Why Automating Your Upgrade Process in NAV 2015 is Easier Than You Think

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Few things are as important to computer security as keeping software up to date. Software vendors routinely issue patches and updates for everything from operating systems to email applications, often to address security vulnerabilities that have been discovered or add support for improved security protocols. In other cases, updates may fix bugs, improve stability or add additional features.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV is no different. Given how mission-critical NAV is to the daily operation of your business, and the sensitive information contained therein, there are probably few, if any, applications your business is running that are as high a priority for staying updated.

If finding the time to update your installation of NAV is a challenge, it is possible to automate the process of updating to NAV 2015, and it's easier than you may have thought. The key to successfully automating the process lies in Windows PowerShell.

Windows PowerShell

Windows PowerShell is a framework for automating tasks on Windows. According to Microsoft TechNet, "Windows PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language designed especially for system administration. Built on the .NET Framework, Windows PowerShell helps IT professionals and power users control and automate the administration of the Windows operating system and applications that run on Windows."

This makes Windows PowerShell an ideal way to automate the NAV 2015 update process.

The Process

Updating NAV is actually a two-step process: You must first update the application and then update the data.

By automating the process, not only can you save significant time, especially if you maintain multiple NAV databases, but you can also verify whether the update was successful at each step.

The Scripts

Your Microsoft Dynamics NAV installation contains sample Windows PowerShell scripts that can be used to automate the update process. These scripts are divided into the ones necessary to update the application, and the ones that update the data.

Taking it step by step:

  • The application-updating scripts are located in the ApplicationMergeUtilities folder that is, in turn, located in the WindowsPowerShellScripts folder included with your NAV installation files.
  • There are also four subfolders in the ApplicationMergeUtilities folder that include sample data so you can see how the scripts work and do a test run before using them on your own installation.
  • The data-updating scripts are located in the Upgrade folder in the WindowsPowerShellScripts folder.
  • As with the application scripts, the scripts used to update the data include a sample script to help you familiarize yourself with the process. One of the most important elements of the process is the Set-PartnerSettings.ps1 file, which is used to set the parameters for the upgrade process. This includes the database that is to be updated, the location of the license file and the .fob file containing the upgraded application elements.

It’s important to note that in order to use the script to upgrade from a previous version of NAV, you must have a valid NAV 2013 or 2013 R2 database on SQL Server. Once executed, the installation process will give you detailed information on each upgrade step.

What This Means for You

In the short-term, using Windows PowerShell to automate your upgrade process can mean a significant savings of time and resources, especially if you manage multiple NAV databases. By updating the application, and then using the scripts to update the individual databases, you avoid tying up valuable personnel in mundane, redundant tasks.

In the long-term, becoming familiar with Windows PowerShell can be a valuable asset, not only for future upgrades, but also for day-to-day operation. Windows PowerShell was intended to help administrators automate exactly these kinds of tasks. By getting your feet wet with such a powerful tool, you may find a myriad of other situations where it can save you time and money.

About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx, a Certified Microsoft Partner. Journyx maximizes the value of Microsoft Dynamics by adding enterprise time tracking. Journyx Accountlink for Microsoft Dynamics allows companies to quickly implement a complete time tracking solution using existing business data in Dynamics. Connect with Curt on Google+.

by Journyx

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