Sage 50 Upgrade to 200 or Alternative?

Hi, only just joined the forum tonight so apologies if I am going over old ground with this one.

We are a small limited company with 8 staff running Sage 50 Accounts 2012. We have recently experienced a lot of hanging in the system and a couple of corruptions in a 5 week period which has resulted in us having to reinstall a backup and input 2 days work again which isn't exactly ideal.

After speaking to Sage support on several occasions regarding the issue they have offered several solutions including upgrading our network switch and cards, clearing audit trails and even not using a microwave near a system running wirelessly.!!

The general consensus seems to be that we have too many "splits" or transactions in the system (currently around 160,000) and once Sage 50 goes beyond 100,000 transactions by default we are going to experience system hanging and data corruption.

Sage have therefore suggested that we should really look at upgrading to Sage 200 but as a basic starting point they are talking about a cost of £25k to upgrade and I'm sure once this is "tailored" to our business we can probably add at least another £10k to the figure plus the cost of annual support.

As a brief overview to our business we sell online and use a 3rd party Sage add-on called Tradebox which brings in all the orders from the various web sites and posts them as Sales Orders in Sage. This therefore generates around 3000 orders a month with associated payments and hence the reason why we have gone beyond the 100,000 "limit"

So the million dollar question is.

Do we carry on with Sage 50 and try and clear some data and is there a 3rd party add on that can process the online orders and then just link to Sage and bring in the financial data to reduce the transactions going through Sage

If we decide to upgrade from Sage 50 is there a more cost effective viable solution than Sage 200 bearing in mind we don't need a fancy CRM system we just need something that can handle large volumes of orders. We would ideally however like a solution that offers better stock control than Sage 50.

Any comments/sugggestions appreciated.

Regards

Richard

 

 

Comments
petersaxton's picture

Clear data

petersaxton | | Permalink

I'm not an expert but I feeling is that they want your money for very little use to you.

I would think that your best bet is to backup your data and have old data on another machine - I'm not sure whether that will be an extra cost - and clear as much data as is practical.

You may have similar problems with other programs.

I don't trust most salesman.

If you are seriously considering 200 then I would ask for a demonstration and trial for a few weeks.

Data

johndon68 | | Permalink

Before I start, in the interests of transparency, I'm the principle developer of Tradebox.

Sage will, of course, advise that you need Sage 200 as it means more revenue for them...

I have no idea where this 'limit' of 100,000 transactions has come from although it seems to be talked about more and more albeit generally when trying to persuade someone to upgrade from 50 to 200.  I worked at Sage for 9 years (I left in 2005) in various roles most of which involved Sage 50 and this limit was never mentioned.  The underyling database for Sage 50 hasn't changed in 15 years so if this wasn't a problem in 2005 it certainly shouldn't be one now.

I've seen more than one set of data with in excess of 1,000,000 transaction records and no signs of data corruption.  I've also seen data with 10,000 transactions that did have corruption.  One of the other things I do is offer a data fixing service and, over the last 2 years, have dealt with dozens of datasets and I've found no specific correlation between the number of transactions and the likelyhood of corruption occurring.

You could do far worse than download this Sage 50 'health check' program: http://www.adeptcom.co.uk/L50hc.htm and see what sort of results you get.  Note that the program is not mine although the guy who wrote it is a very well respected Sage Developer of many years standing in th Developer Community.

As for potentially clearing data, the problem here is that the only way to remove transactions from the Audit Trail is to run the Clear Audit Trail routine which only removes fully reconciled and paid transactions prior to a given date Sage do not recommend running in the current financial year so you'd still be left with at least 12 months worth of transactions which, given the volume you are processing, still mean a lot of data.

As for your 'million dollar question':

"Do we carry on with Sage 50 and try and clear some data and is there a 3rd party add on that can process the online orders and then just link to Sage and bring in the financial data to reduce the transactions going through Sage"

As you'll know, Tradebox creates invoices or orders in Sage and, when they are updated, the transactions are created.  Even without Tradebox, the financial transactions would still need to be created so you'd not, in real terms, actually have any less data in Sage. 

Each ledger has it's own data files so, for example, lets assume that you did not use Tradebox at all and all the financial transactions were entered manually.  Whilst you'd have no records in the invoice data files, you'd still have 160,000 records in the financial data files so you'd still have the same problem that you have now and Sage would still try to sell you the upgrade to Sage 200.

