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Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics NAV Administration
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8761EN_Microsoft Dynamics NAV Administration Authors: Sharan Oberoi, Amit Sachdev

Publisher: PACKT

ISBN: 978-1-84719-876-1

Published: September 2010

Once upon a time you couldn’t get books on Dynamics NAV for love nor money, then in October 2007 PACKT published David Studebaker’s book Programming Microsoft Dynamics NAV. I read David’s book and wrote a review (http://gaspodethewonderdog.blogspot.com/2007/12/book-review-programming-microsoft.html) and became inspired to co-write my own book on Dynamics NAV.

Things are very different now; there are loads of books on Dynamics NAV for everyone covering Programming, Implementing, Designing, Cooking, and now Administrating. OK so maybe not cooking, but there is a programming cookbook which I reviewed on this blog (http://www.teachmenav.com/blogs/dave/archive/2010/11/28/book-review-microsoft-dynamics-nav-2009-programming-cookbook.aspx).

With so many books around, you may be wondering what this new book from Canadian-based authors Sharan and Amit offers that can’t be found elsewhere. This is the first book on Dynamics NAV that appears to be aimed squarely at beginners. I can see how this book may appeal to someone who has landed a job with a company that uses Dynamics NAV and wants a quick guide to some of the capabilities of the product and a high level view of how to perform some admin tasks. The book covers essential tasks like creating new users and assigning security permissions, taking backups and restoring backups, and importing programming modifications from a FOB file delivered by a partner. This is all useful stuff for anyone working as a system administrator for NAV. There are only 175 pages (not including index and preface) spread over nine chapters with lots of screen images so it’s not going to take you long to read this.

According to the blurb on the PACKT site, “this book is a tutorial guide that illustrates the steps needed to install, configure, deploy, and administer Dynamics NAV”. Dynamics NAV is a very complex system and this book does not even begin to cover all of the various tasks needed to install and configure the system, but if you need to know how to run the install wizard, this book will show you how to do it and give you a bit more of an idea of what is happening. There are some fundamental things missing, like how to configure the Service Principal Names (SPNs) needed to allow the system to run on three separate machines (SQL Server, NAV Server, and Client); however, this topic is well covered in the MSDN Library (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd301254.aspx?ppud=4).

There was an interesting section on virtualisation, but like the rest of the book, it doesn’t go in to a great amount of detail. I guess for an administrator, this lack of detail is a good thing as you don’t want to get bogged down with pages and pages of technicalities, but you’re not going to be able to fly solo on most of these topics without getting help from a partner or reading some of the other material available through Customer Source, the online help, or the MSDN library.

Coincidentally, I used to work with one of the authors, Sharan Oberoi, when he worked for Ernst and Young in New Zealand, so I feel I need to focus on the positive aspects of this book and not dwell on the areas where, for me, it fell short. At times I felt as though I was reading a giant product brochure from Microsoft about Dynamics NAV, but on a more positive note, this book provides a good introduction to a wide variety of topics that may be of interest to a systems administrator.

Posted 12-31-2010 4:18 p.m. by David Roys
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