How to design a Navision Solution with remote clients

Using remote clients in a Navision Financials setup has always been an issue. An issue with no easy solution to it. Basically the problem with Navision clients connecting to the Navision server from a geografically distance, is the considerable nettrafic that goes on between client and server. In example a typical Internet connection can not handle this amount of trafic. The same is the case with a regular telephone line og ISDN connection. A technological optimal solution to this, is to use Citrix Winframe/Metaframe to minimize the nettrafic between remote user and Navision Server. However this is an expensive way of dealing with the problem, especially if only a few users need to connect remote. Has anybody any experiences with other ways of solving the problem with remote clients. Perhaps somebody used MCAFEE’s Remote Desktop or similar applikation to remotely access the Navision client application. Maybe someone managed to run a Navision client over a regular telephone line og ISDN with a sufficient result. Please post your experiences on the subject. - Henrik Nordtorp

Just recently I have launched terminal server on Windows 2000 for one of my clients. It works, try it. The thing is that terminal services are included in Windows 2000 Server product - for free. (In the Windows NT 4.0 times there was a big price difference between NT 4.0 Server and NT 4.0 Server Terminal Edition). Best regards, Otto Dreyer NRG Ltd.

Terminal services in Win2000 is NOT for free !!! You need to get the licenses to use it. The thing is that it isn’t a seperate kernel anymore, but you still have to pay you licenses and even register it with microsoft ! Rgds Benny Giebens

If you are connecting from client machine running W2K then it’s free. If you want to connect from previous versions (NT, W98, W95), then yes, you will have to purchase license. If you want to connect from W3.11, DOS, Mac, or something you need Citrix client. Best regards, Otto Dreyer NRG Ltd.

I think that for remote client are 3 way: 1. Terminal solution 2. Web interface 3. Replication all these solutions are very diferent & chose depends on needs: Count of remote places, user per place, work intensivity or kind of job, company structure (how job is shared) …

We would like to work with Navision with a RAS connection. We have a ISDN 64 Kbs line. There is no problem with this conection but when we start Navision the main menu is charging during more than 5 minuts. This phenomen has appeared since the 2.0 version. For information, our local cache is 16 mega and object cache is 2 mega. Could you help us, please ? Thanks, Best regards

We are very happy with Win2K terminal services… nearly as fast as being “on net” as long as the packet travel time is small. With “remote client” the problem is not as much the total bandwidth, but the time required to transmit small packets. You can usually test this with the ping command. Not much of a problem on a RAS connection since there is usually minimal routing. Compared to a Navision Client License fee, the extra fee for the Win2K Terminal Services License is small. If you only want to run one or two clients on Win2K, you can in theory run Terminals Services in Administrative Mode on a server dedicated to other tasks. There is no license fee when connecting in Administrative Mode. Microsoft says the service will not be optimized for application sharing, so you need to test this on a case by case basis. Also, with Terminal Services/Citrix it is important to launch Navision with user specific ZUP files so that each user has its own configuration. We’ve also found that we need to manually set the TEMP directory the first time a new ZUP file is initiallized to a directory that will always be accessible to the user. Otherwise there can be problems getting into Navision a second time. To fix these problems, we’ve had to delete the ZUP file. Jim Hollcraft aka Skater Unauthorized Navision News Edited by - Jim Hollcraft on 5/24/00 4:19:11 PM

I alway can’t understand why not any pepole use Client/Server(TCP/IP) mode for remote. I just test one time use Client/Server use Dial line. I found that is so slowly … I can’t waiting …I don’t know why ??

hf, I had tested with W2k terminal server with just modem connection (28.8 bps). The result is acceptable to me. I think your problem is the configuration of the w2k termial server only. Richard

