Dynamics AX
  RSS Feed  LinkedIn  Twitter
Want to turn you're data into a true asset? Ready to break free from the report factory?
Ready to gain true insights that are action focused for truly data informed decisions?
Want to do all of this across mutliple companies, instances of Dynamics and your other investments?
Hillstar Business Intelligence is the answer then! (www.HillstarBI.com)

Hillstar Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics AX and NAV on Mobile, Desktop, Tablet

Let us prove to you how we can take the complexity out of the schema and truly enable users to answer the needed questions to run your business! Visit Hillstar Business Solutions at: www.HillstarBI.com

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sunburns and Sandals

Well it's that time of year, about the only time I get to go for some 'Sunburns & Sandals'.

It's beach time, and I hope you all have a great 4th of July week. I will not be writing a single thing next week, but plan on coming back strong with some great post.

This also ends the FY09 of Microsoft, and when I am back we will be in FY10. So that means we will start looking a lot closer at Dynamics AX 6.0, now being called Dynamics AX 2011. We will also be looking at pratical usage of Dynamics AX 2009, and all the possibilites that expands on.

For now though, it's kick back time... Sunburns & Sandals!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , ,

Dynamics AX - Hosting and Managed Service Provider Industry

Sunrise Technologies, Inc. has recently, just this week, released new white paper and brochure data about the exciting 'Hosting and Managed Service Provider Industry'

The link to request the new white paper, and also a recorded demo of this new vertical offering can be found at the following links.:
- Request the white paper
- Request the recorded demo

Also the direct link to the brochure can be found at the following.:
- Direct Link to the Brochure

And to look at what the full Dynamics AX solution offers, the following link from Sunrise's web site can give you nice high level details about it.:
- ERP Solution

The details found in the white paper, go over the Hosting and Managed Service Provider industry vertical offering with proven customer comments that is making use of this vertical knowledge already. It goes deep into the design, goals, and area's that most H&MSP Vertical companies are interested in and would use Dynamics AX to help manage.

I recommend taking the time, get connected with Sunrise and looking into what this offering can do for your Hosting and Managed Service Provider company or companies. Sunrise has the expertise and knowledge to give you a solution that can help give you an edge.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dynamics AX Add-on: Atlas XL

Recently I wrote about the possible reporting options that exist inside Dynamics AX 2009.

Dynamics AX 2009 - Reporting Possibilites

I did however leave one area not covered, which is important, and very useful. That area is third party applications or packages for Microsoft Office, specifically Excel add-ins.

One that I have seen used, and works great in Dynamics AX 2009 is Atlas XL developed by Globe Software Pty Ltd in Perth, Australia.

This has an integration with Dynamics AX 2009, that makes use of the .Net business connector to expose the full data model, including business logic, X++ based calculated fields.

Once the server peice is setup and the Excel Add-in is installed and configured for end users, the usage is pretty easy. Super user can create their own Ad-hoc reports, pivot tables, etc. and access company data, they have security rights too, as this takes on the security rights of the user at hand for access to Dynamics AX objects inside the instance.

There is other Excel Add-in's that exists as well, but this is one I have seen in action, and one that works with nearly all AX versions, not just 2009. I have seen this fully working though, in 2009, making it a proven product.

If your interested in Atlas XL, then feel free to contact Sunrise Technologies, Inc. as we can get this for you, set it up for your instance and get your using it.

Other than third part Excel Add-in's, it is possible to create custom OBA or Office Business Applications and Add-in's for office products like Excel. Sunrise also has the knolwedge and skillset to do this for you, if needed.

Well that all for now, I wanted to make sure and give a complete picture for reporting options with a Dynamics AX 2009 instance.

Check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dynamics AX 2009 - Reporting Possibilites

So we have talked about BI in the past few months. Went over several Microsoft tehnologies that make up the Microsoft BI platform. This includes SQL Server, Reporting Services, Analysis Services, Integration Services.

This is all the BI platform from Microsoft. And we now have started to look at how this BI platform fits in with and can be used inside Dynamics AX 2009.