John

Unrealistic limits

taxrebel | | Permalink

I agree with John.  I have experience of companies with 350,000+ transactions and 10 simultaneous users and they have no problems.  Your volumes alone are not a persuasive reason to upgrade.

Poor performance and frequent corruption are more often a result of the Sage network implementation.

There are two ways of running Sage "across a network":

1.  Install Sage on all client PC's and access shared files on the server.  In this way, each PC is running Sage.  When a user performs any activity there are literally thousands of I/O requests going between the PC and the file server.  This means poor performance, even on gigabit networks, and if a PC has a problem during an update, there's a good chance of corruption.  This is the recommended model by Sage and it is c**p.  They push it on clients because it is simple to support and makes their licensing model easier.

2.  Install Sage on a terminal server.   You don't run Sage on the PC's.  Each user runs their own Sage session on the server and displays it on the desktop.  Because only the server is running Sage and all the files are local, there are no network issues, performance is hugely improved, and their is no dependency on the user PCs staying "up".  If there is a problem on a PC and it disconnects during an update it doesn't matter.  The session is still running on the server and the display can be reconnected.

From a systems admin point of view this is also much preferred.  User's don't need Sage to be installed on their desktops at all.  So they can login from anywhere (even home) and always get the same experience.  And when it comes to upgrade, there is only one copy (on the server) to be upgraded.

Of course there is a cost - you need the terminal server and TS licences.  How much this is will depend on the number of simultaneous users.

All the big implementations I've come across use this approach.  If you aren't already doing it you might want to try it.

 

Finally, if you really think that the number of splits is an issue.  There may be other ways of dealing with it.  There are a number of independent developers out there who will write bespoke enhancements at modest cost.  I wouldn't think it would be too difficult to write a special routine that consolidates split transactions on (say) a monthly basis after they have been completed, and stores the detail in a separate log/csv file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hosted Sage

RussellD | | Permalink

Hi TMTCH

Disclosure: I work for Online50 who provide Sage 50 online.

We have helped a number of clients when their Sage would not run on their local network because of size or an issue with a Sage upgrade.  It may be that our system could help you also.

We host and actively promote Tradebox as well as a range of other add ons (including a growing list of those from Adept) so would will probably find that we can offer you exactly what you have at the moment but online and based on our enterprise grade servers.

It may even be possible to host your existing license.

We also host another accounting package which is for those who have outgrown Sage 50 but are not willing or able to make the investment for Sage 200.  It is available on monthly terms and can be customised quite effectively to your business.

Hope this information helps.

Russell

Original not designed for network ...

JC | | Permalink

Here we go again ..

The basic question has to be - was 50 originally designed to run as stand-alone or on a network environment? Answer NO

If it was not designed as multi-user then there will be fundamental issues which have not been addressed except in some 'half-cocked' manner as an afterthought i.e. current user, record locking, transaction rollback .. and so on as well as the underlying database engine and archaic methods or running the application

At one time they were going to offer an alternative db engine (MySQL or SQL Server - cannot recall) and I don't remember what happened to this idea

So assuming that Sage was never designed as a multi-user system you are trying to fit a round peg into a square hole - which entails all the jumping through hoops that @taxrebel has indicated above; although, option 2 has to make more sense that option 1 in terms of traffic

Nevertheless, to have to 'fake' the Sage environment so that the each user runs a separate instance of the Sage application against shared data files will always be the 'dirty' solution

In this context one needs to address the concept of multi-tenant architecture (one instance of the application) which, in one form or another is the principle behind today’s systems (SaaS etc)

Does one really need to find 'work-arounds' because some software house cannot do the job properly and has refused address todays environments because they wish to extend the life of their product well beyond its sell by date?

Yes one can cut the lawn with nail scissors but it makes far more sense to use a lawnmower!

If you insist on using Sage (there are far better products available) then it may well be an idea to speak to the people at OnLine 50 - http://www.online50.net/

Finally - why are splits an issue - surely they are simply a record in another table using a one to many relationship (hardly rocket science!); sounds like some invented excuse?

Number of splits

johndon68 | | Permalink

JC wrote:
At one time they were going to offer an alternative db engine (MySQL or SQL Server - cannot recall) and I don't remember what happened to this idea

It was going to be MYSQL and they got a long way towards release but pulled it as, in their words, 'technology had moved on' while they were developing it.  It was a shame as it did work very well with hundreds of thousands of records and in excess of 20 users at a time...

