Why support only part of a solution on SQL Server 2008?


This is something that came up as I was reviewing posts in the FRx newsgroup and talking to customers about GP upgrades.  I wanted to rant about it a little and see what others thought.  Maybe I am over-reacting?

Dynamics GP 10.0 is supported on SQL Server 2008.  However, FRx Reporter 6.7 is only compatible with SQL 2000 and SQL 2005.  SQL 2005 mainstream support expires in April of 2011.  So today, with 2 years to go for SQL 2005 support, new customers or current customers upgrading from older versions of GP and SQL 2000 would look to implement Dynamics GP 10.0 on SQL 2008.  But they cannot.  Unless they want to use something other than FRx for financial reporting, of course.  Since FRx comes bundled with GP (meaning it is included in the base price) and has been ‘pushed’ for so long as the financial reporting tool of choice for GP, I am at a loss on how to reconcile this contradiction.

While similar to the issues surrounding 64-bit support, this somehow feels worse to me.  At least you can have a 64-bit server and install FRx elsewhere. With SQL 2008, you have no options, it is global to the entire installation.

Thanks for listening to my rant!  Please let me know what you think. 

30 Responses to “Why support only part of a solution on SQL Server 2008?”

  1. I see these posts are a year old but I currently have a client who is installing FRx 6.7 sp9 to a workstation Windows 7 64-bit. Mapping sysdata and iodata to a 32-bit server. Get the error : “msxml.dll is missing” when trying to run DDv and get the error “run-time error ‘-2147220503 (800403e9)’ when trying to output to EXCEL. Any ideas?

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    • Brynne,

      The 2 things I would try:
      1. Install/reinstall FRx while logged in as THE local administrator on the computer.
      2. Upgrade to SP 11 of FRx 6.7.

      Unfortunately FRx is still not supported on 64-bit, so if it does not work, you may not have many options besides using it on another, 32-bit machine. We have customers that are using FRx on a Terminal Server, even when in the office and running GP locally, simply because of this.

      -Victoria

      Like

  2. I’ll add to your rant. Microsoft supports Dynamics AX on VMWare, but not DynamicsGP. We are a VMWare shop (as much as I’d rather them use Virtual Server and Virtual PC) and having production on VMWare would save us tons of money in hardware, as well as making it easier to copy production over to test and dev environments for QA and development.

    Totally agree that you should not implement anything until Microsoft officially supports it! But be sure to let Microsoft know your pains …

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  3. Hi Victoria,

    FRx 6.7 SP10 will in fact run on Windows 2008 x64 running with a SQL 2008 backend. The sysdata files do have to be on a 32bit server though. We have set up both GP10 and Frx 6.7 on a 64 bit Terminal Server running on Windows 2008 64 bit and SQL 2008 backend.

    -Fabian

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    • Fabian,

      Thanks for sharing this! Part of the problem that I have is not whether it will technically work, but whether it will be supported by Microsoft. Until Microsoft officially supports a configuration, it is difficult for me to justify recommending it to a customer. If it doesn’t work, we cannot get support and we’re responsible. It’s one thing if you already have this configuration in place and try to see if it will work. It’s another when a customer needs to purchase a new server and/or SQL version for an upgrade.

      -Victoria

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    • Fabian,

      We are looking to setup FRx 6.7 in the same configuration you have. Have you ran across any problems on a Windows 08 x64 configuration against SQL 2008??? I understand i might need to put the sysdata files on a 32 bit server. Other than that has everything worked out for you???

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      • Actually what I am going to try is to have the TS on Win 08 x86 (32 bit) servers and the DB will be SQL 08, Win 08/.x64 bit Server. Since the TS is x86 (32 bit) I am thinking this will allow me to not have the libraries for FRx in another server. Is anyone out there running this configuration?

        I appreciate the help,

        Like

        • Felipe,

          I have not seen this configuration yet, so I cannot address your question specifically. However, I would recommend that you put your SysData and IO_Data files somewhere on a 32-bit OS. If you have not already, you could also see if you get any other responses on the FRx public newsgroup.

          -Victoria

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          • Thanks Victoria … I am planning on putting them on a 32 bit Win 08 TS server so I think that should cover that. I will check the newsgroup. Thanks for your help and your blog.

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          • Victoria,

            We just learned today that MS is now planning on FRx compatibility with SQL 2008, Server 2008 and TS 2008 on the upcoming FRx SP 11.

