Archive for May, 2018

SQL 2016 Servcies packs May 2018

May 31st, 2018

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 2 came out last month, but Microsoft also just released Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 9, which has fixes that aren’t in Service Pack 2:
•PFS page round robin algorithm improvement
•Fixed PAGELATCH_EX and PAGELATCH_SH waits in TempDB
•Change tracking is inconsistent during an update on a table with a clustered index
•TDE database goes offline during a log flush

However, they also just released 2016 SP2 CU1! https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4135048/cumulative-update-1-for-sql-server-2016-sp2

Windows 10 April update

May 28th, 2018

The Windows 10 April Update is causing stress for users, with many claiming their PCs were wiped clean after they hit OK on the update prompt.
Windows message boards were bombarded with complaints after users found that the “restart and install” prompt for the Windows 10 update led to a blank screen with a message saying:

C:\WINDOWS\system32\config\systemprofile\Desktop is unavailable. If the location is on this PC, make sure the device or drive is connected or the disc is inserted, and then try again. If the location is on a network, make sure you’re connected to the network or internet, and then try again. If the location still can’t be found, it might have been moved or deleted.

The screen has no icons and a few users were only able to remedy the problem with the help of another PC. The blank desktop issue has reached users across the world but does not appear to have affected a large number of users. If you have already installed the Windows 10 update and had no problems, then you don’t have to worry.

The problem seems to be linked to Avast Antivirus and a specific line of code. Avast released a statement denying any involvement in the issue.
“We have tested this and couldn’t identify any problems affecting Avast Antivirus consumer users specifically. …”We cannot rule out that a small number of Avast users may be having difficulties updating, too, but we don’t see any indications that this is caused by Avast.”

This month, Microsoft Surface users said they had issues with the device following the Windows 10 update. The all-in-one desktop Surface Studio and 2017 Surface Pro models repeatedly froze and disconnected from keyboards and mouses after the update.

•If you have Avast Antivirus, it may be prudent to delete it before installing the new Windows 10 update, as many users have reported losing access to all of their files after the installation.
•If you have been affected by the issue, computer repair shops have released lists of steps you can take to restore your desktop and get your files back.

Ax 2009 mainstream support extended to Oct 2018. Ask Synergy Software Systems about your options.

May 28th, 2018

The original mainstream support deadline was April 10, 2018 for those who are still using Dynamics AX 2009. Microsoft has extended mainstream support for this version of Dynamics AX to October 9, 2018 when mainstream support for AX 2009, AX 2012, and AX 2012 R2 will all end.

So for the next five months, Microsoft will still release bug fixes and patches, third party applications will remain compatible, and Microsoft will still provide tech support. In addition, AX 2009 and Ax 2012 RTM and R2 users now have more time to plan their next steps for their ERP software.

If you plan to stay with Dynamics then ask how we can help you to upgrade your business from AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise.
If you can’t move this year then consider a health check to reduce risk and improve performance, and to advise what you need tp consider with regard to upgrade.

Contact Synergy Software Systems, the Dubai based Dynamics partner, today to discuss your Dynamics AX options. You have a little more time but the planning needs to start now. 0097143365589

Optimisation Advisor – boost your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operartions Enterprise performance

May 13th, 2018

The Optimization advisor workspace is a tool that assists power users, business analysts, functional consultants, and IT support functions to identify issues in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Enterprise that are related to module configuration and business data. The Optimization advisor suggests best practices for module configuration and identifies business data that is obsolete or incorrect.

If master data isn’t correct (for example, or if you have unit of measure conversions for units that haven’t been defined, or if you have unit of measure conversions that have a division by 0 [zero]), then an optimization opportunity is generated to suggest that you correct the data.

If you have too many batch job history entries, or obsolete items, or closed on-hand entries for warehouse enabled items, and so on, or if those entries and items are too old, then optimization opportunities are generated to suggest that you clean up the data to help improve overall system performance.

