Archive for the ‘Office tips’ category

SSD performance degrades over time- prevent this with DymaxIO

September 29th, 2020

Can SSD performance degrade over time and is there a way to prevent this? The answer is YES and YES. the same solution that addresses the inefficiencies of iops in Windows , SQL and VMs can also help you to maintain the performance of your solid state disks.

The reason for this degradation is an undesirable SSD phenomenon called the Write Amplification Factor (WAF), . This is a numerical value that indicates the actual amount of data that was written to an SSD in relation to the amount of data that was requested to be written from the Host (i.e. Windows OS System)

WAF = the data written to the SSD / the data written by the host

For example, an application on the Windows Server system writes out 128kb of data to the SSD, but internally on the SSD, 512kb of data is written on the SSD for this to occur. This will degrade SSDs write performance.

In this example, the WAF = 512kb/128kb = 4 ! This is bad, a 128kb write from the host that resulted in 512kb of internal writes on the SSD

Ideally, you want a WAF = 128KB/128KB = 1

Why does this occur. Unlike HDDs, data cannot be directly overwritten on a disk. On SSDs, data can only be written to erased spaces. When you have a brand new initialized SSD, all of the pages are in a free/erased state, and there is no problem for it to find free/erased spaces to write new data. But as the SSD starts to fill up with data, resulting in erased spaces having to be created that causes the WAF to increase. I can go into more detail on this but will save it for another time. Suffice to say, a higher WAF value means SSD performance degradation.

Do SSDs degrade over time?

The answer is YES but this has to do more with the SSDs filling up over time. Some recommendations on the web advise to keep free space on SSDs anywhere from 10% to 30% to avoid this degradation. With less free space on a highly I/O intensive system, a couple of things occur:

-There are less free spaces to write to, extra overhead may have to occur like block erasures to allow the new updates to occur. This increases the WAF – Not a good thing.
– With less free space, file data may get spread out to different locations on the SSD. For example, in the best case, 10 pages of file data that is being updated are all on the same block.
– When the block needs to be erased to be updated, then just that one block needs to be updated. If those 10 pages are on 10 different blocks, then in the worst case, those 10 blocks have to be erased and re-written – More overhead and a higher WAF.

The result is

➣SSDs are overprovisioned. For example, a 1TB SSD actually contains 1.1TB of data space. This extra space (seen only by the SSD internals) helps to allow the WAF to remain low.
➣SSD Garbage collection and Trim. Both of these processes include freeing/erasing spaces in the background so new writes can occur quickly on these newly erased spaces.

How doies DymaxIO™ help with SSDs Degrading?

DymaxIO has technology to keep the WAF low.

The patented IntelliWrite® technology enforces efficient Sequential Writes to occur rather than smaller Random Writes from the Windows Host. Sequential writes are more likely to place data in the same blocks which can decrease the WAF

Optimization engines keep the free space contiguous when needed on the host logical side. This will help enforce larger sequential writes to occur which decrease the WAF.

There are also a few more benefits of enforcing larger sequential writes.
– Sequential I/Os out-perform Random I/Os on storage, both HDDs and SSDs, so this ensures you are getting the optimal performance from your storage.
– Keeping the WAF low and writes lower on the SSD helps to extend the lifetime of the SSD.

IntelliWrite technology in DymaxIO does both of these functions automatically
– Keep sufficient free space on your SSDs
– Enforce Sequential Writes rather than Random Writes.

Fix at the source. 2X SQL application performance, accelerate Windows throughput 40+%, extend hardware life 2 to 3 years, reduce timeouts, crashes, and more. A software solution to software problems Just install, DymaxIOno code changes, no reboot necessary.

Call Synergy Software Systems 0097143365589

Microsoft’s Office App for iOS and Android phones

February 22nd, 2020

Microsoft’s new Office App for iOS and Android phones is now generally available worldwide, the company announced this week.

The Office App for phones can be downloaded from the Apple store for iOS devices, or from the Google Play store for Android devices.

The app is also “available for download on Android tablets with limited support,” but it’s not fully optimized yet, Microsoft’s announcement explained.

The Office App combines Excel, PowerPoint and Word into a single downloadable application that’s said to take up less space on a mobile device, and is optimized for smartphone activities.

Excel vulnerable

July 1st, 2019

Security researchers uncovered a serious vulnerability in Microsoft Corp.’s Excel that exposes around 120 million users to attack. Mimecast Services Ltd., identified that the vulnerability relates to how Power Query, a feature in Excel that is able to pull data from other sources, can be abused. A hacker is able to use Power Query to dynamically launch a remote Dynamic Data Exchange attack into an Excel spreadsheet to actively control the payload. The vulnerability can be exploited to launch hard-to-detect attacks that combine several attack surfaces, embed malicious content in a separate data source and even load the content into the spreadsheet when it is opened to compromise the user’s machine.