The first dive into this was a pratical use for creating custom SSRS reports for a Dynamics AX 2009 instance, and looking into OLAP use for Dynamics AX 2009. (Link: Dynamics AX 2009 BI: Practical use with SSRS and looking at OLAP)

So with that we saw with Dynamics AX 2009, there is a new Visual Studio 2008, Project Template for Dynamics AX 2009 SSRS custom reports.

With showing this, and coming back around to all that we have covered with this so far, I think we are at a point to where we should look at the higher level of reporting options inside Dynamics AX, and get some higher level pros and cons about them.

So with that said, lets look at the reporting options for a Dynamics AX 2009 instance.

The point of reporting is to gain access to data that lives inside a System and it's database. This is the point of reporting with Dynamics AX 2009. To give users access to the different data they may need to perform functions, processes and help make business decisions.

So the reporting options with Dynamics AX addresses a spectrum of reporting. You can look at this as having Procedural based reporting on one end of the spectrum and Analytical reproting at the other end.

On this spectrum, there is a few different ways that reports can be created that span the above mention spectrum. The following is a high level list of these reporting options.:

Standard MorphX reports
The standard MorphX reports are the base reports that come inside Dynamics AX. Most of these are very procedural based in their nature. They are meant to delivery things like invoice journal data, Sales Order Confirmation, Invoices, etc. They serve a purpose to help fulfill a business process.

These kind of reports have the most flexibility for working with business logic, and Dynamics AX objects. They are also the most difficult to develop and modify at times, and are the older way of reporting inside Dynamics AX. (They have been around since the early Axapta days.)

You use X++, and MorphX to create, modify and work with these reports. End users can make use of custom queries and filter possibilities that can stay with that user for as long as their usage data is kept.

So this offers the most flexibility of any of the reporting options for getting at Data inside Dynamics AX. These are very developer driven reports, and super users would not be creating these.

Though this is mostly procedural based reporting, some analyical reports exists in this form, though not many.

Custom SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports
This reporting option, though could be done to some degree in earlier versions, is really just now a true offering in Dynamics AX 2009.

This makes use of a easier, Visual Studio driven development model, that .Net developer would find familiar to work with. This process creates report definition files, that are used and connect through the .Net Business Conector to work with Dynamics AX data and business logic.

The business logic can be access through using the AxaptaWrapper .Net class, that comes from making use of the .Net Business Connector and the Dynamics AX .Net Reporting Framework.

This is not as complex to create, makes use of a report designer that is easy to use, drag and drop possibility, and real flexible in design and layout possibilities.

This also executes on a SSRS server, which can offload some of the report generation from the AOS itself.

You don't have as much flexibility with this option as a standard report, for example the custom Qeuries for filtering a report, that are user driven can not be used. The developer of these custom SSRS reports must give access to filtering through the report design.

This option offers the ability to create procedural based or analyical based reports in nature. OLAP cubes, KPI's, etc. can be access and added as sources of information for building reports here.

Report Builder / Ad-Hoc Report Creation
This option first came to exists in DAX 4.0, and has been improved in Dynamcis AX 2009.

This makes use of the perspectives node inside the AOT, to expose report models with to the Report Server. This option is targeted at super users who want to get at report data quickly, and in an ad-hoc nature.

This makes use of the SQL Server Reporting Services - Report Builder tool, and based on your instance and the deployed perspectives, will govern what report models your super users can access to look and report on data.

This is very much a drag and drop ability, and meant to be a design so the super users don't have to know the data model.

This is the most limited of the reporting option, and that understandable as this is Ad-hoc, and not meant to give all access to everything. The biggest limit is access to the X++ calculated fields inside Dynamics AX. Those fields that are not just a single table field, but calculated depending on a number of different variables.

The point of this though is to get super user the ability to gain access to around 80% of the reporting data needed. If more is needed, then they can get with thier IT staff to deliver a custom SSRS report for the full amount of data.

