Creating a good test environment is an important step in controlling your Dynamics GP system. I’ll cover 3 aspects:
Test Environment vs Test Company
Your most important decision is where to create the copy of the live database: as a separate company (test company) in the same instance of GP, or as a full development of a test environment.
Here’s a quick comparison of these two options. Further details are below.
|Test Environment||Test Company|
|Effort to Create||High||Low|
|Server Requirements||Dedicated server||Same server as live|
|User Access||Separate from live environment||Through the live environment|
|Testing Ability||Can test system-wide features safely||Can test only company-specific features, and only software that is already loaded|
Full Test Environment
- This is the best environment to have but takes the most time and resources to create
- Requires dedicated server with SQL Server, office applications, Adobe Reader and GP
- Users would access this server for testing and are completely independent of the live environment
- Can be used to test system-wide features without affecting the production, such as
- Exchange tables
- Additional GP modules that require an external load
- New third-party products
- This is the most common and requires the least resources
- Uses the same server GP is already running on
- Adds a new company to the production
- User would access GP as normal and log into the test company
- Can test all company-specific features
- Can only test software that is already loaded
Tips for Copying Data
The directions for copying the data to the new test environment or company are well documented by Microsoft here.
However, there are a few caveats that Microsoft’s document does not discuss.
In a full test environment we would be restoring both databases: Dynamics and the company. Security in the full environment will need to be addressed to add the users to the SQL master database to bring the restoration to the correct levels.
When adding a new test company database, you must perform the following before you restore the data. (These steps are required to update the Dynamics database, which is not being restored.)
- Create all tables for all third parties that are installed
- If AA is used in the live company activate the AA
- Add user access to the database
- Add user security to the test company to match the live as the users are added to the database on restore but not in the system database
- Add the currencies and the exchange tables.
Function-wise that is all that is required, and at this stage you will have a fully functional test company or environment
Important Steps After Live Data Is Restored
To perform good tests and follow the flow of the transactions there are a few items that are nice to setup once the live data is restored. These items have to do with following the test transaction through the system to confirm that the system is processing the way you expect.
The following steps are required to clean the test company:
- Post all transactions in all modules. This eliminates all transactions from the work area so the new test transactions can be isolated. Use administration → routines → master posting and mark all.
- Change the posting style from post through to post to. Under administration → setup → posting → posting. Change the transaction types to post to the GL not post through the GL.
This step stops the transaction from hitting the GL directly. Then when the test is done you can see all the transactions that are created by the test and review how they will affect the general ledger and therefore the financial statements. These can be posted using series post once reviewed.
- Change the printing of the posting journal from printer to ask each time. Under administration → setup → posting → posting, change the print option for the series to print reports and change the destination to the ? so the system will ask each time.
This will slow down the tests a little at time of posting but allows the user to print to the screen the posting results of the individual tests.
These steps leave the test company in a state in which it is easy to determine the results of any test from the transaction level to the general ledger.
If you have any questions about your Microsoft Dynamics ERP, please get in touch with us.
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