In November 2017 Microsoft published an advisory that included workarounds, including recommending users disable the DDE feature where it is not needed in order to block external data connections. The same advisory did note, however, that users would have to click through a number of security prompts for malicious code to be installed. There is legitimate concern over the vulnerability as the feature is turned on by default. It’s unclear whether organizations are following Microsoft’s earlier advice, and it seems unlikely that many organizations have disabled it.

There are currently no known cases of the vulnerability being exploited in the wild, although that could change now its details have been published. Microsoft has not published a fix for the vulnerability nor has it indicated that it is working on one, but with 120 million users at risk and now widespread attention, we strongly recommend all Microsoft Excel customers implement the workarounds suggested by Microsoft.

Microsoft Office 2019 coming soon but only on Windos 10

February 3rd, 2018

Microsoft launched Windows 10 in June 2015, two and a half years ago.

According to data gathered in January 2018, Windows 10 reached 42.78% in terms of worldwide internet usage, compared to 41.86% for Windows 7, 8.72% for Windows 8.1, and 3.36% for Windows XP.

Windows 7 – end of extended support nearing —January 2020
Office365 might be the jewel in the crown for Microsoft, but a new version of standalone Office has been announced for Windows 10. Office 2019’s desktop applications will only run on Windows 10 – and has shortened support.

In an update published on February 1st, the company revealed that the beta apps for the perpetual version of Office 2019 – as opposed to the subscription Office 365 – will appear in 2018’s second quarter and a final release will ship in the second half of the year.

When the software lands, it will only run on Windows 10 or the next Long-Term Servicing version of Windows Server. For Windows 10 users, only the Semi-Annual or Long-Term Servicing Channel editions of the OS will run Office’s apps.

In the past, perpetual versions of Office were released under the Microsoft Fixed Lifecycle Policy, with a term of 5 years of standard support and 5 years of extended support.Office 2019 will get the usual period of standard support, but just two years of extended support. That will mean the suite’s planned death day is October 10th, 2025. (Which is the same day on which Microsoft will end extended support for Office 2016.)

Microsoft said this is because “As the pace of change accelerates, it has become imperative to move our software to a more modern cadence.” Which is a bit inconsistent with news that Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018 will land “in the fall of 2018” and get five years of extended support.

Another change Microsoft’s is to make Office 365 ProPlus, the business-oriented version of the service, available only on Windows 10’s semi-annual channel. As of January 14, 2020, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016 or older and Windows 10 LTSC releases won’t run ProPlus. Nor will unsupported Windows 10 semi-annual releases.

This will keep Windows 10 and ProPlus in synch for security reasons. Those companies that deliver ProPlus to virtual desktops or over remote access will have a chllenge. Later this year, “new Remote Desktop and desktop virtualization capabilities within the SAC release cadence of Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Server.” Windows Server Insiders will see those changes before other users.

Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example:
New and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally.
New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful.
Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations.
Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.’

Excel tutorials

October 5th, 2017

The Microsoft Excel team blog has moved to https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/the_microsoft_excel_support_team_blog/.

Their new blog is mainly focused on support announcements and updates,

it seems to be missing the tutorial style content it used to have.

Meanwhile here are 40 excel tutorials you might find useful – https://dgtl.link/excel_tutorials.

Insights and AI with Dynamics 365

October 13th, 2016

Microsoft is the only major CRM provider to embed external customer data, millions of key contacts, and timely, actionable insights within CRM at no additional cost. Relationship Insights, which as the name suggests gives sales people information about the status of their customer relationships at any given moment is built on the on the Cortana Intelligence Suite, which Microsoft introduced in 2015 and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of the deal closing and the next best action to take.

Insights 4.0 by Insideview is included at no additional charge in all Professional and Enterprise subscriptions of Microsoft Dynamics. It offers a more streamlined, seamless user experience within the new Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as the current version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.

In addition to Insights’ already robust access to more than 30 million contacts, and the intuitive new interface, Insights 4.0 adds the following features:
– New filtering capabilities to easily find and import the right contacts into CRM
Discovery Center, where users can search InsideView’s database of 12 million+ companies and add them to CRM
– Custom field mapping to allow Insights data to easily update company and contact records in Microsoft Dynamics 365.
– Social feed suppression to enable/disable social media integration.
– Social media stream customization to tailor the individual user experience.

Dynamics 365 refers to the Azure-based combination of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) services. At the core of this solution is what Microsoft simply calls as Intelligence, which is actually constituted by advanced analytics and machine learning technologies. It powers the apps within Microsoft’s cloud service that provides a range of functions for business such as sales automation, operations and customer service.

Companies can integrate all of this data with internal metrics (KPIs) to drive automated actions based on the data. The solution includes partner data from the likes of Facebook and Trip Advisor (proving you don’t need to own an external data source to take advantage of it).

