Suggestions for Navision Server-configuration

Nav123: Navision, Showare, OrderApp

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This example concept is particularly geared towards simple maintenance and independent systems, so that future maintenance work is much more intuitive and easier. Virtualization, sensible device names and independent services are the focus; IT by Sneaker (walking to a specific device) is not a viable future model, especially in a networked landscape.

Please also keep in mind the concept of a simple, easy-to-learn and use Navision. In 25 years I have come across many twisted and unnecessarily complicated Navision. My basic rule: If it's not easy and fast, it's not Navision.

In my opinion, it doesn't make sense that a central application can only be kept alive with holy water and kid gloves. A healthy Navision on healthy hardware can live for several weeks/months without an admin and without a system house, which I always consider to be the goal of an installation.

(V) = Can also be virtualized, but does not have to be.
V should definitely be virtualized.
R can/may/should not be virtualized.

Minimalistic server configuration

Before we go straight to the optimal Server configuration: Not everyone needs this!! Maybe there is already an established server landscape that doesn't need to or shouldn't be changed at all, maybe just Navision Financials Dynamics / Business Central 365 should be integrated into it later... or your company is simply not big enough to do this. Investing “enormous sums” (which can be “reasonable” for a larger company) in server hardware. Therefore, here is a recommendation on how to install a fast (performant) navigation system for 1,000-3,000 euros. Why doesn't everyone do it that way? Read on to see why I recommend each of these servers in the Optimal Configurations below. There are definitely good reasons for this. But it's also easier:

PC/Server with 64 Gb RAM, 8 or more cores, Windows 11 Professional. A SQL server suitable for the Navision / Microsoft Business Central 365 version will be installed on this machine. The Navision Financials Dynamics / Microsoft Business Central 365 Service service also comes installed on this machine. When using native Navision, for example up to version 2009R2, 2005, 4.03 etc. (older than 4.03 does not run under current Windows environments, you have to trick with virtual PCs or flexible licenses etc.) I generally recommend that too native Navision – database server server.exe. Here, of course, the Navision service and the SQL server are completely eliminated. 8-12 Gb RAM and 4 cores are enough.
If this machine is also to host David or Exchange ("Outlook Mail"), for example, and possibly even the Windows domain server ("Active Directory") (running on the same machine), then use Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2022. Depending on the Navision version (this only applies to versions below Navision 2018/BC14), you may have to use a special version of SQL Server, which can then also affect the operating system selection! In addition, please pack 128Gb RAM into the box, and that's it.
Pure Classic Client Navision Server:
4 cores, 12 Gb RAM, Windows 11 Prof., 2 x 2 TB SSD's as hardware Raid 1.
Costs < 1.000 Euros.
Pure SQL/Navision Server only for Navision Financials Attain/ Microsoft Business Central 365:
8 or more cores, 64 Gb RAM, Windows 11 Prof. 4 x 2 TB SSD's as 2 x Hardware Raid 1:
1 x Raid1 with 2 x 2Tb SSD for operating system, file shares, data backup etc.,
1 x Raid1 with 2 x 2 TB SSD for Navision, transaction log, database.
Costs +/- around 1.000 Euros.
Small operating server with Exchange ("Outlook"), domain server ("Active Directory"), SQL & Navision
12 or more cores, 128 Gb RAM, Windows Server 2022, 6 x 2 TB SSDs as 2 x Hardware Raid 1:
1 x Raid1 with 2 x 2Tb SSD for operating system, printer services, file sharing etc.,
1 x Raid1 with 2 x 2 TB SSD for Navision, transaction log, database.
1 x Raid1 with 2 x 2 TB SSD for Exchange, data backup.
Costs +/- approx. 2.500 Euros.
It doesn't always have to be the 2TB SSD, a 1TB SSD is also sufficient for the pure OS, for example. But the difference in price is only a few euros, and you need at least 1 additional SSD for your spare parts store. The price advantage for a 1TB SSD is quickly lost if you have to keep 2 different spare SSDs in stock instead.

For backups, further file storage, possibly even for file storage in general, I recommend an inexpensive NAS with e.g. 3 magnetic hard disks á 16 Tb in a Raid5 network, which then provides cheap 32 Tb storage space: More than enough for small to medium-sized companies, and available for around1.200 Euros . Data backups can also be made securely and offline with good (!) USB sticks or inexpensive mobile SSD hard disks.

But now back to the topic: you can do it the "right" way:

(V) Server MS-SQL database server

(4 processors, 16 Gb RAM, SSD) - Exclusively for productive Navision database. The database and transaction logs should each run on a logical SSD: maximum performance for little money. If the current SAN cannot provide SSDs, the use of a small exclusive NAS with iSCSI is an option here. Of course, the two logical drives should be redundant, e.g. equipped with RAID1.

(V) Server MS-SQL

Database server for test databases & archive databases. 2 processors, 8 Gb RAM. Normal inexpensive hard disks, but many. 2 or 4 Tb. Also significantly more = more versions. It may be a good idea to install this server on normal sheet metal (because of the inexpensive hard disks). Not much is written here and not much is read, so forest and meadow hard disks can be used in a Raid5 network, for example.
Reason for a lot of hard disk space: An executable copy of the productive database could be automatically stored on this system every night, 1 per day of the month = 31 copies. This would allow you to go back up to 31 days to the respective daily status at any time for test purposes (what did the program / customer / G/L account look like yesterday, the day before yesterday, on the 15th, last month? This could be extended so that a separate copy is also created for the first of each month. However, this could then only be opened when required (a Navision server service must be available for each accessible database).

(V)-Server Navision client services.

1 processor per 10 users, 2 Gb Ram per 10 users + operating system. This provides the Navision services for the Windows Navision clients. Rule of thumb: If the productive SQL Navision database server is virtualized, the corresponding Navision server should also be virtualized and vice versa.

(V)-Server Navision-Appserver.

2 processors, 1 Gb Ram + operating system) This processes the task queues. The advantage of placing this on a separate computer is that this machine can be restarted independently of the users in the event of problems. In smaller environments, you do not usually need this machine.

? (V)-Server Navision-Webclient with IIS.

1 processor per 10 users, 2 Gb Ram per 10 users + operating system This provides Navision as a web service IN THE HOUSE (including branch offices connected via VPN). This allows simple workstations to work with Navision completely without client installation. This also works via Linux (e.g. a simple, cheap Raspbian, simple fanless desktop computer) or tablets or Apple computers. Of course, you only need this server if you want to operate web clients in-house. From BC 15 there is only the web client anyway, with BC 14 both make sense, before BC 14 (i.e. Navision or Business Central) I only recommend the web client for very special tasks. Here, an RDP (remote desktop protocol) on a terminal server is far superior for 99% of the requirements!

? (V)-Server Navision SOAP.

2 processors, 1 Gb Ram + operating system) This is the access point e.g. for partners "from outside". This computer belongs in a DMZ. Here you should talk to the IT system house about whether it should be an extra VM system or extra hardware, or whether an extra virtual network should be set up on the normal HyperV. Of course, this computer only makes sense if you have intensive or external SOAP/RestAPI requests to your system.

? (V)-Server Navision-Webclient with IIS.

1 processor per 10 users, 2 Gb Ram per 10 users + operating system This is the access point e.g. for users "from outside". This computer belongs in a DMZ. Here you should talk to the hardware administrator about whether it should be an extra VM system or extra hardware, or whether an extra virtual network should be set up on the normal HyperV. Navision can be accessed worldwide via this device using a browser. As with the in-house devices, this can be a tablet, a simple desktop PC or any computer at a business partner's premises, which can then perform small tasks via very simple Navision masks. It may also be necessary to rethink the filter concept, which restricts users to certain data. 
Important basic idea: The Navision masks and processes must be so simple that no instructions or training are necessary. Incidentally, this is not a bad idea for Navision in general either!

I see a 2-stage security concept as necessary for this:
1) Certificate control: Only devices that have a certificate ("ID card") can access Navision (more precisely: the associated IIS web server).
2) In addition, the user must also enter a name and password in order to be accepted as a user by Navision itself.

Of course, you only need this computer if you want to allow third parties or "external" direct access to your Navision system, for example. Here too, you should consider an RDP/TS structure beforehand.

V-Server Domaincontroller.

(2 processors, 4 Gb Ram) The HyperV host is ideal for this, as it runs physically on hardware itself. In the past, the DC should never be virtualized, as HyperV is dependent on it. Microsoft no longer takes such a strict view. A virtualized primary DC (yes, the PDC still exists today!) that starts after the HyperV host is always good for surprises. Suggestion: A PDC on the virtual host, an SDC as a virtual machine.

(V) HyperV Host

which must already be there anyway, as it operates HyperV. This should not cover any services other than the primary domain controller and HyperV.

V Print server

Print servers often simply run on another server. However, the print server must be rebooted once in a while. For example, if a printer installation crashes. This also interrupts all other server services on the affected machine.
Take into account at the same time: Reasonable printer designations! In the example: Ks= Kassel, Vk = Verkauf, Sw=Söhrewald
“KsVkRechnung1OG” or “KsEmpfang” or “KsLagerbuero”, Even “KsMarion” is better than „KyoceraDS2000-1“.
Rule of thumb: You rarely need information on a specific printermodel. Even then, "Xerox23" is not very helpful if you have 23 Xerox printers in use. Then "SwLagerPZ" is certainly quicker to recognize as correct than "Oki300".

Scenario one: IT worker wants to finish a new PC for Ms. Müller. He needs the invoice printer, the warehouse printer in Frankfurt, the sticker printer in the warehouse office in Kassel, the delivery note printer in Düsseldorf and the laser printer in Mrs. Müller's office. How does he find the necessary printers faster? With HP12 or with KsLager?
Scenario two: Mrs. Meier from Frankfurt calls and says that her printer is not printing. How do you find this device faster in the print server? With "Lexmark DX2000-2" or with "FfmMeier"?

Recommendation for printer naming (and for the same reasons also for computer names!!!):
LocationAreaName, i.e.

In this way, the printers and PCs are automatically sorted by location and department.

If you already have a server infrastructure that is not so clean: The changeover on the PCs can be done gradually, e.g. every day or every week a PC could be given a sensible name and the printers on the PC could be reconnected at the same time. The old print server is only switched off when the last PC has been changed over. The same rules apply for the PCs as for the printer. Note: Statistically, a user is more likely to get a new computer than a computer is to get a new user. This means that employee names or telephone extensions are more useful computer / printer names than operating system versions or model names.

The Navision server service receives the new printers right from the start, e.g. for the WebClients. Here too, the PCs can be gradually migrated to the new Navision server; any number of Navision client servers can be operated in parallel.

In general, ALL printers should be network printers, there should be no printer that is connected directly to a PC (e.g. via USB) and is therefore dependent on it.


WindowsUpdateServer: Central update server to keep Microsoft products up to date in a controlled and verifiable manner (e.g. Office, Exchange, Windows, MS-SQL, but not yet Navision). The updates can be downloaded centrally via this server, which relieves the Internet connection itself. Decentralized WSUS servers could also do this for the branch offices, so that not every PC / every Microsoft update has to be squeezed individually via the Internet connection. Statistics show which computers with which programs are at which patch level. Updates can be reset or re-initiated. The WSUS is provided by Microsoft free of charge. The WSUS requires a lot of hard disk space (at least 300 GB should be used, preferably 500 GB), but this does not have to be expensive RAID storage.

? V RemoteAdminTool

Is there currently a centralized way to maintain computers remotely? This can start with a simple VNC on each client, for example, which can be used to perform maintenance tasks such as printer installations, releases etc. centrally without having to visit each computer in person. But of course you can also use professional products such as Solarwind or QuasarRAT, which can distribute entire software packages and facilities. My absolute favorite: Aagon. This can do everything you need.
Purpose: To manage computers centrally as described and not necessarily configure them personally on site. In combination with WOL (Wake up on LAN, a connection command via the network), maintenance work can be carried out much more efficiently. Related: Are printers currently at least distributed centrally via the domain policies? This has worked very well and simply via Windows itself for more than 10 years. Office and Navision can now also be distributed quite easily without having to click on "Setup.exe" again and again.

The number of processors and the amount of RAM certainly seem very tight to many Navision users. My experience: If this configuration is not sufficient, the programming/customization of Navision has been done poorly. Navision "in itself" is incredibly fast and resource-saving, the "soaking up" of hardware is always the fault of the programmers responsible.