This reporting option, like the one before, can offer Procedural and Analytical in nature reports. Access to Cube and Procedural perspectives allow access to different data, and the different data and relations that might exists.

SQL Server BI Development Studio (BIDS)
This is the out of the box tool that most standard Microsoft BI projects use to create reports with. This is also used to create and manage OLAP cubes and OLAP database, and create and managed SSIS packages and logic.

For the report creation this is direct access to the SQL Server database, and now interaction with Dynamics AX itself. So that is the biggest Con with using this to create reports with. No access to those, sometimes much needed X++ calculated business logic fields.

If you choose this option, and need those fields, you would have to 're-create the wheel' and duplicate that logic through T-SQL or SQL Scalar Functions.

This can be very Procedural or Analytical, depending on what your doing with BIDS. Also, BIDS is used, even if not for report creation, to manage a Dynamics AX 2009 instance OLAP cubes. To look at them, modify them, trouble shoot them, etc.

Well that's all for now. I think this is a good start to the reporting options inside Dynamics AX 20009 instance. Moving forward we will dive deeper into looking at each of these, getting some screent shots and real world examples.

See you soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekly Words of Wisdom: Satisfaction in work

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God..." - Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NIV)

So I thought it was fitting, to write this weeks topic for the weekly words of wisdom about work.

Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon goes over all the toil, and chasing after the wind. Vanity, most of it is. We can all feel that way. We all have I am sure. Why do I work as hard as I do?

We can say for our kids, and family. Which is part of the truth. You work hard to provide for them, and hope you have give them moments they can treasure.

Still that is part of it. There has to be more, and that is what Solomon realized, something that comes from the hand of God himself. That a man, being a man, human of this Earth must toil to survive. And that there is nothing better than for that man to find satification in his work, his toil. That is a gift, from God.

We all have our down weeks, we all have our tough spots. But it is a great satisfaction, when you work super hard, and see that the work is validated and valued. That, you know you worked hard, and you can rest your mind of it, because your satisfaction came in the delivery of all your skills, thoughts, and talents for the job at hand.

So, not that we should over work, or become work-o-holics. Balance is still desired. Yet when we must toil, lets give it all we have, and get that gift of satisfaction of doing so.

I mean we must toil, we must work. So anything worth doing, is worth doing good an right. I find it to be a very thankful point, that God would care enough about us, to even be in the toil we take on. To offer us true satusfaction in our work, in our toil. Just think of what else he can offer you, if such a thing is imporant to him.

Thats all for now... check back soon, and see you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Getting the most out of Dynamics AX - Performance II

Last time we talked about performnace I left off going into how performance tuning is a Dynamic string of on-going events.

Getting the most out of Dynamics AX - Performance I

"The mind set must be, it's a Dynamic set of on going events. This can't be a static thing that happens once. You don't have to deal with it everyday, but just because you get things running smooth and fast, does not mean that will last for 3-6 months. If you add a lot, change a lot, etc. then what ever is changing and adding needs to be investigated for best performance possible."

So we left off in the details of taking a look at X++ / Xpp queries. Making sure these custom implementations of data access code are not making use of nested While Select looping statments, and have covering indexes.

I also mentioned other things, but I wanted to focus this talk now on indexes. I would say, that near 80% of all major performance tuning and gains comes from adding missing indexes. Let me bold that: 80%.

The issue, even for out-of-the box tables not all required or needed indexes exist. Microsoft, nor any company, can forsee how all companies will make use of out-of-box tables.

Add custom tables, and you have the possibility for a lot of tables scans taking place, where index seeks are needed.

So how do you spot these missing indexes. A very handy SQL Server Dynamic Managed view exists. The following is a query that query this view.:

Print '*********************************************'
Print '* *'
Print '* *'
Print '* *'
Print '* *'
Print '*********************************************'

select d.*
, s.avg_total_user_cost
, s.avg_user_impact
, s.last_user_seek
from sys.dm_db_missing_index_group_stats s
,sys.dm_db_missing_index_groups g
,sys.dm_db_missing_index_details d
where s.group_handle = g.index_group_handle
and d.index_handle = g.index_handle
order by s.avg_user_impact desc

What I find myself doing is adding to the where clause and statement like '%[Insert DAX Database here]%' which helps focus me into the given Dynamics AX database at hand.

