Thursday, February 21, 2013

MVP Summit 2013 in Seattle

This week marks the 2013 MVP Global Summit in Bellevue & Redmond, Washington. Unfortunately, I cannot be at every event (?), but it's good to know that a few fellow Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs have made the trip.

Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs at the MVP Global Summit
From left to right: Leslie Vail, Belinda Allen, John Lowther, and Mark Polino

My personal take... until the MVP Global Summit begins featuring Dynamics GP content, it will be hard for me to justify making the yearly trip. However, that's not to say I won't appreciate meeting other MVPs or knowing what's going on with other products such as Office, SQL Server, or SharePoint.

See you all at Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 New Orleans!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Monday, February 18, 2013

GPUG Georgia Regional Chapter Meet Up

I did not want this to pass me by.

Last Tuesday, February 12, 2013, I had the opportunity to participate as a guest speaker at the GPUG Georgia Regional Chapter meeting, hosted at Prosys Information Systems, a Microsoft Dynamics GP customer.

Our chapter meeting had two topics being discussed for the day:
  • Advanced Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics GP. This first topic was very exciting and was conducted by Dwight Specht, COO of IBIS, Inc. Dwight demonstrated the power of Analysis Cubes for Microsoft Dynamics GP and showed how Excel can be leveraged as a client to interact with these.

  • Where to Go for Answers? I championed this topic and explored some of the options for finding information within the Microsoft Dynamics GP community with all attendees. We had a great deal of discussion around the use of social media from a corporate and personal perspective and how it can be leveraged as a tool for building your professional network and obtaining support.
All in all, it was an exciting afternoon and attendees had a chance to interact with the presenters and discuss how they are taking advantage of analytics and social media in their organizations. I can't wait for next quarter's meeting.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

OLE Notes and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client

In the past years, I have written extensively about Microsoft Dynamics GP OLE Notes and the Dexterity OLE Container application, in the hopes of finding a way to extract the Container documents and links (unsuccessfully so far) as a result of several issues I have encountered in the past with customers attempting to migrate their notes to a different server, see:

All about the Dexterity OLE Container
All About Dexterity OLE Container - Follow Up

My good friend David Musgrave has also written a couple articles on the subject of record notes in two articles as well, see:

Understanding Notes and the Note Index field
OLE Attachments and Record Notes

Now with the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client, a new challenge is presented around the use of OLE Notes: the OLE Container cannot be exposed to the Silverlight application.

The Dexterity OLE Container, from past articles, is a 32-bit C++ application and as such, calls to the paperclip attachment button made from the Silverlight application will launch the Container in the Silverlight application - that is expected.

Let's take the following sequence of events, where an OLE attachment is added to an item number in the rich client environment. The attachment and all the behavior we expect occur normally and we get an indicator of an attachment being present.

Rich Client with OLE Container Note
Under the web client, you will still get an indicator of the record note being present, along with the "OLE Link present." message, but will not be able to access the OLE attachment as there's no paperclip button - and by definition, you cannot load a Win32 program from within a Silverlight application front-end - again, this expected.

Web Client displaying attachment present, but no paperclip button

Upon closing the note window, the note indicator disappears for the record being displayed, conveying the impression that there's no record note attached.

Web Client no longer shows an attachment being present

But back in the rich client, if you retrieve the record once more, the "OLE Link present." message is restored and the OLE attachment is certainly present.

Rich client still shows attachment and re-adds the "OLE Link present" text.

In summary, it seems this is just a behavior you will experience on the Web Client, but rest assured that your notes and attachments are still there, just the visual cue is not updating properly upon closing the note window under Web Client. I am sure the good folks in the Microsoft Dynamics GP Development team are already looking into this.

Now, since you are not able to use the Dexterity OLE Container in the Silverlight application, the alternative is to - perhaps - slowly but surely migrate your notes to the more robust Document Attachment feature. I will talk more about this in my next installment and will also compare it to your traditional Dexterity OLE Container notes.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Training in Atlanta (Continued)

This is the last article in this series and I have to say with it comes the end of a fabulous 5-day training course on Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client. The first 2 days of this event were solely focused on the functional aspects of the Web Client implementation - everything that happens after the GP logon window is presented to the end user.

The last 3 days of the course - USWK019 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client for the Implementation Consultant Workshop - were a full deep dive into the nitty gritty aspects of the Web Client from a technical implementation standpoint - everything leading up to the GP login window. I think I learned more about certificates, network load balances, firewalls, and a number of other underlying stack elements than I ever wanted to know about in just these 3 days. However, this is what the new brave world brings to bear.

These 3 days brought almost 25 consultants together in one room - some of the top guys in the business. Frankly, we had a great time and carried all the labs out with enthusiasm and lots of questions for Jason and Lucas. There was a moment during the labs where Lucas was shadowing every machine in the environment, troubleshooting a multi-machine Web Client installation.

