>Pre-Conference Day 2 – Fine tuning presentations

February 28, 2011

>February 27, 2011. Pre-Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference Day 2 – Fine tuning Presentations.

This is a series of articles leading up to the actual Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011 event. The goal is to keep you informed of some of the developments leading up to the Conference and also provide you with a “behind the scenes” view of our work and activities.


After a long dinner evening the previous day, the real work began today. The morning started with a hearty breakfast at Basie’s Restaurant located inside the Ramada Plaza hotel, where we are all staying – frankly, I have avoided going outside since I got to the hotel and hope to do so ONLY when absolutely necessary.

Once we finished having breakfast, we returned to our rooms to grab our laptops and sit at a table next to the bar area downstairs. First up was our Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization session fine tuning. David will be in charge of presenting the Dexterity and Modifier with VBA portions of the presentation and I will be in charge of the Visual Studio Tools portion. We need to address the presentation flow, timing, and the actual code development which will be shown live – for the first time ever!

David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez

But life’s never perfect and always has plans of its own. David (shown above smiling ONLY for the picture) had his own computer problems to deal with as he seem to believe that Dynamics GP 2010 SP1 was missing constant resources in the dictionary (Dynamics.dic). Given this, he could not compile the scripts that were a part of the Dexterity demo… troubleshooting this issue began around 1:00 PM CST.

Upon several maneuvers, David was about to push his computer off the table. This is when the rest of us realized the severity of the problem, given the fact that he had already spent 3 hours attempting to fix the issue, only to compound the problem even more — Object Reference not set anyone? Look for David’s post detailing the problems he ran into and resolution.

After some 4 hours of absolute frustration, stress, sweats, swearing, and the occasional nervous laughing, David Eichner walked in and began providing his own set of ideas on how to troubleshoot the issue. Picture this: 2 MVPs, 1 Escalation Engineer, and a very savvy Microsoft Partner/ISV all on one table, around 1 computer… how much lost revenue!

The bottom line, and after 5 hours troubleshooting this [David] issue, the day was over for everyone. Tired, battered, and beaten up by David’s computer, off we went to get some dinner. Now this time, I could use some fresh air, but would not walk far away from the hotel to get food — it was -3 degrees last night! We went to the Granite City across the street from the hotel. I got to see my beloved Miami Heat get their butts kicked by the New York Knicks in the last couple minutes of the game, all while savoring a good micro brew and having a good dose of Australian humor at the table.
At Granite City, from left to right: David Musgrave, David Eichner, Leslie Vail, Mariano Gomez
It was the general consensus after dinner that we MUST all get an early night and hope that none of the day’s issues repeated the following, since we now had work to catch up with and another presentation to fine-tune. Tomorrow also marks the first day we would have a chance to go to the Microsoft Campus for tech check. For now, the rest is well deserved.
Until next post!
MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/

>Pre-Conference Day 1 – Getting here

February 28, 2011

>February 26, 2011. Pre-Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference Day 1 – Getting here.

This is a series of articles leading up to the actual Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011 event. The goal is to keep you informed of some of the developments leading up to the Conference and also provide you with a “behind the scenes” view of our work and activities.


While flying from Atlanta to Fargo is not quite as adventurous as flying from Perth, Australia, there are a few things you quickly realize, especially this time of the year: a) the 80-degree shift in temperature between the two cities (Atlanta and Fargo) as a result of the still lingering winter weather, and b) perhaps most captivating, the vastness of the upper Midwest United States.

Approaching Minneapolis, Minnesota, you could observe people ice fishing, a practice that has been carried out since the early days of the Midwest colonization. The State of Minnesota is nicknamed Land of 10,000 lakes.

Approaching Minneapolis, MN

The following picture shows a suburban community close to the airport.

Approaching Minneapolis, MN

The weather also served as a reminder of how unforgiven nature can be in these latitudes. Before taking off for Fargo, it was necessary to deice the aircraft, as it had been sitting for a long time on the tarmac with a “weight unbalance” issue as the captain had announced. This made leaving Minneapolis an a bit of an ordeal.

Deicing Truck – window covered in deicing fluid (Ethylene Glycol)

Once the aircraft left Minneapolis, after spending a good 1 hour on the deicing pad, Fargo was just 500 miles closer. Approaching Fargo is always one of those surreal moments. In contrast with neighboring, densely populated Minneapolis, there are extensions and extensions of land where you could count a farm or couple houses at a time, before you see the next patch of houses.

Approaching Fargo, ND

Closer to the airport, there are sparse neighborhoods in middle of the open plain.

Approaching Fargo, ND

Fargo’s Hector International Airport airport offers a number of curiosities, including recreational vehicles close to the baggage area. These in particular seem to be able to trek any heavily snowed terrain, which would make them very fun for this time of the year — here anyways.


Recreational Vehicles at Baggage Claim area at Hector International Airport (FAR)

Upon arriving to the Ramada Plaza hotel, I met up with David Musgrave and exchanged presents. Later on, fellow MVP, Leslie Vail checked in and the band was finally together again for another run at the Tech Conference. After a few laughs and ol’ time catch up, we decided to go for dinner where we met up with David Eichner from ICAN Software. We spent a good time talking about the forbidden topics of religion, politics, and evolution.