Having this information, mixed with information feed from the Profiler, and word of mouth from the users on processes that are slow can really help identify missing indexes for a database.

Once you have some target missing indexes, you need to take these with a grain of salt. Analyze them, look at them and see if they make sense. Test them out. Then Do Not create them via SQL Server. These need to be created within Dynamics AX 2009 itself. Once they are, re-run the missing indexes query above, and your index will no longer be in the list.

A word of advice here, this shows the missing indexes, number of compiles, etc. from the last time the SQL Server Service was shut down. So if your SQL Server was recently shut down, this information will not be to valid, until a full day of processing has ran.

On top of the Missing indexes DMV, there are plenty more area's to look at for SQL Server based performance.

What you want to keep in mind is that the point of clustered and non-clustered, covering indexes, exist to make the result set and look up time by the SQL Server engine reduced.

If you have a select statement, with a where clause and no index exists that has those where clause columns and table scan will be ran. That is most costly. However if you have a clustered index (physical ordering of the table and page files) and then covering indexes, the engine can perform an index seek. That is the desired approach, to be able to look at a query plan for a compiled, executed query and see index seeks across the board.

Alright, in the next part of this series we will continue with getting the most out of your Dynamics AX 2009 instance. Next time we focus on the AOS!

Check back soon, as more great post are to follow!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Super busy this week

This upcoming week, I am going to be very, very busy. I will do my best to get some good post up still.

Just wanted to give a heads up, it's rock and roll time, always is in June. (End of Microsoft FY09.)

Check back later this week!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Microsoft Interoperability Labs

Do you find yourself in an enterprise or environment where it’s not just 100% Microsoft platform, but a host of different databases, applications, programming languages, frameworks, etc.?

Also your staring down this new road of the 'Cloud', and everything ‘Must work on any device from any level, being that cloud, on site, mobile or at home’ And wonder how that can be the case when there are so many different languages, platforms, etc?

Check this out: Microsoft Interoperability Labs

This is the Microsoft Interop Bridge Labs page, that goes into examples. Just check some of these: Azure SDK for Java - .Net services, PHP for Azure, etc. etc.

These are some of the bridges, and technology interops that can be looked into and developed with. Deployed for just such ‘how’s’ were you are faced with an enterprise that does not have a common platform. Where technology need to bridge systems that span different programming concepts, langauges and even approachs.

There is plenty to look into on that Lab site. The thing that I want you to think about here, is the possibilities or support that exist for when you have, say a Dynamics AX instance that needs to connect to a Java custom package, and there is a PHP driven ECommerce site. This can be bridged, and exist, and this Microsoft lab is there to help in such needs arise.

It worth the time to check out, and keep an eye on from time to time, as you never know when such SDK's, libraries and bridge technologies can be used to help you out.

Well that's all for now, check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Weekly words of Wisdom: Being Humble

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)

A man's pride brings him low,
but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. - Proverbs 29:23

Humility brings wisdom, prides brings disgrace. After yesterday's post, where I found out I was on this Top 100 list, and as I was reading through the names on that list and typing my blog post, thinking about vainity and being humble hit me.

I have seen with my own eyes, through my own life that the above is very true. If you pride yourself up on the things 'you' have done, disgrace will follow. However being humble, does bring wisdom.

It opens yourself up to realize that it's not about 'you', but about God and those around you. Then you can learn, and gain wisdom, as your pride does not get in your way, and cause you lack of wisdom, which in turn will cause disgrace.

It's not that you can't be thankful, I am thankful to have been placed on that list. It's not that you can't enjoy 'a win' or victory of when a job well done has taking place. It's being prideful, in that 'I did something', and not really giving thought to who all was involved for you to be where you are.