It’s been designed as a stand-alone service that can work with any of the Dynamics 365 CRM components — sales, customer service or field service — and can also work with any external CRM tool with open APIs. This last point is particularly telling because it’s giving customers who might not be using Dynamics 365 (but are using other Microsoft tools like Outlook) access to this feature.

Versium, a predictive analytics company, today announced their partnership with Microsoft to bring Versium Predict, their automated predictive analytics solution to Microsoft Dynamics 365

This integration will allow Dynamics 365 for Sales users to quickly build customized predictive models that score and prioritize leads, enabling sales and marketing to know in advance which consumers and businesses are most likely to purchase their products or services. The integration will also generate new, highly targeted prospect lists from the predictive model to drive campaigns, including email, phone, direct mail and display audiences, with increased customer conversion.

Versium Predict is designed to be seamlessly integrated into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, allowing businesses to:
◾Quickly build powerful predictive models through an automated, on demand interface
◾Prioritize leads with the highest propensity to purchase or engage
◾Create new highly targeted prospect lists and customized audiences to support email, direct mail and online display advertising campaigns

‘Delve’ into Office 365

February 11th, 2016

At convergence in Orlando last year Delve was part of of demonstrations featuring Gigjam and Cortana Analytics but what does it do? In Microsoft Office 365, Delve is the app that tracks and stores your activity.

One of the benefits of having a Microsoft Office 365 subscription is that the suite of available apps is periodically updated with new features. Many times these updates and upgrades are l incremental changes that your employees may not even notice. However, sometimes these updates are completely new application features.On January 7, 2016,Microsoft released a new feature for Office 365 Delve to simplify organized team collaboration

The new feature for Delve is called ‘boards‘. The boards concept gives employees a new way both to organize and to share content with fellow employees and the enterprise in general.

Delve can now also be the app that lets you organize your activity. For example, when working on a specific project create a board dedicated to that project, and attach every document, video, meeting, and image your team creates. From that board, share everything with some or all of the entire enterprise and potentially let everyone in the enterprise add to the board for the project, depending on what permissions you establish. Enterprise wide collaboration and document sharing .

Is this useful? There other collaborative tools from SharePoint to to Yammer, to Skype Business.
Microsoft’s vision of a global mobile workforce, means collaboration comes in the form of sharing documents and easy Skype meetings, Delve boards shared amongst team members makes sense. But sharing that collaboration, with all its rest of the enterprise seems like more of a distraction and much less useful. Much like Facebook can be full of random junk or be a targeted focus group similarly Yammer can invite constructive feedback or just be a mass waste of time with uninformed contributors making ill informed comment or reading such comments out of context. We have all suffered the email tsunami of being copied on endless minor updates on trivial matters more driven by office politics than business sense.

From the rest of the enterprise’s point of view, do we really need or want to know what every small team from finance to marketing is working on for a particular client? Most of us have enough trouble tracking our own activity, let alone worrying about everyone else’s. Will all employees will be willing to share their work with the rest of the enterprise using Delve and the boards system – what if a project is not going well? Some policy guidelines and monitoring need to be thought about before adoption.

The new mobile, always connected, social media focused, collaborative workforce of today are looking for similar features to support their work effort. But does it really help when people who sit next to each other above to communicate by email; or sit around a dinner table communicating by text messages?

Collaboration between and amongst small groups working in teams is the backbone of any enterprise. However, vast dissemination of that small group collaboration sounds like noise. Where such a tool helos is that you can self serve to find information without it having to be pushed. Users can read what they want when they need, and not have their email boxes filled multiple attachments they don’t need to read. Its easier to mass communicate when users opt in. Security policies and controls need to be considered.

Microsoft Office 365 Delve is an interesting application. Like all tools in needs training and experience/expertise to get best use. It will be particularly helpful for those teams that are part of a mobile workforce. The addition of boards gives teams a different tool to help organize and to coordinate their collaborative activity.

So well done Microsoft for keeping Office 365 fresh with new features and just as with any other office products use it when appropriate.

Filehold – ask Synergy Software Systems about document management for the U.A.E.