MVP Leslie Vail

David Eichner (ICAN Software) and MVP Leslie Vail

Tomorrow will bring another day and the work to fine-tune our presentations will begin.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/


>Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011 – Quick Reminder!

February 23, 2011

>

The Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011 is upon us! David and I have an arsenal of information prepared for those of you who are newcomers to the Technical Conference. We wanted to focus our attention in building up the base of future Microsoft Dynamics GP developers and ensure our legacy…ok, maybe I am getting carried away here!

If you are going to attend the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference in lovely Fargo, North Dakota, please come to our sessions. We promise to make them fun! Also, who said you can’t have fun in Fargo? Superstar rapper Nelly will be at the Scheels Arena on Thursday, March 3, and yes, I will be attending with a bunch of Softies.

This a reminder of the sessions David and I will be presenting:

Development Troubleshooting with the Support Debugging Tool
Presenters: David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez, MVP

Following the success of this session at Convergence Atlanta 2010, David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez return to the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference with a number of advanced features included in the now popular Support Debugging Tool. Learn how to debug and trace your customizations, build temporary fixes, and troubleshoot development issues and problems with dictionaries. Discover some of the tricks used by the Microsoft Developer Support team. Presenters will demonstrate real life scenarios and work through their resolutions.

Topics:

– Manual Logging Mode
– Advanced Debugger Mode
– Dictionary Control
– Scripting and Triggers
– SQL Execute and Runtime Execute features
– Exporting and Importing fixes

Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics GP Customization Tools

Presenters: David Musgrave and Mariano Gomez, MVP

New to Microsoft Dynamics GP? Welcome to this jam packed session where Microsoft’s David Musgrave and MVP Mariano Gomez will walk you through the different customization tools available to address your next project. If you have plans for a Microsoft Dynamics GP customization, but you don’t know where to start and are skeptical about future upgrade issues, then this session is for you. Gain some introductory knowledge of Modifier and Report Writer with Visual Basic for Applications, Dexterity and Visual Studio Tools with two of the leading Community experts, who will contrast the tools and help you sort through the complicated terminology, to bring you a clear picture of the choices available for your next project.

Topics:

– Where to start?
– Modifier and Report Writer with Visual Basic for Applications
– Dexterity
– Visual Studio Tools
– Resources


Just a note on this last session… in previous years we focused our attention on the experienced to advanced developer. This time around, if you are just getting acquainted with Microsoft Dynamics GP development, we want you to start out on the right foot without the frustrations, so please attend our session and save yourself the headache of figuring this thing out on your own.

Register for the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011, in the always beautiful Fargo, North Dakota, here.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
Maximum Global Business, LLC
http://www.maximumglobalbusiness.com/


>Online Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP, what’s the point?

February 18, 2011

>Just in time for the weekend…

My new IMHO with The Dynamics GP Blogster column is out. This time, I tackle the new Online Payment Services module, made recently available with Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 SP5 and Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 SP1 — and got direct input from my buddies over at Microsoft.

If you want to know more about Online Payment Services and the reason why it was created take a look at the article.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/


>Microsoft SQL Server performance boosting settings for Microsoft Dynamics GP – Part 1

February 17, 2011

>Part 1 of 2 – Microsoft SQL Server performance boosting settings for Microsoft Dynamics GP.


Disclaimer: this is not a “one-size-fits-all” recipe for improving Microsoft SQL Server performance and you will hear me say numerous times that you must consult with your Microsoft SQL Server administrator to understand how these settings may (or may not) apply to your environment.

In addition, I have recommended (and implemented) some of these changes in different customer environments on a case by case basis, but have never had to make them all at the same time, so please don’t take this as a “Mariano said I must make all these changes to have my Microsoft Dynamics GP SQL Server fly” message. To the contrary, this post is intended to present some settings that may contribute to improve SQL Server performance, based on your specific environment. So here is my list:

Minimum memory per query
Increasing the value of this option can improve the performance of queries that use hashing or sorting operations, like those find in SmartList and SmartList Builder. Also, most table auto generated stored procedures — the stored procedures prefixed with zDP, see David Musgrave’s article, What do the zDP_ Auto Generated Stored Procedures do?, for more information– will benefit from this change if your SQL Server has a lot of memory available and there are many queries running concurrently on the server.


Server Properties | Memory



SQL Server will automatically allocate, at a minimum, the amount of memory set in this configuration setting. The default value for this option is 1024 KB.

Network Packet Size
Use the network packet size option to set the packet size (in bytes) used across the entire network. Packets are the fixed-size chunks of data that transfer requests and results between clients and servers. If an application does bulk copy operations, or sends or receives large amounts of text data, a packet size larger than the default may improve efficiency because it results in fewer network reads and writes. If an application sends and receives small amounts of information, you can set the packet size to 512 bytes, which is sufficient for most data transfers.


Server Properties | Network Packet Size


The default packet size set by Microsoft SQL Server is 4096 bytes. Microsoft does not recommend changing the packet size unless you are certain that it will improve performance.