You hear people giving glory to God on high. It's not just a saying, that is the boasting point. Without God, I would not have been giving the abilities, and the possibilities to even do what I have done. Without those in my life, my wife, kids, etc. I would not be supported and driven to work hard... trust me, I know myself. :-)

And without those team mates that help us with wins, overcome obstacles, that I am a small part of where we are all part of the team, then it would all be impossible.

So, being humble, I am so very thankful to YHWH God, Christ my Lord, my family, my friends, and my team mates. Not because my name ends up on a list, but for giving me the life experiences, ability to learn, love, cry, laugh, and create momments that are my treasures in heaven.

So this weeks words of wisdom, being humble brings wisdom, being full of pride will lead you to fall.

Check back soon, as more post on Dynamics AX are coming. See you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dynamicsworld - Microsoft Dynamics Top 100 Influential People


I just came across something very interesting. There is a new website called DynamicsWorld

This site, as part of it's launch, has created a list of the top 100 Microsoft Dynamics most influential people in the world. How this was done is briefly talked about, and I am not sure the science behind it, as the actual data for the final ranking is not provided.

However I found that I was listed on there, at number 83.:


Brandon George

Microsoft Technical Evangilist Evangelist, promoting the Microsoft platforms, focused on the Dynamics AX platform, SQL Server 2005, SharePoint Services. Most famous for the blog dynamics-ax.blogspot.com which now is regularly read by 2000 people.

Here is the direct link to that page: The list continues with those from number 61 through to number 100

I also focus on a lot of other things that surrond Dynamics AX, and SQL Server 2008, not just SQL Server 2005. Plus not sure how they got the 2000 people being regular readers? This blog, has on average, of over 7k+ unique vistors a month now for 2009, and growing! (Thanks to all the readers!)

Either way I feel honored to be listed, there are a lot of "big" names on this list that I am next too. Thank you DynamicsWorld.co.uk!


The following is listed on the page as how this list was compiled.:

1) How many people are affected in Microsoft Dynamics by their decisions.

2) How many people do they have regular contact with in the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

3) How long have they been involved in the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

4) How many certifications do they have.

5) How much positive feedback we got from our forums and voting phonelines

"Our list editors were Ashen Ali, Steven Alspberg, Wiraiwan Changhai,Trevor Ishmail, Callum Murray and Harry Patterson."

Well lets see what this site ends up being about. Interesting start their DynamicsWorld.co.uk, and good luck!

Check back soon, as more great post are coming.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MSDW: Put Your Dynamics ERP House in Order: Prepare Now for the Economic Rebound

Over at MSDynamicsWorld.com, a new article was posted. This article goes over five area's in which a company needs to focus on, in order to 'Get their (respective) ERP House in Order.'

The five area's covered are:

  • Invest in training

  • Clean up transactional and master data

  • Get your software up-to-date (version, service packs)

  • Implement modules or 3rd party apps you've been putting off

  • Assess and document your technical infrastructure and determine if any hardware upgrades are required

The full article can be found, by clicking here: MSDW: Put Your Dynamics ERP House in Order: Prepare Now for the Economic Rebound

I agree with Frank, now is the best time to upgrade your ERP, or implement that new functionality. The recovery is in the works, and those companies that move quickly and take advantage of this current time, can use that to jump ahead of the pack.

Thanks Frank, and MSDynamicsWorld.com! Also, I realize I said we would pick back up on the performance talks last week. I have not forgotten about this, I am super busy. I will be picking back up on this very soon, so check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dynamics AX 2009 - One year since release

Well it's hard to believe, but Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 has now been offically released for one year.

Here is the post I did on it's release date:
Dynamics AX 2009 - Released

Now we have SP1 out for Dynamics AX 2009, SP2 on the way and looking toward AX 6.0 and what will be new and improved in that.

Dynamcis AX 2009 brought more of Microsoft's product stack into the mix, or at least more tightly integrated. With it we gain the use of SQL Server 2008, Windows Workflow, Calling Windows Communication services and web services native through the AOT references. BI got a big jump in this release, with SSRS becoming even more the report standard, and OLAP usage and ability was increased.