JC wrote:
Finally - why are splits an issue - surely they are simply a record in another table using a one to many relationship (hardly rocket science!); sounds like some invented excuse?

As I said in my reply - Sage use the figure of 100,000 as a mechanism to sell upgrades...

John

BigBadWolf's picture

Alternative

BigBadWolf | | Permalink

It is clear SAGE Line 50 is not up to the task - also it is apparent from the above posts that

a) SAGE support is awful, and

b) they will tell you anything to try extract more money from you 

 

So why on earth would you want to stay with SAGE and upgrade to 200???? It is a no brainer - I would look for an alternative.

 

Depending on what your requirements are - there are various better alternatives out there

 

Alternative, why?

johndon68 | | Permalink

BigBadWolf wrote:
It is clear SAGE Line 50 is not up to the task

On what basis do you make that statement?  I've spoken with the OP at length about this on the phone this morning and Sage is more than capable of handling the volumes in question and currently meets all his needs, not withstanding Sage's attempts to sell an unnecessary upgrade...

BigBadWolf wrote:
It is a no brainer - I would look for an alternative.

Not a no brainer at all, as stated in the OP, a 3rd party program, Tradebox, is also being used to process online orders in to Sage - it links only with Sage 50 so can't easily be replaced...

John

BigBadWolf's picture

Alternative - Why not?

BigBadWolf | | Permalink

johndon68 wrote:

BigBadWolf wrote:
It is clear SAGE Line 50 is not up to the task

On what basis do you make that statement?  I've spoken with the OP at length about this on the phone this morning and Sage is more than capable of handling the volumes in question and currently meets all his needs, not withstanding Sage's attempts to sell an unnecessary upgrade...

BigBadWolf wrote:
It is a no brainer - I would look for an alternative.

Not a no brainer at all, as stated in the OP, a 3rd party program, Tradebox, is also being used to process online orders in to Sage - it links only with Sage 50 so can't easily be replaced...

John

 

On what basis do you make that statement?

The fact that the OP has trouble getting SAGE to run properly, with no solution offered by SAGE!!!!!! UMMM do try and keep up!

 

It links only with Sage 50 so can't easily be replaced? - 

You are just scared of loosing a customer - there are other services out there such as OneSaas, Carry the One, Unleashed  that can be used to sync web orders with accounting systems like Xero, Freshbooks, Freeagent etc.. So can very easily be replaced!

Alternatives

johndon68 | | Permalink

BigBadWolf wrote:
The fact that the OP has trouble getting SAGE to run properly, with no solution offered by SAGE!!!!!! UMMM do try and keep up!

As I said, I've physically spoken at length to the OP and the problem we discussed was actually nothing to do with the volume of data - in this case, unfortunately, I suspect that Sage have gone off on a tangent when the volume of transactions was mentioned rather than sticking with the actual issue as they've seen a chance for an upgrade...

Based on the customer's requirements (bear in mind I know exactly what they are having spoken to him), the combination of Sage and Tradebox fits exactly, I can see no reason for him to move from a system that he has invested in heavily in terms of both time and money.

BigBadWolf wrote:
You are just scared of loosing a customer

Not in the slightest I'm afraid, I may be the developer (i.e. the programmer) of Tradebox but it is not my company, I run a completely separate company and I do the development on a contract basis, the loss of one customer would make absolutely no difference to me whatsoever...

Of course there are alternatives (Tradebox have had customers move to other systems and, likewise, have taken on customers who have moved from the likes of Kashflow) out there but the fact here is that the existing system is just fine.

John

 

BigBadWolf's picture

Alternatives

BigBadWolf | | Permalink

johndon68 wrote:

but the fact here is that the existing system is just fine.

John

 

 

if the system was performing fine - would the OP be voicing concerns on performance here?

Did you miss the bit where he was unhappy about  "a lot of hanging in the system and a couple of corruptions in a 5 week period which has resulted in us having to reinstall a backup and input 2 days work again which isn't exactly ideal."

 

Why put up with poor performance, even poorer support and devious sales tactics? Vote with you feet - and switch software to something like Xero or kashflow + addon!

Alternatives

johndon68 | | Permalink

BigBadWolf wrote:
Did you miss the bit where he was unhappy about

And did you miss the bit were I said I've actually spoken to him at length, not just read a thread on a forum?  The performance issues/hanging are in the process of being solved by the use of some diagnostic tools that will identify potential problem areas with the network.  For example, SMB2 was, I believe, turned on on the client machines and even Microsoft acknowledge that this causes data corruption - turning it off may well turn out to solve the hanging and corruption issues.