            From MS:

            We have received an update on the release date of SP11 and we are currently looking at a release date around the end of the third quarter of the year. This will put the release date around August or September although we do not have an exact release date at this time.

            Like

            • Greg,

              Thank you very much for sharing this!

              -Victoria

              Like

            • Hello,

              As Greg states above, we are indeed planning to support SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 with SP11.

              The FRx client *should* already work on Windows Server 2008 thanks to the Vista work we did with SP9, but we will officially test the client and work to resolve server (Report Server and WebPort) issues with SP11.

              We are also anticipating support for FRx 6.7 on Windows 7 (32-bit only), although I’m not sure if that will happen for SP11.

              Some additional information …
              We will not be supporting FRx 6.7 on any 64-bit version of Windows (this includes XP, 2003, Vista, and 2008). There are multiple reasons for this, but the main ones are 1) FRx is primarily written in VB6, which should work, but isn’t fully supported in an x64 environment; 2) most importantly, FRx 6.7 must run as a 32-bit process, but it interoperates with other code that can’t be loaded into a 32-bit process on an x64 machine. There are other reasons (server issues for WebPort and Report Server, driver issues, etc), but it all comes down to technology that wasn’t really built for a 64-bit world. This is one of many reasons for the plans announced at Convergence – the inevitable replacement of FRx with an application that IS built on modern technology.

              Having said that, FRx 6.7 will work with a 64-bit SQL Server. It *should* work with Sysdata and IO_Data on a 64-bit file server – I have not heard of any issues with that, but I would be interested in hearing about them someone has had problems. It’s possible that there’s a JET engine (Access) issue that isn’t coming to mind – I’ll try to take a look and report back.

              I hope this helps clarify some things.

              Thank you,
              Jeff [MSFT]
              Software Development Engineer

              This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.

              Like

              • Jeff,

                Thank you so much for this update and all the additional information!

                -Victoria

                Like

              • Richard O'Gorman Reply May 7, 2009 at 1:26 pm

                Hi Jeff,

                Thanks for this important information. Please can you clarify one thing: you mentioned that FRx will not be supported on any x64 platform. This implies to me that it’s not possible to have the SQL databases on a SQL2008, Windows 2008 server if it’s x64. But further down you state that FRx will work on a 64-bit SQL server. Does this mean that it may be possible, with SP11, to run FRx on a 32-bit server, but have GP databases on an X64 machine, and still be fully supported? Or are we ruling X64 out of any part of the equation?

                Thanks
                Richard

                Like

                • Richard,

                  I am copying this from my newsgroup post:

                  Here is my interpretation:

                  64-bit:
                  – FRx is not ‘officially’ supported on 64-bit (SQL, windows, whatever), and it will never be.
                  – FRx *should* work on SQL Server 64-bit with no problem.
                  – The Sysdata and IO_Data folders may be fine on a 64-bit OS as well, but that’s something that he is less sure about. The workaround in this case is to put these folders on a 32-bit OS, since there is no requirement they be on the SQL Server.

                  Windows Server 2008:
                  – FRx 6.7 should be fine on Windows Server 2008 after SP 9, however official support for Windows Server 2008 will be with FRx 6.7 SP 11.

                  SQL Server 2008:
                  – FRx 6.7 will be officially supported on SQL Server 2008 with SP 11.
                  – I have seen reports (from comments on my blog and newsgroup posts) that FRx 6.7 with SP 10 is working fine for them on SQL Server 2008.

                  To you last question – FRx uses the GP SQL tables, so there is no way to separate the ‘FRx server’ from the ‘GP server’ unless you mean something else by this question?

                  -Victoria

                  Like

                  • Richard O'Gorman Reply May 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

                    Hi Victoria,

                    Thanks for your reply.

                    I’ll just clarify my last point: I fully understand that FRx uses the GP databases, but I was querying whether it may be possible to run the FRx client on 32-bit platform (such as client PCs or Citrix server etc), and yet run the GP databases on an x64 server. But it seems, as I suspected, that no part of the FRx equation will be supported on x64.

                    The bottom line for my organisation is this: all our GP customers use FRx. So the decision by Microsoft not to make FRx x64 compatible, and not to provide an effective replacement, means that we are not able to replace ageing 32-bit servers with x64 for GP. This means we will have to regard GP as a 32-bit application, until we find a replacement for FRx. That is going to be a serious limitation going forward, as my understanding is that server 2008 is optimized for 64-bit technology.

                    I’ll also post this back into the Newsgroup.

