I hate to say I told you so. One significant reason to move to the cloud for Dynamics GP.

I’ve read a lot of articles on how moving Dynamics GP to the cloud will effect the Dynamics community. I’ve also read a post about how a cloud approach affects partners.

Let me share an experience that happened today to discuss a significant reason on why Dynamics GP customers should consider moving to a cloud deployment.

A client called in and stated she had no GL account information in her system.

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I’ve seen it where security has made it so you can’t see any GL accounts so I ran with the normal troubleshooting steps to resolve that issue. Nothing worked. I queried the GL00100 table and sure enough nothing was in the account master table.

No sweat. Let’s restore from a backup from last night. The accountant was completely confident in her IT team as she confirmed just a few short weeks ago all backups were being preformed and all data was secure. She did this as I had mentioned the option of moving to the cloud as a way to minimize risk with botched backups. I specifically said “I’ve seen it time and time again. Something happens and you need to restore your company database. You go to your IT team and there is no backups being done so you loose several months worth of data.”

I received a call a few minutes later from a panicked IT manager stating no backups have been done since November 29th, 2011. That’s five months ago. The SQL backups had been failing and they had been backing up the same file for five months. They are using SQL Express so the notification of failed backups are non existent.

After restoring the database to a test company with the files they provided we discovered the backup was actually from November 4th, 2011 which just so happen to be before their year end close and all their audit adjustments were entered, six months ago. We also verified the other 5 companies they have had not been being backed up as well.

Without a backup we are left trying to figure out what happened and determine how to resolve. Come to find out the accounting manager mistakenly used the clear data option instead of the check links function on all the financial tables in GP. We are now in the process of recreating all GL tables and CM tables back to November 4th, 2011. But the GL information will have to be recreated from that point on by running posting reports from all sub modules and GL entries being re-entered. There just so happens to have been quite a bit of activity done in this company since November (approximately 10 million in sales). This would have been no big deal with a valid backup in place.

How would moving to the cloud fix a situation like this? Backups are monitored and verified. Every Monday our hosting company (RoseASP) randomly takes a backup of an existing customer and restores it to a test company. The backup is verified and the customer can go in and verify the data as well. The hosting company is interested and concerned about each customers backup plan and goes through several steps to ensure there is a disaster plan in place.

It is now 1 am in the morning and I have been working on fixing this mess since 11 am yesterday morning. There is a lot of data and the insert scripts take a long time and there is no DTS tool with SQL Express. I have copied over each table with an insert script for each GL and CM table individually. I guess I’m in part writing this post because I’m grumpy and I feel like saying “I told you so.”

One good thing has come about this situation. The client is now sold on moving to the cloud. They should be moved over by next week.

8 Responses to “I hate to say I told you so. One significant reason to move to the cloud for Dynamics GP.”

  • Francisco Hillyer:

    Life lessons… What can I say “If i knew it was going to take that much time, I should have looked a way to script the data transfer”

    Good thing is that you have it working now!!

  • Wow, what a story, but we hear one every year. As an accountant I really feel for these people because I know the pain and suffering they are going through. Hopefully for those who read this, at a minimum they will go and check their backups at least monthly to make sure they are actually happening.

  • Beat Bucher:

    I don’t know the size of that customer, but non serious partner would ever have installed GP over an SQL Express installation… That’s just too dumb ! There is no question about cloud or not cloud, it’s all about having a serious partner that takes care about his customer. It’s not that don’t believe in cloud computing, but ERP enterprise data is just too sensitive data to be placed in the hands of someone else. As with everything in IT, a DR plan should be part of the basic business best practice for every company, no matter the size. There is no excuse for not having a DR plan in place and have it tested at least once or twice a year to see if it still complies with the reality of the day-to-day business. I recently went thru such an excercise for our Dynamics GP server and there we realized that there was no system state backup for the server… SQL database backups were all OK, but that meant that I had to rebuild a new server from scratch with a new SQL installation and then restore the entire Dynamics & company databases. The whole thing took about 4-6 hours, but heck it was all there and the data was accurate. I’m sorry for Doug having to do all the data insertion manually, but maybe it will at least make him create a few good scripts :-) . RT @Linda : I check my backups every morning, not monthly ! I can take any backup from every day and restore it to a TEST company and make sure the data is there and valid… My SQL server sends me every morning a formated report by e-mail about the backup status for every DB. I got one for every SQL server I manage…
    Make your life easier and enjoy it.

  • I would pay you $10 Beat if you can say in the last week you actually took one of your backups and moved it over to a test company solely for the purpose of testing your backup. (Be honest now)

    If you have I applaud you. I would guess in the whole dynamics community in the past week not more than 5 GP users have tested a backup.

    Maybe I’m just too sarcastic and jaded on my opinion of most IT departments but I have seen too many times the scenario above where everyone believes they have functioning backups but when it comes down to it they don’t.

    Don’t get me wrong. Most people do have backup plans in place and they are working. But somehow when you need the backups most that is the time there was a glich and they aren’t available for the time needed.

    Just my grumpy followup comments.

  • IT department said “SQL Backups failed so they backed up same file” is sheer dumb thing to do, no offense. And they were using SQL Express edition for production data? That’s dumb thing #2. I agree with Beat on these two points. And I consider this case as a non-regular one.

    Yes, worldwide, you can count people who do their backups regularly and religiously. I can proudly say that I am one in that breed.

    My backup plan, as approved by our IT department, is simple:

    1. Schedule a daily FULL backup.
    2. Preserve at least 3 days’ backup files.
    3. Restore production backup onto test company, at least on a weekly basis, to test and understand the issues involved in production backups.
    4. Always take backups before and after any critical process, such as YE or IV Reconciliation.
    5. Move all backups that can be archived to a mass storage device, for future references.

    Just wanted to share with you on how I tackle and manage my own GP environment as a GP Administrator.

    I am not against cloud, as it may seem. I am all for it. But for ERP, I would certainly recommend either a Private Cloud or Hybrid. Certainly not a Public Cloud.

  • I keep shaking my head as to how I got involved with this one.

    This customer started with Small Business Financials thus the MSDE/sql express install. I’m not sure why they are still on it but I have to say I was surprised when I went to look for DTS and realized it was SQL Express. Nothing is ever easy with some clients.

    I agree with everything that has been said except for one thing. I don’t think this is a non-regular case. In the past year I’ve had probably 5 cases come my way that if a backup was available torture and torment, gnashing of teeth, crying, depression and dismay (you get the picture) could have been completly side stepped.

    Thanks for sharing your backup and testing steps Vaidy. Those steps are what every IT administrator should do.

  • Agreed that way too many people don’t know that there backups work. I argue that risk management belongs in accounting so there is absolutely a responsibility for accounting to test backups. Having said, I’m working with a company now that not only does daily full backups, they restore production to test every day to have an up to date test environment so there are people out there doing it right.

    Also, no one has mentioned that security should have been setup to prevent clear data. A little security goes a long way too.

    Mark

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