What's New in NAV 2013 R2 Part 2: Administration
In past releases of Microsoft Dynamics NAV one of the trends has been to open up the product to those outside of the traditional NAV world. Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 continues this trend through its use of PowerShell. For those of you who are not familiar with PowerShell, it is, in short, an object-oriented scripting environment that looks very similar to a DOS prompt or command window. Don't let that comparison fool you, though. It is a very powerful tool.
With PowerShell you can tap directly into the .NET Framework using cmdlets. These cmdlets are essentially short pieces of code that allow users to better administer their systems. For example, there are NAV cmdlets that comes with the product to automatically deploy new instances of the service tier, to create new companies in the database, to create the databases themselves, to control security, and even setup multi-tenancy aspects as discussed in Part 1 of this series.
Microsoft System Center is another tool that can now be leveraged with Dynamics NAV. This product allows administrators to manage applications, services, and physical resources across their network in a single view. Several management packs come with the Microsoft Dynamics NAV product right out of the box. Some of the highlights of these management packs include exposing SQL events in the Windows Event Log, monitoring of long running C/AL statements and deadlocks, and tracking of permission issues. You can even export this data direct to PowerShell to script out a solution for them.
This may all sound a little scary to everyone who is used to doing everything from within the NAV client, but I would imagine it all sounded scary when Microsoft introduced SQL too. It's not easy to give up control, but it's important to remember that the users of the system are not just the ones entering data and using the RTC directly. They are not always developers or super users. There are plenty of large companies, or even divisions of Fortune 500 companies with centralized IT departments, who have to support this application and have never even seen it. The Dynamics NAV system should be easy to use from the administration side as well, and there really is no reason for an administrator to have to know the ins and outs of the NAV software. They should be able to control the system from their tool of choice and NAV 2013 R2 allows them to do so if they choose.