I know, this is the Technical Forum and you might expect a technical solution for your problems. But anyway, even if it’s off-topic, let me cast an eye on the problem from the point of view of the software. Generally we have two possibilities to access a Navision server: 1) With programs like PCAnywhere and Citrix which transfer keystrokes and screen contents 2) with RAS, Terminal server, User Portal and other online connections where real data is being transferred. If you run byte crunching applications like reports the pure screen-contents solutions (1) will be the better choice. If you remotely work as accountant and only need to enter GL Entries, solution (2) will be the faster one as the amount of data to be transferred is very small and you have a feeling like working on a fast network. Therefore the main concern is to determine what tasks the remote-user wants to accomplish before you make a decision about which of the general methods you want to use. If you are using the online-method (2) it mainly depends on how clever the program implements usage of keys and flowfields to reduce network traffic. Let me give you a stupid example: If you want to know the quantity on stock for a specific item, you can scan sequentially through the item ledger entry table, looking at every single record and sum the quantity of the item you need. - Doing that with a table with 1 Mio entries, you end up with a data volume of 2-3 Gigabytes to be sent over the network. - Setting a SETRANGE() to the item reduces the amont of data to probably 100 KB. - Creating a flowfield which calculates the quantity, leaves all the work on the server and only a 6 bytes (the quantity) have to be transferred through the network. What I want to say with that example is this: From the technical point of view you don’t have much chances to make the user’s live easier if the application is badly programmed. You have to make sure in advance to understand, what information the user needs (and in which frequency) and you also have to make sure that the developers tune the application accordingly. In real live you don’t stand a chance to fullfill this requirement as nobody is able to tell you, what the user really needs (the user himselfes is the last person who knows!) Personally I made best experience with Citrix Metaframe and PCAnywhere. Both don’t provide the speed you would need to work a full day with Navision but for short requests or maintenance they are quite fine. ------- With best regards from Switzerland Marcus Fabian

Hi, the method i tried is using the Navision “Native” Windows-based client/server structure. Non of the Terminal Services, Pcanywhere, Citrix etc… had been used. Basically, i had connected a PC running on Navision client application and using a dial-up modem (TCP/IP) to connect to the Navision Server application , (non of the Terminal Services, Pcanywhere, Citrix etc… are used), theoretically, such method should be more efficient and secure than using PCanywhere, terminal services etc… but the result i tried seem to be much disappointing, it took few mins to generate a report itself. Could this be the downside of the Navision architect or is there other reason due to it. greatly appreciate to all replies. regards.


Basically, i had connected a PC running on Navision client application and using a dial-up modem […] theoretically, such method should be more efficient

What you describe is basically method 2 I mentioned in my earlier post. Reports are the kind of applications which produce most network traffic. Direct connections are only suiteable if tasks are performed which generate low amount of data to be transferred. Such as entering postings. ------- With best regards from Switzerland Marcus Fabian

Fabian: I guess why Direct connections is so slow, maybe the reason is no use data in Navision client side, correct? so I think navision programmer design just suitable small bussiness company. not really Client/Server? hf

I guess you hit the point. Yes: Most of processing is done on the Navision client rather than on the server. However, as I stated, it’s basically up to the programmer how clever he manages to split the workload between client and server. Let me give you one more example so you can determine which method suits best for your needs. Let’s assume that a full screen contents needs 50 kbytes to be sent from server to client. No matter what causes the screen to change, you need to transfer 50kb in order to display the new screen. A new screen could possibly be a form or a report. The command to Navision to open a form needs probably 1 kb only. Therefore in this a direct connection is cheaper than a screen-contents-moving application (Metaframe) as you need only 1 kb instead of 50 kb to have the task “open form” accomplished. A report might require 1 Megabyte of data being flown between client and server. In this case sending the screen-contents only would be the faster method. So it depends what your remote users are mainly doing with navision. Are they working in forms or are they processing reports? The answer to this question is the key in determining the most suitable solution for you. The third method is User Portal where the upload from client to server is typically around 1-4 kb only (“send me the purchase order 123456”) and the return from the server is also relatively small. It will contain the data of purchase order 123456 with all sales-lines in xml format. Probably 10-20 kb. The processing of the data is done on the client using xsl style sheet. Disadvantage: Every possible table/form (e.g. adress with contacts) requires heavy individual xsl programming. An experienced developer needs about 4-8 hours for each form. ------- With best regards from Switzerland Marcus Fabian