Archive for the ‘SharePoint and EPM’ category

Power BI update March – April 2019

March 21st, 2019

Microsoft launched the public preview of new Power BI workspace experiences in August 2018 to enable Power BI workspace admins:
• to use security groups to manage access to workspaces,
• to enable BI teams to create workspaces without needing to create an Office 365 Group,
• to provide granular workspace roles to make giving access to workspaces easier.

At the beginning of April 2019, the new workspace experiences. will reach General Availability (GA)

Usage metrics for new workspaces are rolling out this week
This capability is much requested by customers and works the same as it did for classic workspaces based on Office 365 Groups. It may take until late this week or next week to reach all commercial cloud customers.

https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/update-on-the-new-workspace-experiences-preview-including-ga-timeline/

The March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.2.47) includes an updated version of the Mashup Engine, which matches the one released as part of the Power BI Desktop March update.

This will ensure that the reports that you publish to the Power BI Service and refresh via the Gateway will go through the same query execution logic/runtime as in the latest Power BI Desktop version.

Happiness Day, Loneliness and Power BI

March 21st, 2019

At the annual Gartner BI Bake Off session at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando, Florida the Power BI team featured this report which you can explore here:

Here are some insights and highlights from the report:
• The employment groups with the most happiness are employed and retired people followed closely by stay at home parents and students.
• The highest ratio of lonely to non-lonely people by age group is between 35 and 44 years old.
• For the countries in the dataset, the UK and the US have higher loneliness ratios (0.30 and 0.29 respectively) than Japan (0.10).

if you think Power BI might provide insights into your business, and need training or assistance with report modelling, or need to understand the different licence types, then contact us – 009714 3365589

SQL 2016 SP2 CU6 is released also SQL 2016 SP1 CU 14

March 21st, 2019

The good news is that Microsoft has fixed the “String or binary data would be truncated” error!
With KB#4468101 if you enable trace flag 460, the SQL Server will now tell you just what l is going to be truncated.
SP2 CU6 also includes other fixes like:
• Users are incorrectly permitted to create incremental stats on nonclustered indexes that aren’t aligned to the base table
• Assertion for parallel deletes from filestream tables
• Filestream IO can’t be enabled on cluster shared volumes
• Assertion for linked server queries that point to themselves during a cross-database transaction (as bad as it sounds)
• MDS database upgrade fails
• Filtered nonclustered columnstore index over a clustered columnstore index may not be maintained ( in layman’s term we call it corruption)
• Stack dump during change tracking cleanup
• Data masking (doesn’t)

Microsoft also released an 2016 SP1 CU14 but that doesn’t have the key#4468101 fix. .

Cloud back ups or on-premise?

February 16th, 2019

Pretty scary.
We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker, last seen as aktv@94.155.49.9 This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems. We are working to recover what data we can.

Though they’re back up and running, who knows if customers will stick by them, or will sue them.
What impact that had on infrastructure mail servers, backup servers, and SQL Servers for customers is hard to judge.
A large number of people might have lost their mailboxes and previously stored mail that was in IMAP storage.
This is likely an annoyance for individuals, but potentially catastrophic for businesses. Imagine your small business hosted with them and all your mailboxes were lost with customer communications and who knows what else.

Could this happen with a cloud provider like Azure O365, Google Apps or AWS?
Maybe but they will have DR backups,
But what if you store back ups on the cloud but run on premise- how long would it take to mass restore multiple, customers? Do you still have ad3qute on premise test systems to restore on and the staff and the time to do it?

Do you assume that you will always have either a primary server and an online backup server/share/bucket/container and can download data.
The problem is that online systems that connect to the primary can be accessed.
If an attacker were to access one, they potentially could access the second.
The world seems to be moving towards more online storage, or in the case of cloud vendors, a reliance on snapshots. That might be good enough for cloud vendors, but is it good enough for your on-premise system.
It’s likely that an attacker, possibly even with insider help, would wipe out backups first, then primary systems.
Some sort of disconnected offline backup of data, especially database servers gives you a third line of defence.
don’t forget that back up- need to be tested- if the back up software compatible with old versions, does your back up use the same version as the current erp software installed on your primary, or the same SQL version (i.e when you upgrade do you also upgrade your back ups, or maintain an older environment?)

Microsoft and other large vendors have had downtime whether self induced by releasing code too early, or due to hardware failure, or malicious attach . What is important to realise is just how infrequent are just issues given the number of clients they have across a range of solutions, and how little was the downtime and how fast they are at in addressing issues that arise. The think about how you would have been able to deal with the same issues in your own server room?

There are increasing risks, and increasing issues of statutory compliance with regard to data protection e.g, GDPR. The cloud generally offers cheap storage nd robust systems, yet it needs to be part of a holistic approach to reduce overall risk and cost, and not the only line of defence.

