Several questions come up from time to time when I’m engaged to facilitate a client’s Dynamics GP environment and systems upgrade: questions like “why will my upgrade take you 3 days?” – or “why will my staff have to be out of the system for 2 or 3 days?” – or “what are you actually doing during this upgrade?” I did a review on this back in GP Version 9 – but I thought it best to update the content and I will summarize some of the highlights here; and hopefully this blog will address those questions and the very basic inquiry of “what’s in an upgrade?”.
There are many tasks that need to be performed to upgrade your Dynamics GP environment from one version to the next (or updating across several versions as well as several Operating System environments and possibly SQL Versions). The time it takes to perform all these tasks can depend on several factors:
- The size and quantity of databases greatly affects the time the entire upgrade can take
- Number of versions and/or products being updated (updating from Dynamics GP 2010 to Dynamics GP2016 requires 2 stages of upgrades) – the compatibility of all product versions involved in an upgrade must be carefully coordinated
- If the upgrade path crosses several environments this will affect the total time (do we have to move large amounts of data across several servers or operating system versions? Are we updating the databases across several SQL versions?) You can’t simply take Dynamics GP 10 data from a SQL2008 server and paste it into a SQL2016 server
- The complexity of the products themselves – if coordination amongst additional vendors is required this will add extra time
- The infrastructure being used for the upgrade tasks (i.e. network speed, processors, RAM, A/Virus Scans, etc.) can greatly affect the speed an upgrade operates at
- If adequate access to the environments isn’t available – well, you get the idea here
Some of the pre-upgrade data checking tasks may take only a matter of minutes to run each; but if you consider that running ten 1 minute tasks against 1 database may take about 10 minutes –whereas performing ten 1 minute tasks against 50 databases – now you are taking about 500 minutes (approx. 8.5 hours) just to perform a series of data integrity checks against the Dynamics GP databases – and this is even without factoring in the time it takes to actually run the data upgrade.
Some of the activities that can take significant blocks of time are:
- Preparing environment(s) for upgrade – operating system settings, windows updates, infrastructure, server roles/features
- Making data backups for possible recovery at critical stages of the upgrade
- Moving databases and blocks of data/files around from server to server
- Processing required file maintenance in advance of upgrading the data
- Checking data integrity or checking for known issues in the data (which may cause an upgrade to fail)
- Applying appropriate software updates in the correct order
- Updating the actual code that is part of the Dynamics GP suite of applications
- Updating add-on features that the installation may be using (i.e. eConnect, Management Reporter, 3rd Party Add-On features etc.)
- Updating the actual data
- Validating data at critical stages of an upgrade
- Iterative testing of updated customizations or reporting features
- Addressing unforeseen issues and troubleshooting/resolving problems that may arise
- Deploying updated programs to RDP servers and/or desktops (including GP , 3rd party add-on features, reporting tools, integration tools, etc.)
The shortest Dynamics GP Upgrade I have ever been involved in took about a day and a half to complete – that was a small 3 user system with only 2 small GP databases and no additional add-on features – and the upgrade happened all in place on the same server (i.e. no data migrations, no OS changes, no SQL updates).
On average – based on having facilitated 100’s of Dynamics GP Environment upgrades over the past 20 years – I’ve found that a 10 User GP System, with no complex add-on features, using 10 databases or so of average size (approx.. 5 GB or less each) upgrading across only 1 or 2 GP Versions, and perhaps 1 server migration (and new SQL version update) would take 2 – 3 days – and again that is only an estimate and will take much longer depending on the factors described above.
For a reference on things you can do in advance of an upgrade to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible – refer to 9 Points to Prepare for Your Dynamics GP Upgrade. Also take a look at the How to Plan a Dynamics GP Upgrade eGuide. If you have any questions about Microsoft Dynamics GP, please feel free to contact us.
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