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Creating Linked SQL Servers

Posted on 2016-09-12
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Last Modified: 2016-09-20
Our consultant firm for Dynamics GP is wanting to charge us for 15 hours to create a linked server between two SQL servers.  How can that possibly take 15 hours?
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Question by:Bill Lalor
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by:Megan Brooks
ID: 41795336
Are you asking "what can possibly go wrong?"

Setting up an insecure linked server can be pretty quick. I have never had the time or patience to get a secure link working, but then I have been able to use SSIS (or DTS before that) and have never needed a linked server. It sounds like you don't have a choice.
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Steve Endow earned 500 total points
ID: 41795360
Hi Bill,

It depends on what the 15 hour proposal includes.  What is "in scope"?

If your SQL servers are both on the same LAN at the same site and the project does not include anything other than actually linking the SQL Server, then 15 hours seems ludicrous, and might be a sign that your GP partner doesn't know what they are doing.  I just linked two of my development SQL Server instances in under 60 seconds, which included me looking up where to find the Linked Servers folder in Management Studio (since I rarely do it).  In the real world, it could potentially take a few hours of back and forth communication to coordinate security, logins, permissions, etc. on the remote server, plus time to setup and test it, but 15 hours would be a stretch just for that one task.

On the other hand, if linking the SQL Servers is just one small task of a larger project, then sure, it could easily require up to 15 hours to complete.  

For instance, if you have a server off site or hosted at a data center, or as Megan notes, if the connection requires security (such as a VPN), then that will likely take several hours just to sort out how to best setup the connection.  And if that 15 hour estimate includes time to test connectivity to the remote databases and research databases and tables and sort out extra security on those objects, that would take more time.  And if the project involves having a query or report that retrieves data from the remote server, there's several hours more.  If it involves any replication of data from one server to another, then that's even more time.  If all of those tasks are "in scope" for the project, then sure, 15 hours might be a very reasonable estimate.

If you don't know what the 15 hours includes, I would ask for a Statement of Work / Proposal that clearly outlines what the consultant will be doing for you, and a breakdown for how those 15 hours will be used.  That type of proposal document should be easy for them to write up and submit to you for your review and approval.

If the proposal doesn't seem to justify the estimated hours, you can get another GP consultant or firm to look at it and give you a second opinion.  There are lots of GP partners and consultants who could review it.

Hope this helps.  Let me know how it goes.

Thanks,

Steve Endow
Microsoft MVP - Dynamics GP
Dynamics GP Certified IT Professional
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by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 41795518
Ask them to justify those 15h (that's about 2 days of work).
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by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 41804370
How this ended?
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by:Bill Lalor
ID: 41806967
Hi Vitor.  I went back to the vendor and asked for a detailed work breakdown of what was intended and, the 15 hours went down to 2.
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by:Steve Endow
ID: 41807024
Bill,

That is fantastic news! Interesting how a simple question can produce a discount of 87%.

It sounds like your intuition was right on, and you were right to question the hours.

Thanks for the update.

Steve
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by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 41808139
I went back to the vendor and asked for a detailed work breakdown of what was intended and, the 15 hours went down to 2.
This is not good for the vendor trying to cheat their customers. Luckily you are smarter than them.
Cheers
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