The Optimisation advisor works by periodically running a set of best practice rules, using telemetry to analyse business processes, and finding optimisation opportunities. Optimisation opportunities can be company-specific or cross-company, and new rules can be coded to apply per legal entity or to the whole system.

Yet another great feature with Dynamics 365 for more information contact your Dubai partner, Synergy Software Systems 00971 4 3365589

Microsoft Build 2018 – AI, IoT and Edge are changing the world

May 9th, 2018

Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build, is happening in Seattle.

Expect the products and services that emerge from the conference to have a major impact on all businesses not just those that use Microsoft products.. Azure and Microsoft 365, the announcements made at Build 2018 seem to point to key themes that will impact the enterprise.

By 2020, the average person will generate 1.5GB of data a day, a smart home 50GB and a smart city, a whopping 250 petabytes of data per day. This data presents an enormous opportunity for developers — while also giving them tremendous responsibility. That’s why this morning at Build, we don’t take our jobs lightly in helping to equip these developers with the tools and guidance to change the world. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described this new world view, and AI that can power better health care, relieve challenges around basic human needs and create a society that’s more inclusive and accessible.

In the next 10 years, billions of everyday devices will be connected — smart devices that can see, listen, reason, predict and more, without a 24/7 dependence on the cloud. This is the intelligent “Edge”, the interface between the computer and the real world. The Edge combines AI and cloud together to collect and make sense of new information, whether they be on the factory floor or in the operating room or areas to dangerous for humans.

What to expect:

1. AI – all pervasive
Google and facebook are not the only tech firms leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Microsoft’s declared its mission to “help every developer be an AI developer.” CEO Satya Nadella called it the “era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.” Microsoft announced a new architecture for neural networks, new AI SDKs, new cognitive services, and even AI-powered software development.

The firm also unveiled Windows Machine Learning, which it described in a press release as “a new platform that enables developers to easily develop machine learning models in the intelligent cloud and then deploy them offline and in high performance to the PC platform.”

2.Over the Edge
Microsoft has expanded outside of the office. Building on its efforts in AI, Microsoft launched a host of new edge computing capabilities and Internet of Things (IoT) products for developers to build solutions to support new, automated business processes.

At Build, Microsoft:
- open sourced the Azure IoT Edge Runtime for easier debugging,
- enabled its Custom Vision cognitive service to run on the Azure IoT platform,
- worked with DJI to build a drone SDK for Windows 10 PCs,
- highlighted mixed reality, with two new apps for irst workers to interface with customers and triage problems: Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout. Microsoft Remote Assist enables remote collaboration via hands-free video calling, letting firstline workers share what they see with any expert on Microsoft Teams, while staying hands on to solve problems and complete tasks together.
In a similar vein, Microsoft Layout lets workers design spaces in context with mixed reality, using 3D models for creating room layouts with holograms.
- With Qualcomm Technologies Inc., announced a joint effort to create a vision AI dev kit running Azure IoT Edge, for camera-based IoT solutions.
Other advancements include a preview of Project Brainwave, an architecture for deep neural net processing, available on Azure and on the edge. Project Brainwave makes Azure the fastest cloud to run real-time AI today.
. Microsoft is integrating Visual Studio App Center with GitHub for iOS and Android developers to support DevOps process automation,
- Microsoft is also embracing blockchain with the Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench, to streamline the process for building blockchain applications.
- Project Kinect for Azure — a package of sensors from Microsoft that contains unmatched time-of-flight depth camera, with onboard compute, in a small, power-efficient form factor — designed for AI on the edge. Project Kinect for Azure brings together this leading hardware technology with Azure AI

3. Microsoft 365 is here to stay

Microsoft 365, the company’s enterprise bundle offering of Office 365, Windows 10, and enterprise mobility and security, was also a focus of Build,
“Microsoft 365 is where the world gets its best work done,” said Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft,. “With 135 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 and nearly 700 million Windows 10 connected devices, Microsoft 365 helps developers reach people how and where they work.”

The Microsoft 365 offering, is boosted by:
- new support for Power BI Visualizations in Excel,
- Microsoft Teams APIs in the Microsoft Graph,
- Fluent Design System updates, .
- NET Core 3.0, and Azure Machine Learning and JavaScript custom functions for Excel.