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU5, SP1 CU13 – many fixes

January 25th, 2019

Many fixes inside SP2 CU5 and SP1 CU13, e.g.:
• Access violation when you compile a query
• Access violations and unhandled exceptions with Always On Availability Groups automatic seeding
• Dynamic Data Masking doesn’t when there’s a cursor involved
• Access violations for XML data types
• Query Store blocks transactions and log truncation
• Out of memory errors
• Non-yielding schedulers with heavy use of prepared statements
• Can’t restore compressed backups of encrypted databases
• High CPU usage when there are many batch requests (which we would expect?)
• SQL Server service crashes when you cancel CHECKDB (on a “large database” – doesn’t that apply to all? )
…. lots more

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

ROI On Microsoft Dynamics

November 14th, 2018

what’s the true return on investment (ROI) for an average Dynamics 365 deployment?”

Thanks to a newly released independent analysis from Nucleus Research, we can reveal the answer:

For every dollar spent, companies realize an average of $16.97 in returns.

According to the report summary, “this is significantly higher than the average for both enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), which deliver, on average, $7.23 and $8.71 respectively. Nucleus found that companies taking advantage of Microsoft’s investments in cloud and usability, as well as integration and analytics, were able to achieve significant returns by increasing productivity and revenues and reducing costs.”

The report dives in the value drivers for the cases, and revels that the common elements to the financial success of deployments include:

• The ability to integrate Microsoft solutions with existing applications and data sources
• The enablement of new lines of business, such as cross-selling and up-selling with field service
• A focus on a standardized, easy-to-use user interfaces—the familiar Microsoft look and feel that can help speed up onboarding and user adoption
• Cost savings and greater innovation realized by deploying cloud-based Microsoft business applications
• The focus on improving user productivity by automating, or standardizing, repeatable manual processes

The report is a fascinating read that we invite you to explore on your own. If you are interested in investing in the modern Dynamics enterprise system system then contact Synergy Software Systems and we will send you a copy.

0097143365589

End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 9, 2019

November 2nd, 2018

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

Risks with an outdated data platform include:
• Non-compliance with GDPR and other market standards
• Exposure to unexpected attacks and security breaches
• Higher costs and inefficient data management
• Incompatibility with modern releases of business applications
• Missed opportunities for innovation and business intelligence

Options:
Upgrade to SQL 2012 or 2017
Ask us about our Advanced SQL database tools – and our special discounted bundled price offer to year end to support GDPR compliance.

Migrate to the azure cloud platform
If it also time to upgrade your servers then now might be a good time to look at a move to the cloud.

Azure Hybrid Benefit
• Save up to 40% on windows Server with Azure Hybrid benefit
• Save up to 55% on migration to Azure SQL database with Azure hybrid benefit
• Go at your own pace – move a few workloads or entire datacenters
• Maximize your investment in Microsoft software.

Paths to Upgrade and Stay Protected
Migrate apps to Azure VMs: get free extended security updates for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 VM’s for 3 years after deadline.

Migrate Data to Azure managed instances or VMs
Azure SQL Database Managed Instance offers a version-free option.
Get free Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 in Azure VM’s for three years after the deadline

Modernize when ready
Upgrade in Azure when ready
Or transform apps and data with Azure services

To reduce the cost of on premise servers ask about our Firewall Solutions that provides may other integrated features. Reduce the number of servers needed and the cost of supporting multiple server systems, vpn, sms, ftp, anti virus, and more all in one solution.

To discuss your options contact Synergy Software Systems a Microsoft partner since 1993.
If you are considering a Microsoft Dynamics solution on the cloud then when comparing costs do’t forget that the subscription includes not only the hardware platform but also the significant cost savings of the database, Windows server, and firewall and anti-malware software licenses, but also the savings in server rooms and electricity boils both to power the servers and the server room air conditioning. Nor is there any extra cost is for license enhancements fee for continuous upgrade versions of the ljcences. That also redcues yoru GDPR compliance challenges.

If your SQL database, or your servers, or your Windows Server licenses are due for renewal, or its time to move an any time anywhere, any device new business system then call Synergy Software Systems to discuss your options

Microsoft partner since 1994
Dynamics Partner since 2003

SQL 2014 SP3 now released

November 1st, 2018

Fixes include:

• Less TempDB contention
• Improved memory grant diagnostics using Extended Events
• Trace flags show up in query plans
• Wait stats, CPU time, elapsed time show up in query plans
• Query_hash and query_plan_hash data types now match between XE and DMVs
• Scalar UDF stats show up in query plans
• Row goals show up in…oh, you get the point
• Unified showplan schema for all supported versions
• MAXDOP hint for creating and updating statistics
• Faster restores on disks with 4K sectors

Microsoft Ignite agenda insights to the future road map

August 14th, 2018

Microsoft recently published the session list for its annual Ignite IT Pro conference happening at the end of the September. Alook at the topcis gives a clue to its roadmap. There sessionson on the next version of SQL Server. Surface Hub 2 and Surface Go with LTE, Intune and Windows Autopilot, Windows Server 2019. New Remote Desktop services.