Also Dynamics AX 2009 has brought a new information worker user experience with the use of Role Center, which happens to make use of the Enterprise Portal Framework.

Going back to the BI, this is really a great area of improvement, again with SSRS with now you can take Visual Studio 2008, .Net 3.5 and a new VS Project Template for Dynamics for Reporting and create, deploy and add to the AOT SSRS reports with.

The performance of the AOS, for scaling, RAM usage, etc. was increased. The Batch framework was changed so batch jobs could be processed using a AOS server to execute as a service, vs. using a client lic and session to do so.

All in all there were several improvements that came with Dynamics AX 2009, and now with a year of it being released, we can start to look for a lot more value added improvements for it in SP2 and also in the next release.

So happy Birthday Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009! Here's to the future!

Check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Proverbs 10:19

19 "When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise." - Proverbs 10:19 (NIV)

I was reading from proverbs today, going through and found the above passage. It really stuck out at me. I have read this same verse before, on different occasions and today it just called out.

Someone once said "God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak."

I think that saying is saying about the same thing proverbs 10:19 is trying to teach us. We should hold our tongues more, and talk less. We can learn more when doing so. We can *not* jump to conclusions when things are being said in haste, and in doing so reply in calm, collective wisdom.

I think this a lesson for everyone, YHWH God above knows I need it reminded to me. Our mouths can get us in trouble so quickly, and words can be just as sharp as a sword, and the wounds can last twice as long.

When we speak, we can either add to the value or something or take away from it. And the subject, sometimes, can be very personal. So I know I am thankful to have read this passage again today, and pray that YHWH God and Christ our Lord guide me so that I take this verse and carry it with me.

This way I will hold my tongue more, or Listen at least twice as much as I speak.

God bless, and check back soon as more great post are coming out!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sunrise Microsoft Dynamics AX expertise for the Hosting and Managed Services Provider industry

Sunrise Technologies, Inc., has taken their expertise in Microsoft Dynamics AX to provide a vertical solution for the Hosting & Managed Services Provider ('H&MSP') industry.

The direct link to information about this offering can be found here:
Sunrise Hosting and Managed Service Providers vertical solution - home page.

Some of the highlights of the solution are:
- Product Management
- Sales Management
- Operations Management
- Billing Management
- Financial Management
- Human Resources Management

To get a glimpse into one of these highlights, let’s look at the “product management” area:

"Manage and model server and service solutions. The module includes out of the box capability to publish and present modeled solutions directly to your commerce website. Manage solution prices for base offerings, discounts, and promotions. Complex pricing capabilities include pricing per customer, product, specified time frame or based on volume-based purchasing."

As you can see, this is highly targeted at those companies that would consider themselves a “Hosting & Managed Services Provider”, or other technology focused company.

There is already a case study that has been completed for a successful implementation, for LayeredTech. The direct link to download that PDF can be found here: LayeredTech Case Study for Microsoft Dynamics AX / Sunrise

A brief intro to this case study is seen here.:
"Layered Tech was looking for a more robust framework for company growth by integrating data from multiple independent customer and accounting systems into a unified solution. With the help of Sunrise and the fully integrated Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP, Layered Tech now has an advanced, automated management and accountability system linking its sales, client services, procurement, inventory, and general ledger areas."

A link to the latest case studies from Sunrise can be found here:
Sunrise Technologies, Inc. - Case Studies

If you’re in need of a very focused vertical solution and a partner that can deliver the vertical expertise that your company’s business requirements demands, then contact Sunrise Technologies, Inc. by going to our contact page: Sunrise Technologies, Inc. - Contact Page

Well that's all for now, check back soon as more great posts are coming! See you then.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, June 01, 2009

Getting the most out of Dynamics AX - Performance I

Alright, so last week I left you would a post about SSRS performance and scaling. This was to kind of wrap up the long series I have been doing on SSRS, which is a part of Dynamics AX BI and Reporting.