BigBadWolf wrote:
Why put up with poor performance, even poorer support and devious sales tactics? Vote with you feet - and switch software to something like Xero or kashflow + addon!

Of course (and believe me you'll get no argument from me on this one), this is the sort of support that Sage should have offered in the first place, it should not have had to come from a 3rd party.  For them to have stated that data corruption was inevitable with the volume of transactions in question simply beggars belief.

However, you are making the assumption (without ever having spoke to the customer about his requirements) that there is an alternative.  The OP has used Sage for years so knows it, and it's 'foibles' well, has multiple members of staff who also use it and are familiar with the 3rd party software being used, moving to another system is not that straighforward...

For example, you mention moving to Kashflow as an option - the customer sells on Amazon and, at the moment, Kashflow does not have automated Amazon integration (there may be add ons that do it but that is yet another piece of software to learn), his existing system gives him that...

 

I suspect that we are never going to agree on this one :)

John

 

 

Sage 50 Upgrade?

tbayliss | | Permalink

Richard, every one knows the proverb "If it ain't broke don't fix it" but some people on this forum have their own: "if you have any problems with Sage, don't bother trying to fix it - replace it". That's as bad as the "advice" you got from Sage support. There are plenty of good alternatives to Sage 50 out there and one of those may even be best for you long term, but they will cost you time as well as money in training/data transfer as well as the software cost and it won't be done overnight, so look at the fixing options too.

By the way, I'm not a network expert, but that suggestion about microwaves and wireless is very odd. I would say don't use wireless at all for networking Sage. Not only is it much slower than wired, but wireless is far more likely to give you connection problems which could lead to corrupt data. Wireless works fine for some things and would probably be OK if you're using a terminal server or a hosted solution like Online50 (both suggested above), but for the sake of a bit of cabling, why risk it?

Tony Bayliss

BigBadWolf's picture

Data Transfer

BigBadWolf | | Permalink

I just received an email from http://movemybooks.com/ - an online service that handles the conversion from Sage L50 to Xero - for just £90+VAT, coupled with one of these add ons: http://www.xero.com/advisors/solutions/ecommerce/  will mean you are up and running in no time - contrary to Tony's assertions.

 

Also the various other benefits of Xero, such as automated bank and credit card feeds, the employee expense claims features, management reporting etc...  and also the fact that it is cloud based, (which means no back up, upgrade, network or data corruption issues to deal with like sage), mean that it genuinely offers a better alternative to Sage.

 

@ Tony - the OP asked for suggestions on Alternatives to Sage (the clue is in the title) hence one was suggested. 

"If it ain't broke don't fix it" - it's clear it was broke - he could either try and fix it (without the help of Sage) or replace it something better and ditch a company that treat its customers as Sage does.

neale's picture

Sage line 50 Upgrade or alternative

neale | | Permalink

Hi I have recently joined and read the above comments with interest

We have been helping small manufacturing business by developing sage Line 50  add ons for a while and it's a lot cheaper than up grading to 200 and still having a problem. We often work with MAS (Manufacturing advisory service).

With regards to the above points it's true to say a number of concurrent users of sage can cause a problem due to no record locking but I only have knowledge of one other company that has experienced corruption and have worked with hundreds of small manufacturing companies over the years so I would look closely at the existing network and in particular remove any WiFi access for updating sage. If the database is used by more than one user I would either put the Sage database on a server machine or at least a dedicated PC running windows 7 or XP Pro that is acting as a small server.

Our last 2 projects were specifically related to sage line 50 and small manufacturing companies where most of the sales and manufacturing was managed outside of sage and then using the Sage developers tool kit we simply wrote information automatically and real time back into the sage database for accounts.

We even managed to obtain a grant towards the cost on the grounds that it would help the business grow.

If this is of interest to you p[lease contact me for further information.          

Solution...

johndon68 | | Permalink

I've spoken to the OP since this thread took off and, following a couple of suggestions I made earlier on and a tweak to the network settings, all is well and Sage is performing as it should.

John

Follow up :18 months on did your tweaks work out?

GreenFigures | | Permalink

Hi, thanks everyone, I found this a really useful and content rich thread. 18 months on is a good time to ask - how did it work out?

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