Last year, Microsoft used Ignite to highlight AI, intelligent edge and its futuristic quantum-computing technologies but overall the listed sessions, look more down to earth. There are two mixed-reality sessions — including “Visio Immersive,” Almost 100 listed sessions touch on AI . At Inspire Microsoft told partners the “AI Accelerate Kit”would be coming in October and include AI use cases, best practices and “Ethical AI” guidance so that seems lilley to be included.

At Ignite Microsoft will again focus on Microsoft 365,- the bundle of Windows 10, Office 365 and Intune security/management technologies.

Expect to a lot of Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP content — because October is when the next feature update will arrive for the suite of Dynamics products.

There seems to be more developer content: . ASP.NET, Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2017, Node.js, and sessions on linux and Docket containers, Progressive Web Apps and MSIX, the new Windows 10 application-packaging technology Microsoft is rolling out.

There are 115 sessions listed for SQL Server /Azure SQL. Mayeb we will get an insight into the successor to SQL Server 2017 — codenamed “Aris,” which is currently in private Community Technology Preview testing.

Microsoft wil lalso show the new the Surface Hub 2 and Surface Go.

Expect Windows Server 2019, Microsoft’s next major release of Windows Server, to be a hot topic -it’s due to start roll out before year end.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/ignite/faq

September 24–28, 2018 | Orlando, Florida

SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU2, SP1 CU10

July 18th, 2018

Fixes and improvements:
• DAG improvement – automatically seed replicas – when you add a database to an existing AG, SQL Server can automatically seed it across the secondary replicas. .
• AGs – configurable session_timeouts
• AGs – slow transactions with 1 sync and 1 async secondary
• AGs – on cross-data-center AG failover, you get a non-yielding scheduler and a crash
• AGs – queries on secondary take twice as long
• AGs – VSS backups fail on secondary replicas in a Basic Availability Group (which technically you’re not supposed to do, but you can still back up the entire secondary VM, and that’s where the problem looks like it’s coming in)
• AGs – fixing error 19432 for duplicate log blocks
• Log shipping – add support for Transparent Data Encryption by configuring MAXTRANSFERSIZE.
• Dynamic data masking doesn’t
• SSAS crashes when Process Full follows Process Clear –“you will notice that the SSAS may crash.” .
• Memory dump when you merge partitioned temporal tables .
• Stats updates can get a “corrupted index” message and a disconnect
• Assertion error when you add a database
• Slow performance when Query Store is enabled
• Non-yielding schedulers require a reboot – not the most informative KB article ever. “Assume that you have a Microsoft SQL Server 2016 installed.” .

See KB articles for more information . Download SQL 2016 SP2 CU2 and/or SP1 CU10.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4341569/cumulative-update-10-for-sql-server-2016-sp1

End of life for SQL 2008 and 2008 r2 is only a year away

July 14th, 2018

On July 9, 2019, Microsoft will end Extended Support, for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2hich means no more updates or support of any kind, potentially leaving you vulnerable to security and compliance issues.
Some considerations:
That is only a year away. So time to start planning and to get it into your 2019 budget.
What applications are affected? With what new SQL version are they compatible?
Will you need to rebuy licenses? The SQL license cost is now core based and it might prove lot higher than last time so take the time to consider all options.
Should any of your applications move to the cloud?
Should you also look at upgrades to Hardware? Windows, Office, Exchange, or Business finance/erp systems in conjunction with SQL?
Is now the time to review your security solutions?
Are you going to expand, or implement heavy new processes like consolidation, budgeting, BI in then next 2-3 years?
Is your mobile network growing?

There are major enhancements at QL 2016 sp1 so we recommend you should not consider any version lower than that. By next year SQL 2017 will also have settled down.

To discuss options callus o 0097143365589

Sharepoint Updates

July 8th, 2018

Idle-Session Timeout Policy
The general availability release of the new Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature, will help businesses to avoid the risk of data leaks and theft.

When devices are left unattended or are shared among multiple users organizations can set timeout thresholds to automatically sign out users when SharePoint Online remains inactive. The Idle-Session Timeout Policy feature is available for both SharePoint Online and OneDrive, ,
Companies that use SharePoint Online tend to keep some sensitive information on the collaboration platform.

Bill Baer, Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager for SharePoint at Microsoft, in a July 2 announcement said:. “Idle session timeout provides [a way for] an Office 365 administrator to configure a threshold at which a user is warned and subsequently signed out of SharePoint or OneDrive after a period of inactivity.”