Default Index Fill Factor
The Default Index Fill Factor option specifies how full each index page will become. When there is no free space to insert new row on the index page, SQL Server will create new index page and transfer some rows from the previous page to the new one. This operation is called page splits. You can reduce the number of page splits by setting the appropriate fill factor option to reserve free space on each index page.

Server Properties | Database Settings

The fill factor is a value from 1 through 100 that specifies the percentage of the index page to be left empty. The default value for fill factor is 0. It is treated similarly to a fill factor value of 100, the difference in that SQL Server leaves some space within the upper level of the index tree for FILLFACTOR = 0. The fill factor percentage is used only at the time the index is created. If the table contains read-only data (or data that very rarely changed, for example like Master tables), you can set the ‘fill factor’ option to 100. When the table’s data modified very often, for example like MRP tables or SOP and GL transaction tables, you can decrease the ‘fill factor’ option to 70 percent, for example.

Recovery Interval
The ‘Recovery Interval’ option specifies the maximum number of minutes per database that SQL Server needs to complete its recovery procedures. The default value of this option is 0. It means that SQL Server will automatically configure this option. SQL Server issues a checkpoint using the ‘Recovery Interval’ option. Microsoft does not recommend changing this option in general case, but sometimes you can improve performance by changing this option. You can monitor disk-write activity on the data files, and if you see periodic spikes that send disk utilization to 100 percent, you can increase the recovery interval. In this case, Microsoft suggests setting the ‘Recovery Interval’ option to 5 and continuing monitoring.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/


>Why shouldn’t I shrink my Microsoft Dynamics GP databases?

February 13, 2011

>A client recently approached me with the question of whether they should shrink their Microsoft Dynamics GP databases to reclaim hard disk space, but instead of telling you what I think, I will demonstrate some of the issues arising from shrinking your databases:

Now to what I think…I have never been a big fan of shrinking databases to reclaim hard disk space — though, if you are running a dev environment where space is critical, then this may only be the one time. The problem arises from the way the shrink process occurs, and applies to DBCC SHRINKFILE, DBCC SHRINKDATABASE and the Auto Shrink setting in the database properties.

In summary, SQL Server goes to the end of a dabatabase file, picks up each individual page, then moves them to the first available empty space in the file. This process may reverse the order of your pages, turning perfectly defragmented indexes into perfectly fragmented ones.

So, let’s take a look with a test database in one of my client’s environments:

1. The first thing we will do is take a look at the stats on the GL00100 table by running the Microsoft SQL Server sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats function:

-- Created by Mariano Gomez, MVP
-- This code is licensed under the Creative Commons
-- Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic license.
SELECT * FROM sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats
(DB_ID(N'TWO'), OBJECT_ID(N'dbo.GL00100'), NULL, NULL , 'LIMITED');

The following are the results from those stats:

Original database stats

 Now, in particular, I have highlighted the Average Fragmentation in Percent and the Average Fragment Size in Pages columns. Also, note that I have executed the function in ‘LIMITED’ mode, which combines information from all the columns that form part of each index. So, while these fragmentation levels would indicate low defragmentation rates — which is always desirable — it means there is still room for improvement. So, let’s see what happens after rebuilding the indexes on GL00100 for our test database, then rerunning the stats:

Stats after rebuilding indexes

As you can tell now, we have no fragmentation and our page size utilization went up – this is what we would expect after rebuilding indexes. So let’s see what happens when we run the shrink process on the database:

Stats after DBCC SHRINKDATABASE

You can now tell that perfectly defragmented indexes now appear fragmented and even to a higher degree than what we started out with. These levels of fragmentation can cause serious performance issues in a production envrionment where database maintenance procedures are not properly planned and executed.

If you must reclaim hard disk space in your Microsoft Dynamics GP environment, please consult with your database administrator, but also keep in mind that storage is dirt cheap.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/


>Maximum Global Business merges with IntellPartners, a Georgia based company

February 10, 2011

>

Dear reader,

The objective of this site has always been — and will continue to be — providing quality Microsoft Dynamics GP content you have come to rely on. Consequently, it’s been customary not to mix my personal affairs with what you read on this site. However, and in response to the numerous emails and calls I have received over the past week, some asking about the change in my signature, others congratulating the move, I feel the time has come to explain the change.

As you know, I was the founder and managing director of Maximum Global Business, a Microsoft partner providing software licensing and implementation services to the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem of partners and customers. This effort was a first in a list of entrepreneurial moves oriented to better service the needs of the community. Now, the time has come to move to the next level…

Maximum Global Business has merged with IntellPartners, an Atlanta, Georgia, USA based company with global market reach, to deliver strategic management and technology consulting services oriented to maximize the value proposition and go beyond the transactional nature of ERP implementations.

Get the full scoop over at MSDynamicsWorld:

Veteran Microsoft Dynamics Consultants Unite in New Push to Focus ERP Customers Beyond the Software Transaction

You will also be pleased to know that I have joined forces with fellow MVP Frank Hamelly in this new endeavor. You can read Frank’s stub below:

East Coast Dynamics merges with IntellPartners of Atlanta, GA USA

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.intellpartners.com/