Embed Power Apps in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Workspaces

May 6th, 2018

Platform update 14 of D365 for Finance & Operations – the ‘Spring release’ included this great feature to embed Power Apps into your workspaces. The feature is available only in Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 8.0 and for targeted users who have opted in to the Continuous Auto-update Advantage Program (CAAP) for platform updates

Publish your PowerApp on web.powerapps.com to get an App ID that can be found on the details tab of the PowerApp.
Log into D365, and navigate to the form where you want to embed the PowerApp. Select the button to insert a PowerApp and enter in the App ID. The input data for the PowerApp allows the user to select the field to map to the application from the drop-down list. Click Insert
Use it!

PowerApps are purpose-built apps you can build specifically for your business. You can either save time by using the many predefined templates or build an app from through a simple, drag-and-drop user interface. No coding required!

Design and build a business app from a canvas in Microsoft PowerApps without writing code in a traditional programming language such as C#. Design the app by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas, just as you would design a slide in PowerPoint. Create Excel-like expressions for specifying logic and working with data. Build apps that integrate business data from a wide variety of Microsoft and third-party sources. Share your app so that users can run it in a browser or on a mobile device, and embed your app so that users can run it in SharePoint, Power BI, or Teams. If you don’t need a custom design and your data is in Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps, you can automatically generate a model-driven app from your business data and processes. This type of app can model forms, views, and other components, and the default UI automatically adjusts to phones, laptops, and other devices.

To capture data in a form, perform or for look-up data records, or scan barcodes, record GPS coordinates, get driving directions, capture a signature or route a document for approval all as part of a workflow, form your mobile devices use Power Apps.

Couple PowerApps with Microsoft Flow, to trigger Dynamics applications ( 200+ solutions are available already to natively connects with Flow )

Use Flow, to create end-to-end business processes that span multiple applications, while sending email notifications or approval requests to all interested internal or external parties .

Employees can access these PowerApps from any mobile device (iOS, Android, other) or fuse a webpage front end (HTML5).

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/fin-and-ops/get-started/embed-power-apps

TSB upgrade – what lessons are there to learn?.

May 5th, 2018

By now most of us have heard about the catastrophic attempt by the Spanish-owned TSB to introduce a new IT platform for their UK customers.
As my first mortgage was with the TSB many years ago, and I was also in the U.K. when the story broke I took a little more interest.

TSB, (Trustee Savings Bank), merged with and was spun out of Lloyds Bank after the EU ruled that it was a monopoly, because of the state aid it had received at the time of the banking crisis. TSB used Lloyds IT at a cost of about £220 million a year, but later moved to the Proteo platform, also used by its new owners, Sabadell. The Proteo system design goes back to 2000 and was specifically for mergers, and was used for successful integration of the four Spanish banks.

Proteo is based on Accenture’s Cobol-based Alnova system, and is customized, installed and managed by TSBs staff and runs on Amazon Cloud.

At the launch of Proteo4UK, Paul Pester, CEO of TSB, boasted that they had “created a more digital, agile and flexible TSB”. Carlos Abarca, the CIO, agreed, “It’s the technology journey that we are on together with our customers!” Similar ‘digital transformation’ good news messages from cloud providers are all too familiar.

This was to be “customer-centric by design” platform to “enable the open banking revolution”.

Well there was a revolution alright – from the locking nearly two million banking customers out of their accounts for up to ten days.

This was over a month-end, when businesses rely more heavily on access to their accounts.

TSB turned to IBM, to help get the system under control and “to help identify and resolve performance issues in the platform”. This included customers : experiencing zero balances, incorrect currencies, massively inflated mortgage amounts, and e-mails saying that there are no records of recent direct debits. IBank customers puzzled over on-screen messages, such as: ‘BeanCreationNotAllowedException exception: Error creating bean with name ‘contextManagerPostController’: Singleton bean creation not allowed while the singletons of this factory are in destruction (Do not request a bean from a BeanFactory in a destroy method implementation!)’

