Battling Sage Line 50 network performance issues

by Andre Vaux

Andre is Managing Director at claireLOGIC – a business which delivers IT and Communications services to businesses in the UK.

We have seen another client with issues with Sage Line 50 in a multiuser environment. Sage of course will blame “the environment” and tell  you that you need PC/network/server upgrades.

The truth of the matter is that the database behind Sage Line 50 was never designed for multi-user network access. Sage Line 50 operates on a flat file database system. Sage 50 should really be on SQL by now – this way the client would request the data, SQL would query and find it and return it to the client without pulling lots of data across your network. But it’s doubtful that Sage 50 will move to SQL – the opportunity to upsell to the next version makes more money for them.

Best tips for Sage 50 network multi-user usage

Here’s what we found in our tests and some tips for optimisation in an environment using Sage 50:

  1. Exclude all Sage data and program files from antivirus scanning.
  2. Store the Sage data share on a machine that does not have someone sitting at it. It’s better for all machines to access the data in the same way i.e. network access as opposed to a mixture of network and direct disk access from the console).
  3. Ensure all Sage clients are accessing the share via a mapped drive and not a UNC path.
  4. Ensure you are using gigabit Ethernet (recommended but a bit hit and miss – see below).
  5. If you are using Windows Vista or 7, disable the network autotune feature.

Sage and the Gigabit Ethernet myth

Gigabit Ethernet is a bit hit and miss though – the Sage 50 program does not use the available bandwidth. To test this we had 2 machines – A & B.

We tested the bandwidth available by copying a large file from machine A to machine B across the gigabit network (the file was actually Win XP SP3) using Windows Explorer  and UNC paths. Looking at the Task Manager Network monitor we could see the utilisation was a healthy 15% (well healthy for two desktop machines on gigabit!).

Then using Task Manager Network monitor again we observed the bandwidth in use in Sage 50 with the data stored on machine A and the Sage 50 client on machine B. Even when Sage 50 appeared to lock up or act really slowly, the bandwidth in use never rose about 4%. So Sage just doesn’t use the bandwidth available. Much of the reason for this will be down to the TCPIP window / MTU and that some of the data files are small (lots of small files take longer to copy than a large big one).

So although it’s possible to improve user experience a bit, it will never be that great. It’s a shame really.


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