November 30th, 2015


Courier documents


Mobile document management

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8031-best-windows-document-management-software.html
“We recommend FileHold as the best document management system for businesses using Windows. We chose FileHold from dozens of document management system options.
Why FileHold?
Ease of use
FileHold is a self-hosted document management system for businesses using Windows computers. It has the same look and feel of programs you’re already accustomed to using, and the interface is designed specifically with Windows Explorer in mind. The filing structure incorporates the same cabinet, drawer, folder and subfolder approach that Windows uses. So, once the software is installed, employees should have no trouble grasping how to use and navigate it.
We like FileHold’s clean interface. It isn’t cluttered with icons or images. All you see when logging in is the file library running down the left-hand side of the page and a search bar along the top. The majority of the page remains blank until you start filing, searching for or opening documents. This approach keeps you on the same page the entire time you’re using the system. Many of the other systems we examined force you to toggle back and forth between pages depending on the task you’re working on.
The FileHold library structure is designed with Windows Explorer in mind.
Adding to the system’s ease of use are the MyFileHold folders, which are placed on top of the general library of cabinets and drawers on the left-hand side of the page. The MyFileHold section features separate folders for employees’ “favorite” documents, their checked-out documents, any alerts or reminders they have, the files they recently accessed and the files they recently added to the system. This provides a quick snapshot of the documents currently being worked on and the files that need immediate attention.
Each employee can customize various portions of the system with their personal preferences. This option isn’t offered by all of the document management systems we examined. When looking at specific documents, employees can choose the tools they want to be quickly accessible. Quick links can be added for a variety of tasks, such as adding files, linking documents together and checking out files. Additionally, you can choose the metadata attributes — like document type, version, number of linked files and the author — that are shown alongside the file’s name.
Filing documents within the software is simple and can be done in many ways. You can drag and drop files already on your computer or network, as well as scan documents directly into the system. The Microsoft Office integration also allows you to add documents you are working on in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook or PowerPoint with just a click of a button.

Power BI for Dynamics: Ax, and CRM – ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

January 27th, 2015

Power BI is a cloud service that lets you share, collaborate and access your Excel reports anywhere on any device.
This toolset is regularly being updated with new features e.g.: – dashboards, new visualizations, support for popular software-as-a-service applications, a native iPad app and live “hybrid” connectivity to on-premise SQL Server Analysis Services tabular models.

Dynamics Ax provides in built cubes and Power BI for Power BI use- ( see our Dynamics Ax HR and Payroll Powwr BI demonstration.)

Power BI dashboards
Users can create personalized dashboards to monitor their most important data. A dashboard combines on-premises and cloud-born data in a single pane of glass, providing a consolidated view across the organization regardless of where the data lives.

Users can easily explore all their data using intuitive, natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. They can also explore data through detailed reports that target specific aspects of their business. Visuals from these reports can also be pinned to their dashboards for continuous monitoring. As part of this experience new visualizations have been added including combo charts, filled maps, gauges, tree maps, and funnel charts.

What is Power BI Q&A?
Use natural language queries to find answers in your own data.
With instantaneous natural language querying, Q&A interprets your question and immediately serves up the correct answer on the fly—in the form of an interactive chart or graph. And these visualizations change dynamically as you modify the question, creating a truly interactive experience with your data
Start with a question, and have fun traveling through your data refining or expanding your question, uncovering trust-worthy new information, zeroing in on details and zooming out for a broader view.
You’ll be delighted by the insights and discoveries you make.

Power BI Q&A presents your answers in the form of visualizations. As you type a question, Power BI Q&A picks the best visual to display your answer; and the visual changes dynamically as you modify the question.

The experience is truly interactive…and fast! Powered by an in-memory storage, response is almost instantaneous.

Connectivity to New Data Sources
• Exchange: Support for connecting to your Microsoft Exchange account and retrieving information about your Mail, Calendar, People, Tasks and Meeting Requests.
• Dynamics CRM Online: Power Query’s OData support to consume OData feeds from Dynamics CRM Online.

also Facebook, Salesforce, Sybase etc.

Connect live to on-premises Analysis Services models

With the new Power BI connector for SQL Server Analysis Services, customers can realize the benefits of a cloud-based BI solution without having to move their data to the cloud. Customers can now create a secure connection to an “on-premises” SQL Server Analysis Services server from Power BI in the cloud. When users view and explore dashboards and reports, Power BI will query the on-premise model using the user’s credentials.

With this hybrid solution, organizations can continue to retain, manage and secure their data on-premises, while securely enabling users to benefit from that data via Power BI.

Mobile Apps
A wave of native mobile apps for Power BI. These apps will allow users to access their Power BI dashboards and reports through immersive mobile experiences for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets. The first of these – the iPad app is available today and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, with other platforms following in the coming months. All Power BI mobile apps enable users to share insights and collaborate with colleagues so that they can take immediate action, from anywhere, anytime.


Power maps

Power Bi Designer preview

January 22nd, 2015

The Power BI Designer is a new companion application for Power BI.

It is a standalone Windows Desktop application that can be downloaded from the Power BI site.

This application combines Power Query, Power Pivot Data Model and Power View into a seamless experience that will allow customers to build their Power BI elements in an offline fashion and then upload to the Power BI Service.

The Add-ins for Excel 2013 and later are still available and customers can continue to use that to model their data and build reports.

The Power BI Designer will be another option and allow customers with an older version of Office to be able to create reports.