Customers who tried to make transfers got errors like: ‘ArrayIndexOutofBounds’ and java.lang.NullPointer and some Branches reported the systems spewing out error messages in Spanish. When I travelled back form U.K. early May, problems with internet banking wee still being reported by customers.

Instead of saving TSB over £100 million a year, this has greatly reduced public confidence in the bank but also in other banks and other financial services on the cloud generally. TSB are likely to be fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is the last thing they need to get things sorted – the loss in reputation alone is huge.

Supporters of Peter Pester believe he is being scapegoated for tech disaster:
• Allies said he has been ‘betrayed’ by a ‘bunch of Spanish numpties’
• Software that caused the problems was installed by Sabadell’s technology offshoot, Sabis
• Regulators could put TSB under a Section 166 probe – a formal investigation by an independent expert

What are the lessons?
Well, the first is not to claim success until the job is done. ( A damning report on the Guardian website suggests there were plenty of warning signs, up to a year before this all happened. Quoting an anonymous insider, the report explains how a mixture of poor technical and business decisions led to the eventual crises TSB finds itself in today.)

Which leads to the second lesson- bearers of bad news may have appoint to consider and is a hint at least the challenge needs more attention.

It seems Sabadell, the company that bought TSB, was warned about the high risk of its migration plans, which were seen by some as having too short a deadline and not big enough a budget. But Sabadell was not to be discouraged, and it pressed ahead with its plans, confident that it could successfully transfer TSB customers to its own Proteo software, as it had done with other customers in the past.

If you are doing some thing big and complicated consider the worst case and what that means for: insurance, contingency plans, contractual and legal protection, (so far none of the original contractors on the TSB redesign and upgrade have acknowledged any culpability) and PR mitigation:

PR week called it the flop of the month …….. and recipe for reputational disaster. Pester is well respected in the industry, but took too long to accept responsibility, was too quick to assume the problem was over, and too slow to appease customers. Easy to say from an armchair in Dubai but why do corporate leaders fail to heed the lessons of the past and to recognise the potential for disaster and that that when disaster arrives the only way to avoid reputational damage is to offer maximum compensation and care and to call in reinforcements asap.
Sabis is understood to have given TSB a written assurance that the parts of the system for which they were responsible had been comprehensively tested- maybe TSB needed to be more involved in those tests.

Microsoft to retire ACS today for Ax 2012 – last chance to ask to be whitelisted

May 1st, 2018

Microsoft announcement: “Microsoft does have a future roadmap that will migrate ACS to SAS. Application updates will be released before the support of ACS is depreciated. Until then, Azure support will continue to support new AX 2012 customers with their whitelisting process. The whitelisting process will end May 1st, 2018
Microsoft is retiring Access Control Services used in AX 2012 to configure the Azure Service bus, AD Federation Services and enable Workflow approval by email feature.

Until 7 November2018, all other ACS functionality will continue to work. This includes:
- the ACS secure token service,
- the ACS management service,
- the ACS token transformation engine.

After 7 November 2018 , all ACS service and functionality will be shut down. So by this date ensure that all traffic is migrated off Access Control Service to other technology.”

What you need to do now:

If you use this functionality you need to be whitelisted by May 1, 2018 i.e. today – and to plan on getting migrated to SAS by November 7th, 2018.

A typical use case involving ACS is ‘Workflow Approval by Email’.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/develop/active-directory-acs-migration https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/time-to-migrate-off-access-control-service/

If you miss the deadline, services that will be dysfunctional are:
1.Workflow approval via email
2.Expense App

Raise a support ticket to alert Microsoft:

Hello there,

We have an Azure service bus with type “ACS Namespace” and it is the only way the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Workflow via Email functionality work.

Create a Support ticket on these lines:

” Microsoft has a future roadmap; that will migrate ACS to SAS but for now, we do not have another option to make the SAS Service bus work. Please whitelist my subscription, so it doesn’t get decommissioned after May 1st, 2018.

Subscription Id: