Microsoft has made it easier to move from version-to-version for Dynamics NAV customers and their Partners. Upgrades have become much simpler and more affordable for customers with RapidStart Upgrade Tools released with NAV 2015, shipping important features more frequently having a minimum impact on the existing solution and the introduction of the cumulative updates option that doesn’t require the installation of each service pack for every cumulative update.

When the Upgrade Subscription Service is added to these improvements, it becomes much easier for customers to keep their ERP on the latest version and enjoy benefits that the newest technology provides.

In this series of blog posts, we would like to share our insights on new merge and data migration possibilities introduced with RapidStart Upgrade Tools and Powershell, explaining how it will effect upgrades for Dynamics Partners and their customers.

RapidStart’s Role in an Upgrade

  • Simplifies the Upgrade Environment: since all steps in the RapidStart Upgrade Tools are performed by the latest versions (e.g. NAV 2015), the old upgrade procedure is required to perform the following steps:
      • Move customer data to temporary tables in old NAV environment.
      • Convert database to new environment.
      • Import new objects. 
      • Run functions to adjusting data from temporary tables to new table structure.
  • The new upgrade procedure is simplified by RapidStart Upgrade Tools through removing (1.) action from the user. Now you only have to convert database to new NAV -> Import new objects with upgrade codeunit (during this step all data will automatically be moved to temporary tables), then run upgrade functions to adjust data from temporary tables to new table structure.
  • Increases the Data Upgrade Performance: by allowing the data upgrade functions and upgrade codeunit to run in parallel and across companies.

Advantage: takes all server resources and completes data upgrade faster. 
Disadvantage: for bigger databases it requires few times bigger server resources to complete upgrade.

  • Reduces the Amount of Code to be Written: since a number of actions are now executed automatically by the Microsoft Dynamics NAV Server by moving data from NAV tables to temporary tables. 
  • Minimizes the Number of Manual Actions: using Powershell to easily automate redundant actions during the data upgrade to eliminate manual errors during this process.
  • Utilizes Upgrade Toolkit Design Concepts: such as upgrade tables and upgrade functions.
  • Executes Three-Way Code Analysis: in 15-minutes to analyze the impact of a new set of objects on the existing solutions before implementing such changes. 
  • End-to-end Sample PowerShell Script: for performing data upgrade.

As a result, RapidStart Upgrade Tools make merge and data migrations faster and simpler (especially upgrading from NAV 2013 R2). Unfortunately, these tools don’t solve all challenges:

  • Customers Using Versions Prior to Dynamics NAV 2009: RapidStart Upgrade Tools simplify merge and data migration from Dynamics NAV 2009 to the latest version. It doesn’t provide solutions for upgrading from earlier versions than Dynamics NAV 2009. In addition, Microsoft RapidStart auto-merge tool only works for RTC client objects (i.e. all NAV 2013 or later objects).
  • Partners Developing Dynamics NAV Solutions NOT Following Microsoft Development Standards: If writing or overwriting standard code by not moving customizations to separate functions/codeunits – auto-merge tools might not help here as well. In this case, RapidStart Tools can only solve parts where users have made modification, but standard NAV have not changed at all. All conflicts are left for manual review. If looking back to Dynamics NAV 2009 or earlier versions – Microsoft has redesigned a majority of the most complex functionality (like Codeunits 1, 12, 80, 90 …..) and any modifications done in these places will give you no value by using auto-merge.
  • Minimum Impact to Upgrades Earlier than Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 Version: RapidStart Tools help to solve small tasks that are not difficult to accomplish manually (i.e. auto-merging tables/codeunits/pages - if solution is already in RTC client that were not redesigned). As you likely have experienced, the most complex and time consuming areas in upgrading are merging objects that were redesigned, compiling custom objects, transforming forms to pages, transforming reports to RDLC layout and transforming Dataports to XMLports. In addition, the Data Migration Tool provided by Microsoft is only for NAV 2009 or later. If you are migrating from older Dynamics NAV versions, you have to combine multiple upgrade tools. In conclusion, if upgrading from a Classic client to Dynamics NAV2013/NAV2015, the new RapidStart Upgrade Tools reduce only 5% time needed for upgrades based on our calculations.

Sophisticated Upgrade Tools developed by the 1ClickFactory Upgrade Service Center can help solve most of above mentioned upgrade challenges related with transforming reports from Classic to RTC client, transforming classic Dataports to XMLports and others. Click here to learn more.

To gain a deeper understanding of merging with RapidStart Upgrade Tools check out my next blog post Objects Merge Using RapidStart Tools.