                    Regards
                    Richard

                    Like

  4. I am creating a new post as we speak!

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  5. Take a look at this:

    https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamics/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=371985

    They say FRX 6.7 SP11 (I think that is the next one) will have 2008 compatiblity.

    Cheers

    Fliehigh

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  6. I am livid myself right now. I have users that have connectivity and slowness issues with GP9. We are running Sql 2005 and Server 2003. My users connect via Terminal Server 2008… however, as stated, several users are having severe slowness and unresponsive sessions. I finally opened a trouble ticket with Microsoft and their initial answer was: GP 9 and 10 not supported in a Server 2008 environment.

    I already knew about the Frx fiasco (not being supported), but did not know, and not well published, that Server 2008 was not supported. Now, what are we supposed to do when Sql Server 2005 support is no longer available?

    I have a call in to my VAR and to Microsoft Customer Support. I’ll keep everyone updated.

    GRRRRR….

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  7. Victoria,

    I already have customers with the SQL 2008 and x64 bit issue with GP and FRx.

    One customer is still on GP 9, they bought a new Windows Server 2008 and SQL 2008 and want to use it, but don’t want to upgrade to GP 10. Not really much of a choice here for this customer, they will be upgrading to GP 10 with some considerable downtime as I move over 30 databases across their network and then upgrade them as quickly as possible. They use FRx, so I’m not sure what to do for these people.

    Another customer bought an x64 server and was very annoyed that they had to leave their FRxServer folders on a x32 server that has nothing to do with GP. They like keeping all their GP related server information on one machine, now it’s split up.

    A third customer wanted to buy all new x64 desktops, Vista Business, because they all had 4Gb in ram, but they can’t use x64 to take advantage of the extra ram because those users have FRx. They also purchased the upgrade to Business Advantage so that all their users could have full use of FRx.

    It seems for years that I’ve been telling my customers to upgrade their hardware to the latest and greatest, Windows Server 2003 sp 2 and XP or Vista with lots of ram and SQL 2005… and now I’m doing the opposite, these customers that didn’t upgrade their hardware can’t buy the hardware they’ve waited for because the software is holding them back.

    Rant all you want, maybe someone will hear you.

    Eric

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  8. Victoria,

    According to Microsoft, “Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 compatibility currently under review” for all their FRx 6.7 products (Reporter, Forecaster, and Web Port). I also want to note that v10 compatibility with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 was only reached with the release of SP2 (10.00.1061) and this only happened last May.

    Also, according to Microsoft there will be “No plans for compatibility with any x64 operating systems” when it comes to FRx. In particular, I translate this as “we have to rewrite FRx for this to happen”.

    You are absolutely correct! I cannot understand the reasons for having “half-ass” compatibility, but at the same time it has been published, therefore is not a secret.

    My personal opinion: I work with clients that have very sophisticated back end systems, but have ran across none that have 64-bit desktop operating systems across the board, where certainly running 32-bit FRx would be an issue more so than with the backend. Most of my clients are just considering upgrading to SQL Server 2008 and have no immediate plans to upgrade to Windows Server 2008, with just a few upgrading to Dynamics GP 10 in the summer. In fact, in the last GPUG event in Vegas, and according to Microsoft officials, GP v10 adoption rates were steady, but still low, which means, I cannot see too many FRx users asking for this immediately. Maybe I am wrong!

    I would consider it troublesome though, if compatibility with Windows 2008 and SQL Server 2008 is not reached by the summer, because that would set back a lot of upgrade plans.

    Best regards,

    MG.-
    Mariano Gomez, MVP
    Maximum Global Business, LLC
    http://www.maximumglobalbusiness.com

    Like

  9. Yes but Management Reporter IS supported on SQL 2008 and it was supposed to start replacing FRx. Realistically, there should have been an FRx 7.0 but I think that folks felt that the “next” solution would be ready sooner than it was. After all, when was the last time you saw any app at 10 service packs?

    Mark

    Like

  10. Thanks Victoria,
    very useful information exactly in time for me.
    Would be replication from SQL’08 to SQL’05 help?

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  11. Thanks for calling broad attention to this, Victoria. Perhaps the plan was to push folks to Management Reporter on [the recently abandoned] Performance Point Server. Maybe derogating support for FRx Reporter was acceptable to Microsoft in the overall PPS plan. In any case, NOW it’s time for them to remedy this. I lend my vocal chords to your rant. Let’s see some respect for both FRx 6.7 and SQL ’08.

    Like

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