SharePoint Migration Tool-compatible cmdlets
Administrators can migrating from on-premise to the cloud can now use PowerShell “cmdlets”, or single-function commands, to create, start and add tasks to a migration session, among other actions. The complete list of new SharePoint Migration Tool-compatible cmdlets is available in the online support document.

Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint.
SharePoint content renders well on PCs, smartphones and tablets, but some legacy pages can give problems. The Page Diagnostics Tool for SharePoint runs older pages through a set of baseline rules, and e.g. checks for large image sizes, alerts users when it encounters an issue, and points them to a support page to help solve the issue. The Chrome browser extension helps users get to the bottom of performance problems affecting Classic SharePoint pages hosted in SharePoint Online.

SharePoint 2019 – coming soon ask Synergy Software Systems

July 1st, 2018

Microsoft recently announced SharePoint 2019 with lots of new features and capabilities, which are backed by Azure and Artificial Intelligence.

With the release of SharePoint 2019, the new platform provides features from the SharePoint Online world to on-premises users. SharePoint 2019 supports powerful, integrated hybrid scenarios out-of-the-box, and delivers user interface improvements: modern team sites, communication sites, list and libraries, pages, and news.

the SharePoint Framework eliminates major differences between sites on-premises and in Office 365.

The new SharePoint migration tool supports automated migration using PowerShell.

Any device: SharePoint 2019 helps ensure that you have access to the information regardless of the screen by which you access.

Navigation: The SharePoint 2019 navigation model aligns with Office 365.

New sites: Compelling communication and collaboration experiences for both cloud and on-premises.
- Communication Sites, Team News and modern Team Sites to include lists and libraries with broader data mobility. Use the Next Generation Sync Client support for reliable access to documents anywhere, anytime.

Business process improvements: With InfoPath for customising forms, Microsoft added PowerApps and Flow in the cloud. In SharePoint 2019, Microsoft has further improved support for building business processes with PowerApps and Flow.

SharePoint Home: A user can visit SharePoint Home and find all relevant sites or news in one place. Users in SharePoint 2019 will also be able to utilise this feature.

Prepare for cloud: SharePoint 2019, provides for improved hybrid scenarios and support.

Developers: Microsoft rolled out the SharePoint Framework capabilities from SharePoint 2016 via updates. In SharePoint 2019, expect to have SharePoint Framework web parts and extensions available to enable developers to build solutions aligned with a cloud model. This is the recommended path- especially if you are planning to take the road to the cloud soon.

Availability: SharePoint 2019 will be generally available in the second half of 2018. The new Office 2019 contains the well-known Office apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as the Office server products such as Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business. Previews of the new products will start shipping mid-year 2018, the final release will be late 2018.

The SharePoint Server 2019 on-premises version is built on the foundational release of SharePoint Server 2016. The goal is to bring you closer to the cloud and the cloud closer to you.

What you can expect from SharePoint Server 2019 on-premises:
• NextGen OneDrive Sync Client, no support for SharePoint 2016
• PowerApps integration
• Team News and Communication sites, but no Hub Sites
• Modern UI
• InfoPath is still supported

Apply for the SharePoint Server on-premises TAP: https://aka.ms/sptap (Code: SPT232)

“Meltdown” and “Spectre and azure.”

February 10th, 2018

Last month as reported on this blog, Intel revealed two critical vulnerabilities they found in Intel chips. These vulnerabilities allow cyber-attackers to steal data from the memory of running apps. This data can include passwords, emails, photos, or documents. Intel dubbed these as: “Meltdown” and “Spectre.”

Microsoft released a patch for Azure the very next day. Just as well because Microsoft Azure is a shared-computing environment by default. One server hosts applications and development of applications, and various Virtual Machines tap into the server to allow employees to and others to access these applications. As such, the Meltdown vulnerability allows an attacker to compromise the host and read all the data from every operating system tapping into it. Around 3-10 million physical servers host Azure, and these servers in turn host tens of millions of Virtual Machines. So impressively Microsoft developed deployed a patch for these vulnerabilities in less than a week’s time. Azure is a cloud-based application and so Microsoft could focus their security team to work on the cloud servers and only the cloud servers. This way, these millions of servers and users had a patch and all applications hosted on the Azure cloud-platform were immediately protected.

A good business case example for business to move to Azure cloud services.

Malware developers are still out there. German antivirus testing firm AV-Test reported 139 samples of malware trying to attack the Meltdown vulnerability in January to exploit those who have not patched.

Microsoft patched their cloud servers, but non-Azure users (as well as all Windows users, period) still need to apply their operating system patches to ensure complete protection. This is one vulnerability you definitely don’t want cyber-attackers to exploit, whether it’s your personal computer or your business’s server.