Lucas Miller working his way through the implementation labs

I have to say that after 5 grueling days, it was time to get some rest from it all. Nonetheless, the content of the classes were great, the material was superb, and the instructors were fabulous. I appreciate the opportunity to meet so many cool folks in the industry and hope to see everyone soon at Convergence 2013 New Orleans.

Side note: In the Microsoft Dynamics GP development world we have a series of principles and best practices, collectively known as the "Musgravion Doctrines". Similarly, in the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client world, there a number of specific terms and particulars, collectively known as "Aaronisms". Any misuse of a term or incorrect reference within the context of your cursory explanation or write up can earn you a follow up email as a result - Aaron Donat, smile! Just messing with you.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client Training in Atlanta

It's been a couple of exciting days here in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I have attended the USWK018 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client for the Functional Consultant Workshop for partners and it's been a blast learning more and more about the Web Client. The truth is, I cannot get enough. The more I learn about Web Client, the more I realize how much stuff there is still left to be learned. We had 12 individuals in attendance from various parts of the country,  representing over 5 partner organizations.

Partners at the Web Client Training
From left to right (front): Jason Lech (Microsoft), Lucas Miller (Microsoft), Tonya Boyce (ACE Microtech), Lynn Hedgepeth (OmniVue), Ted Mauldin (IntellPartners)
Back: Chuck Boyles (IntellPartners), Tony Fernandez (OmniVue)
This fun 2-day class provides functional consultants the opportunity to understand what the GP Web Client is, how it functions, the necessarily security requirements and how to properly and effectively troubleshoot GP 2013 on Web Client. If your responsibility is to work daily on customer issues/problems, assist with changes in business processes or to deliver technical demonstrations during the sales cycle with new prospects, attending this course will enable you to better troubleshoot the GP Web Client as well as, explain what the GP Web Client can/can't do for your customer. This class will cover some technology components. Believe it or not, there's still plenty of technology a functional consultant must now deal with, but with the right tools and knowledge troubleshooting any Web Client issues should be a routine effort.

Not to scare you, but if you are not taking advantage of the partner training classes scheduled near you, you are missing out on a great opportunity to go it one-on-one with some of the top Microsoft Dynamics GP Escalation Engineers in the business. Partners in attendance here in Atlanta were fortunate to count with Jason Lech and Lucas Miller as instructors.

This 2-day class has come to an end, but we are immediately diving into a 3-day Technical Consultant track - USWK019 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client for the Implementation Consultant Workshop - This course will enable Implementation Consultants to understand and identify the different Web Client deployment options for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013, the deployed components/services and how they function together, the installation options, tenant services/tenant management and troubleshooting techniques. The course will include examination of technologies such as certificates, firewall/IP port configurations, extranet/intranet deployment scenarios and load Balancing techniques. In summary, all the fun stuff!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Wrap Up

It's been fun trying to get Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client to run on Azure. The bottom line is Windows Azure offers a very compelling deployment case for organizations running their applications (SaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) in the cloud.

While many Azure platform features are still in Preview mode, I can say unequivocally that what's there works very well - too well, indeed. I had a few hiccups and I had to drop and recreate some VMs a few times, but I attribute that to the fact that I wasn't too aware of some of the feature settings. Also, a great deal had to do with the fact that my environment was running in free trial mode.

I also found that VMs tend to be a bit undersized on Azure. For example, a "Large" VM is 4 cores + 7GB in ram, which leads me to believe that the Azure platform is more geared towards lightweight applications than heavy, user-driven, business applications. Maybe I am making the wrong assumption here, but a decent size Dynamics GP deployment, involving 50+ users, may need up to 4 web servers and 4 session hosts to minimize any performance impact due to high user volume versus provisioned hardware capabilities.

Overall, the installation of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client wasn't without its head scratching moments. For example, certificates need to be switched to server public DNS names. While I got the Web Client up and running with the private DNS names, making the switch to public DNS for the certificates proved to be a task requiring reinstallation of the Session Service portion of the web client on the session host machine - changing the certificate for the IIS web site proved fairly simple.

Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun working on this "mini-project" so I leave you with a link to each of the articles I wrote on the subject:

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Subscription Process
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Provisioning Process
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: The Deployment Process

In closing notes, Azure provides a serious deployment option for middle market organizations looking for a serious infrastructure hosting partner. The deployment procedures for Microsoft Dynamics GP are no different than those for an on-premise or hosted network, however proper security planning goes a long way to ensure your financial data is highly secure. Still, more documentation on the Azure installation process is required, and I know it is being worked on as I type.

A big thank you goes out to Daryl Anderson, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft for all his guidance and assistance troubleshooting some of the difficulties I experienced during this effort. Daryl continues to work tirelessly to document the entire implementation process.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC