NAV suggestion for a server configuration

Navision · Shopware · App

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This sample concept focuses on easy maintenance and independent systems for making future maintenance work much more intuitive and much easier. The focus here is on virtualization, meaningful device names and independent services and sneaker IT (walking to a certain device) is not a good model for the future for an interconnected IT landscape.

Please also keep in mind the concept of a Navision that is simple and easy to learn and operate. In my 25 years of experience, I have seen many twisted and unnecessarily complicated Navision setups. My rule of thumb that Navision is at its best when it is simple and fast.

To me, using a central application does not make any sense when you can only keep it running with constant maintenance. A healthy Navision based on healthy hardware will typically be able to make it for a few weeks/months without requiring an admin and also no intervention by a systems provider, which I always consider the objective of any installation.

Legend:
(V) = Can be virtualized easily, but does not have to.
V should absolutely be virtualized.
V  can/may/should not be virtualized.

1 (V) Server MS SQL database server (4 processors, 16 GB RAM, SSD) – Exclusively for a productive Navision database. The database and TransactionLogs should run on the respectively logical SSD: they offer the best possible performance at a low cost. If the current SAN does not offer SSDs, you could use a small exclusive NAS with iSCI. Of course, both logical drives should be equipped redundantly, e.g. with RAID1.

1 (V) Server MS SQL

Database server for test databases and archive databases. 2 processors, 8 GB RAM. Regular inexpensive hard disks, but lots of them. 2 or 4 TB. Adding more = more versions. It may also make sense to install these servers (thanks to inexpensive hard drives) on regular sheet metal. Not much is written or read onto or from these servers, so you can use generic hard disks, e.g. in a RAID 5 cluster.
The reason for having lots of available disk space is that an executable copy can be stored automatically in the productive database on this system. 1 per day of the month = 31 copies. So you could refer back to the respective daily status up to 31 days in the past at any time for testing purposes (what did the program, customer, or G/L account look like yesterday, the day before yesterday, or on the 15th of last month). This could be expanded by also filing a separate copy for the respective first day of the month. But this copy could only be opened as needed (a Navision server service must be available for every accessible database).

1 (V) Server Navision client services.  (1 processor for every 10 users, 2 GB RAM for every 10 users + operating system). The server provides the Navision services for the Windows Navision clients. Rule of thumb: When the productive SQL Navision database server is virtualized, the corresponding Navision server should be virtualized, and vice versa.

1 (V) Server Navision App Server. 2 processors, 1 GB RAM + operating system. This server processes the task queues.

1 (V) Server Navision Web Client with IIS.
(1 processor for every 10 users, 2 GB RAM for every 10 users + operating system). The server provides Navision as a web service IN-HOUSE (includes branch offices connected via VPN). This makes it possible for simple workstations to work with Navision without a client installation. This also works via Linux (e.g. with a cheap Raspbian or a simple fanless desktop computer) or tablets or Apple computers.

1 (V) Server Navision SOAP.
2 processors, 1 GB RAM + operating system. This access point is, for example, for partners who would like to access the server“from the outside.” This computer must be placed into a DMZ. In this case, you need to talk to the IT systems provider if you should use an extra VM system or extra hardware, or whether a virtual network should be set up on the normal HyperV.

1 (V) Server Navision Web Client with IIS.
(1 processor per 10 users, 2 GB RAM per 10 users). This access point, for example, is for partners “from the outside. This computer must be placed into a DMZ. In this case, you have to talk to the hardware consultant whether an extra VM system should be used, or additional hardware, or whether an additional network will be set up on the regular HyperV. This device can then be used to access Navision from anywhere in the world with a browser. Just like for the in-house devices, this can be a tablet, a simple desktop, or any computer of a business partner which then is able to complete small tasks using very simple Navision masks. You may have to rethink the filter concept you are using to restrict users in order to implement this solution. 
The important idea behind this is that Navision masks and processes must be so simple that they do not require any instructions or training. But that is also not a bad idea for Navision in general, by the way.


In my opinion, you need a 2-step security concept for this purpose:
1) Certificate control: Only devices that have a certificate (“ID”) get access to Navision (more specifically: the associated IIS Webserver).
2) In addition, the user also has to enter a name and password to be accepted by Navision itself as a user.

1 V Server domain controller.
(2 processors, 4 GB RAM) The HyperV host is ideally suited in this case since it physically runs on hardware itself. In the past, Microsoft wanted you to never virtualize the DC since HyperV depends on it. Microsoft is no longer so strict about this. A virtualized primary DC (Yes, the PDC still exists at the moment!) that starts after the HyperV host always has lots of surprises in store. My suggestion is to run a PDC on the virtual host and an SDC as a virtual machine.

1 V Server HyperV Host This server must be in place already anyway since it runs HyperV. It should not cover any services except for primary domain controllers and HyperV.

1 V Server print server. Print servers often simply run on another server at the same time. However, you have to reboot the print server once in a while, e.g. when a printer installation fails. This will also interrupts all other server services running on the affected machine.
Make sure to keep in mind to enter descriptive printer names: (Ny= New York, Sa = Sales, Bo = Boston)
“NySaInvoice1” or “NyFrontDesk” or “NyWarehouseOffice”, and even “NyMelanie” is better than „KyoceraDS2000-1“.
Rule of thumb: You rarely need information on a specific printer model. Even then, “Xerox23” is not very helpful when you are using 23 different Xerox printers. Instead, you need information about “The printer that prints packing slips at the New York office.” “NyWarehouseBronx” is certainly easier to recognize as the right printer than “Print300”.


Scenario 1: An IT specialist wants to set up a computer for Ms Smith. The printer needs the invoice printer, the warehouse printer in Frankfurt, the sticker printer at the Kassel warehouse office, the delivery slip printer in Düsselorf, and the laser printer in Ms Smith’s own office. How will the employee find the printers faster? With HP12 or NyWarehouse?

Scenario two: Ms Smith from Frankfurt calls up the specialist and says that her printer is not printing.What’s the fastest way to find this device on the printer server? With @Lexmark DX2000-2” or with “FrSmith”?


Recommended printer names (and for the same reason also computer names!!!):
PlaceDepartmentname, that is
FrSaDeliveryslip
FrSaSmith
FrFrontdesk
DusWhOffice
DusProdLabel

This way, the printers and PCs are automatically displayed sorted by locations and departments.

If an unstructured server infrastructure should be in place, you can switch over the PCs gradually, so you could give one PC a descriptive name every day or every week and then reconnect the printers to the PC at the same time. The old printer server will only be turned off when the last PC has been switched over. The same rules apply for PCs as for printers. Remember: Statistically, it is more likely that a user will get a new computer than a computer will get a new user. For this reason, employee names or extensions are better computer/printer names than the operating system version or model names.

The Navision server service is assigned the new printers from the start, e.g. for the WebClients. Here too the PCs can be moved gradually to the new Navision server; you can run as many Navision client servers you want at the same time.
Generally, ALL printers should be network printers, no printers should be are connected directly to a PC (e.g. via USB) and thus depend on that PC.


1 V Server WSUS
. WindowsUpdateServer: Central update server for keeping Microsoft up-to-date in a controlled and verifiable manner (e.g. Office, Exchange, Windows, MS SQL, Navision is not yet available!). This server can be used to download the updates to a centralized location, which frees up the internet connection itself. Distributed WSUS servers can also take this on for branches, which makes it possible to avoid squeezing every PC/Microsoft update individually through the company’s internet connection. Statistics show which computers are at which patch status with which programs. Updates can be postponed or restarted. Microsoft provides the WSUS free of charge. The WSUS requires lots of hard disk space (you should calculate with at least 300 GB, ideally 500 GB), but this does not have to be an expensive RAID hard disk.

RemoteAdminTool??? Is remote maintenance currently possible from a central location? This can start with, e.g., a simple VNC on every client with which you can centrally perform maintenance tasks like printer installations, permissions, etc. without having to sit at every computer yourself. But there of course are also professional products like Solarwind and QuasarRat which are able to distribute entire software packages and settings. The purpose distributing the software, as described above, is to centrally manage computers and avoid having to configure the computer on site. Together with WOL (wake up on LAN, a turn-on command via the network), maintenance work can be carried out much more rationally. Food for thought: Are at least the printers distributed centrally via the domain guidelines? This has been working very well and easily for over 10 years via Windows itself. This also makes it possible to distribute Office and Navision with this system without having to click on “Setup.exe” every time.

The number of processors and amount of RAM will likely seem very low to many Navision users. In my experience, in these cases the configuration has not been carried out properly, and Navision has not been set up very well either. Navision “itself” is incredibly fast and saves resources. It is always the programmer’sfault when hardware gets gobbled up.