge new . HTML-based, management portal that can also be used on mobile devices such as iPads and Windows 8 slates. The new portal also provides a view of built-in metrics for WAWS, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines.

New Data Centers

Two new data centres were added recently (West US and East US), bringing the number of Windows Azure data centers to 8 (four in the US, two in Europe, and two in Asia). In addition, there is supporting worldwide infrastructure including a 24-node edge cache CDN network.

Ax 2012 R3 CU 10 compatible with SQL 2012 Sp3

January 24th, 2016

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Cumulative Update 10 and AX 2012 R2 Cumulative Update 9 are now compatible with SQL Server 2012 SP3.

The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 System Requirements are updated to reflect this change.