I will continue to write about reporting, and get into more pratical post about it. I wanted to also take the time to start a new series of post 'Getting the most out of Dynamics AX - Performance'.

In this series of post, what I would like to do is talk about performance tuning a Dynamics AX instance. I have thought about my approach to this and considered several different ways.

After looking at this from different ways, I want to address this topic in the manor in which this topic exists, Dynamically.

So in order to deliver a series of Dynamic post about performance tunning and scaling of a Dynamics AX instance, we have to look at this from a scenario approach.

Before we get into the first scenario though, it's important to understand what I mean by 'addess this topic in the manor in which this topic exists.'

What I mean by that statement is that performance tunning is not a single, clear, happyily wrapped box. It's a very Dynamic, instance specific on-going series of events that happens over the lifetime of an instance.

There are certain tools that are used in common across instances, like SQL Server Profiler and the Data Tunning Engine. Like using Query Plans to analyze use of fields, indices, etc. Also taking account events, and performance bench marks about CPU, Disk and Network I/O, RAM usage and need, etc. etc.

All of this must come into play, and you must be able to paint in your head with these tools, logs and so forth a picture of the performance your given Dynamics AX instance is experincing at the time.

So lets take a given scenario now and move from there:

You started out with a single, decent size SQL Server, two AOSes, and a few custom applications. Your concurrent users stayed at 50 or below. But now it's been over 1.5 years since you went live, a lot more custom reports and code has been done by your internal staff and you VAR. You also have 100+ concurrent users. MRP and other processes are running a long time, and custom code, processes and report ar taking extreme amounts of time to complete.

What to you do?

First you need to take and write down a list of all the processes, including reports and noting modules and times that are slowing down or taking a while to complete.

Then you need to take that information, and build yourself a plan of attack for what to look for.

While your building your plan of attack start your SQL Server Profiler Trace run, and make sure to get all the right columns and objects. Also make sure to start performance monitoring for CPU, RAM, Disk and Network on your SQL Server.

Let things run for around 4-8 hours depending on how serve, and how much data your Profiler trace is capturing. Take this captured information, along with your performance information and now you can load both up into profiler and look at the times reported slow downs are taking place.

Then attack the known processes and reports that have slowed down, and look at the queries that are executed as part of those. Use the Data Tunning Advisor on those queries, making sure correct indexes exist, noting ones that need to be created and creating them.

The idea, if you can tell from what I am saying so far is start with your SQL Server database. And look at the interaction between AOS / Dynamics AX and SQL Server Database. This means look at XppSQL, making sure that there is not a lot of unneeded while select looping statments. Making sure that there are covering indexes for your where clauses, and that you make use of joins.

Again, focus on the SQL Server, but that also means the code that is being executed from the AOS and the objects they are hitting or should be hitting (like missing indexes).

There is plenty of information on the web for how to use the SQL Server Profiler, how to read a Query plan, and make use of the DTA. Just keep in mind, with all the information, you have to read into to it. Don't just randomly accept the suggestions from the tools, like DTA. Investigate if what is being suggested is valid.

The other side to this SQL Server focus is looking at the possibility that you need to increase the RAM on the SQL Server, or maybe CPU power. The performance monitor will tell you this.

Alright, we will stay with this scenario and dive deeper. This is a good start to think about performance, and start getting your mind around what it takes to be able to address performance problems.

The mind set must be, it's a Dynamic set of on going events. This can't be a static thing that happens once. You don't have to deal with it everyday, but just because you get things running smooth and fast, does not mean that will last for 3-6 months. If you add a lot, change a lot, etc. then what ever is changing and adding needs to be investigated for best performance possible.

I will continue this series, and stick with the scenario later this week. To make this more Dynamic, if you have questions about getting the most out of your Dynamics AX instance, feel free to leave me a comment or email me through my profile. If you leave a comment, leave a way for me to contact you. Also if you wish the comment remain private, for email spam protection, etc. make sure to note as well in the comment and I will not publish the comment.

That's all for now, see you soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Copyright 2005-2011, J. Brandon George - All rights Reserved