ISV & Solutions

Replication between offline businesses

Distributed Location Management

Central administration

Replication4Dynamics offers a central "state of the art" information system for managing all connected locations and devices in offline stores and warehouses. The solution makes it possible from a central point, to manage and exchainge all data and code between the offline locations and central office. The replication of data between clients and servers has a flexible setup to manage legal entities, stores and warehouses, and their devices in distributed environments.

From a central point the solution makes it possible, to manage and exchange all data and code between stores and head office.

The data to be replicated and the replication mechanisms as well as the intervals are free defined for each replication member.

Online Setup

By collecting all transactions from POS, local ware-house etc. in one central database you always have the most detailed quality information to use for decisions. At the same time your management costs are kept at a minimum. The POS, terminals for inventory management in the back office and Handheld Windows Mobile Clients are connected to the database in the head office through a Microsoft terminal server or a Citrix thin client through a LAN/WAN, or even wireless.

Distributed Setup

The setup where the central database distributes data changes between the local databases in each entity, store or warehouse location and head office is extremely efficient. For high demands for accessibility and general functionality, this solution is recommended. The POS is connected to a local server in the store. The local server connects to a central server by a number of communication methods.

The central database distributes all changes to the distributed databases that are online connected to the POS in the store. By using this setup it is possible to configure the solution and avoid a communication bottle neck. The distributed servers can exchange all information within a defined interval or based upon request.

Replication Members

Each database represents a replication member within the replication hierarchy.

Based on this structure, each database publishes information based on a unique schedule. Direct childs or parents subscribe to this information and receive the information published. The replication members also define how they can be reached and what transport mechanism to be used to contact them.

Currently there is a choice of five different transport mechanisms:

  • Email using Microsoft Outlook
  • Email using direct SMTP/POP3
  • Microsoft Message Queue
  • TCP/IP socket connections
  • Folder based replication

Publications

Publications represent the definition of the export format and data included. Each publication can have a default schedule assigned which is being used when a new replication rule is being established.

For binary export format, the system provides the most flexible content management which also includes Microsoft Dynamics™ NAV objects and other BLOB information stored in the database.

Data can be related to other data, enabling smaller data files. Once the data to be replicated in a certain direction is specified, the system can use these publications to assign to certain replication members using a wizard.

New replication members can automatically subscribe this publication with no user interaction, making the setup of new databases very easy.

Incremental exports can be performed without any code changes in any table for both, Native and SQL databases.

Replication Hierarchy

Each replication member has its place within the company wide replication structure, visualized using the replication hierarchy.

In this form, the user can see which replication member publishes and subscribes which information. Adding new replication rules can be done using the wizard provided.

Based on the intuitive user interface, definition of a new replication rule is the same easy as selecting an entry from a list.

The hierarchy in Replication4Dynamics provides an unlimited level depth, enabling franchise and chain-in-chain operations.

Replication Rules

Replication rules define which database (replication member) publishes which information (publication) at what time and interval and which databases (replication members) subscribe to this information. New replication rules can be defined using the New Replication Rule Wizard provided.

Each replication rule combines a certain publication with publisher and subscriber information and a unique schedule. All data exported based on a replication rule will be imported and processed directly after receipt in the remote database after checking the synchronization with previous messages.

If a "out of sequence" message is received, the system automatically requests the resend of the missing messages.

This ensures the consistency of data in all databases.

Postbox

Each replication member sending and receiving messages logs these in a postbox for processing and later reference. Additionally these messages are being used to control the sequence of messages to be imported and in case of missing entries to request a resend request of missing transactions.

In this form, the user can monitor the content of all binary messages and even zoom into each record to check the content of the message on a record level. This gives the user maximum control over all data distributed between the replication members.

The replication log provides and overview over all replication activities in the database and the state of individual actions.

Session Control

Each session connected to a database can work as a replication agent. To monitor and control these replication agents, the system provides a session monitor.

Within this screen all sessions connected to the same database including their replication status and process are displayed.

The displayed information includes the client types, time and remaining time until next execution for synchronization tasks, automatic processes and replication rule export as well as other statistical information for each database session.

Object Comparison and Update

Within distributed environments, keeping executable objects synchronized is a challenge for each system administrator.

Replication4Dynamics provides a built in tool for comparing and updating objects in remote databases.

Database information can be requested any time from any remote database at the head office and the remote objects will be compared to the local objects.

Based on the permissions, the remote license grants, the system signals for objects, which can be updated remotely.

The user can select an action for each object and create an export file for all conflicting objects to update them in the remote database without any user interaction in the store.

Periodic Activities

Beside the replication tasks like replication rule export and synchronization, the system provides a scheduler for all types of batch jobs to enable automated processes in a database. These automatic processes can be defined free and perform any task at any time in a database.

Automatic Database Setup

As part of the Replication4Dynamics module, the system provides an automated setup for new remote databases. After creating the setup in the head office database using the branch wizard and other tools, a setup disk can be created within the replication member's form and can be used in the new remote database to setup the basic functionality and replication structure of the new branch.

This reduces implementation time to a minimum for each new branch.

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