Dynamics NAV Cumulative Updates Part 4: Regression Testing and Deployment
In this series of blogs, we have compared Microsoft Dynamics NAV to jeans…specifically, taking straight-legged jeans and converting them bell bottoms. Why this analogy? Because those little triangles of fabric you insert into the jean legs to give them that flair is how cumulative updates can make your NAV solution new, better, and up to date. Part 1, What You Need to Know, reviewed the basics of cumulative updates. Part 2, Planning, discussed how to plan for cumulative updates to avoid disruption. In Part 3, The Technical Update, we discussed the ins and outs of the technical update.
Regression Testing and Deployment
Regression testing is defined as a software test that confirms that your recent code or program changes do not adversely affect existing features. To know what an adverse effect is, you have to be a user of the system and know what the desired effects are. For that reason, you should expect every department in your organization that uses NAV to participate in the regression testing.
The process of Regression Testing can be made easier if you use a recent copy of your production database to refresh your Test database. New data is easier to test with what could be lurking in your test database now from prior tests. Do remember when setting up this refreshed database to disable or place in test mode any applications that operate external to NAV, such as email, EDI, credit cards, etc.
Once your database is ready, import all your modifications from Development into the Test database and compile them again. Note that any DLL objects might need to be moved as well – especially if the database is on a different server. Additionally, don’t forget to sync your table changes using a Sync-NAVTenant command in Powershell.
Organize your testing group into teams, with one person as the leader of each team. The leader will be given the task of overseeing and organizing the testing for their group and ensuring it’s completed. Hold short, daily meetings with these group leaders to get an updated status so you know if a department is falling behind and can escalate issues to keep the project moving. In that meeting, any issues that were discovered and reported through your work ticket system should be reported on as well. Any issues that are resolved should be returned to the team lead so the users can retest that process.
Once your training is done, all leaders should sign off that they have tested all their NAV operations and are satisfied that the changes will not adversely affect their work. At that time, you’re ready to deploy the changes to your live database.
Deployment of the Cumulative Update to Production
Needless to say, this is an after-hours endeavor. If you are a 24-hour shop, you might need to plan for downtime of your NAV system for a short period of time.
Once you have the system to yourself, import the objects and compile. Check for any that would not compile, which should be limited to issues with external objects. Again, sync your objects as you did in the Test database. For good measure, stop and restart your service tiers as well.
If you’re also installing the executables, you can do that now, or you can wait a week for the dust to settle before proceeding with this change. This change should be made on all three databases, all clients, and all service tiers at the same time. Note that the executable install takes some special training, and you’ll need to understand those steps before starting that task.
Cumulative updates are the way to maintain your NAV version and reduce the defects you encounter. However, they require expertise and can be a lot of work for your IT team, your consultants, and your staff. That’s why it is important to treat them like any IT project, with appropriate planning and preparation. When done properly, they add a higher degree of quality to your strongest IT asset – you Dynamics NAV ERP system.
For more information on how you can receive cumulative updates and how we can help, contact ArcherPoint.