Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in Windows Azure (IaaS)

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in Windows Azure (IaaS)
 
Purpose: The purpose of this document is to explain how to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) using Windows Azure platform.
 
Challenge: You may want to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for the purposes of POC (Proof of concept), in case you want to have additional development or test environment, or if you are considering deploying production instance of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in the Cloud. There're number of options when deploying Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in the Cloud, it may be a Private Cloud (Company data centers), Partner Private Cloud (Partner-hosted deployment), Public Cloud (for example, Windows Azure platform) or Hybrid Cloud (when part of the infrastructure still resides On-Premises).

Solution: Windows Azure provides on-demand infrastructure that scales and adapts to your changing business needs. Whether you are creating new applications or running existing applications we provide best-in-class price-performance and end-to-end support. Please find more information about Windows Azure Infrastructure Services here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/solutions/infrastructure

Scenario

In this scenario I want to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for the purposes of POC (Proof of concept).

Walkthrough

For the purposes of this walkthrough I created Windows Azure Virtual machine with Windows Server 2012 OS and installed required Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 components on it.

I assume that you already have Windows Azure Subscription account to complete this walkthrough. In case you don't you may want to sign up for the free trial here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial

Now let's review the process step-by-step!

Virtual machines


Currently I don't have Virtual machines, so I'll go ahead and "Create a virtual machine"

Create a Virtual machine (1)


Then I'll select Windows Server 2012 Datacenter OS

Create a Virtual machine (2)


Then I'll give my Virtual machine a name and assign appropriate size

Create a Virtual machine (3)


Then I'll select preferred data center and storage account details

Create a Virtual machine (4)


Please note that you can configure endpoints and in my case I'll enable RDP endpoint

Virtual machines (Instances)


In couple of minutes the VM will be up and running

Virtual machines (Images)


Virtual machines (Disks)


Please note that VM VHD disk was also created. This is how Location URL will look like schematically (this is not a real URL): http://portalvhd.blob.core.windows.net/vhds/azureax.vhd

Cloud services


Windows Azure platform also provisioned a Cloud service

Storage


Finally Storage account has been provisioned in order to store VM VHD disks

RDP


Once we've successfully created VM and exposed RDP endpoint we can access VM using RDP

Windows Security


Active Directory Domain Controller


The first thing I have to do on the VM before installing Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 components is to install Active Directory Domain Services

Promote this server to a domain controller


Once AD DS installation is complete we can promote the server to a domain controller

Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard


As a part of Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard I'll provide a domain name

Active Directory Users and Computers


Now I can introduce appropriate domain users

Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1

For the purposes of this walkthrough I chose to install Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1 as database platform. You can download a free trial of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1 here: http://www.microsoft.com/sql-server


Please note that you may face with the following error when installing Microsoft SQL Server
"Error while enabling Windows feature: NetFx3, Error Code: –2146498298, Please try enabling Windows Feature: NetFx3 from Windows management tools and then run setup again."

In order to avoid this error please install .NET Framework 3.5 Features which includes .NET Framework 3.0 Features

.NET Framework 3.5 Features


Now we can install an instance of Microsoft SQL Server. Please note that Microsoft SQL Server Full-text search feature will be required for AX database, that's why I will select Full-text and Semantic Extractions for Search feature upon Microsoft SQL Server installation

SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Setup


Once we've successfully installed Microsoft SQL Server instance we can start installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 components
 


In this walkthrough I chose to install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. You may download Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 image from Partner Source here (Partner Source login is required): https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/deployment/resources/productreleases/MicrosoftDynamicsAX2012R2

Microsoft Dynamics AX Setup


Please note that in order to successfully install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 database on Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 CTP1 platform you will have to apply a hotfix KB2680186 which will update Setup Support Files appropriately

Microsoft Dynamics AX Update Setup


Otherwise you will see the following error when you will be installing AOS
"Cannot find the object 'UTILIDELEMENTS', because it does not exist or you do not have permission."

Now we are set to install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 database

Microsoft Dynamics AX Setup (Database)



After successful installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 database we'll have to enable Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 before we install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 AOS

Add Roles and Features Wizard


Now it's time to install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 AOS

Microsoft Dynamics AX Setup


The final step will be to install Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Client

Microsoft Dynamics AX Setup


During Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 depending on the type of User you select (in my case User type = Administrator) you may also be required to install some of prerequisites, for example, Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Management Objects

Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Management Objects Setup


Now Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 components installation is complete and we can provision access to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for users using Import Users from AD Wizard

Users


After the fresh installation we'll have a minimum of data. However if you want to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Demo database you may want to download it from Partner Source here (Partner Source login required): https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/deployment/resources/productreleases/microsoftdynamicsax2012r2.htm

After Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 installation is complete there're number of tasks you may want to do, for example, how do I download a local copy of Azure VM (for backup purposes, etc.)? or how do I upload my own VHD in Azure?

In order to answer these questions I'll first install Windows Azure SDL for .NET (Visual Studio 2012)

Windows Azure SDK for .NET (VS 2012)


Windows Azure SDK for Visual Studio 2012 gives you an ability to access Windows Azure Subscription details from within Visual Studio 2012

Server Explorer


In order to connect to your Windows Azure Subscription account you will need to import Subscription settings file in Import Windows Azure Subscriptions dialog 

Import Windows Azure Subscriptions


You can initially download Subscription settings file from Windows Azure Portal
When connected you will be able to see the details on your Windows Azure Storage account

Server Explorer


Please note that I have "azureax.vhd" VHD file stored under my Windows Azure Storage account
Now in case you want to download a local copy of VHD file you can simply "Save" this file "as" on your local drive

Download VHD (Save as)


You can also upload VHD file from local drive to Windows Azure. Please see detailed instructions on how to upload VHD file to Windows Azure here: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/manage/windows/common-tasks/upload-a-vhd

Ultimately you may have a collection of VHD files under My disks as templates, so after uploading VHD disk to Windows Azure you can quickly spin up new Virtual machine based on this template

Create a virtual machine


Please note that you can also transfer virtual machines from one Windows Azure Subscription account to another if needed

As you can see Windows Azure platform provides a very robust foundation for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) scenarios for Line of Business (LOB) applications 

Summary: This document describes how to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) using Windows Azure platform. In addition to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Windows Azure platform also offers Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) capabilities which makes it a world-class Cloud platform. Please learn more about Windows Azure here: http://www.windowsazure.com

Tags: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, Windows Azure, Microsoft Cloud, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Virtual Machine.

Note: This document is intended for information purposes only, presented as it is with no warranties from the author. This document may be updated with more content to better outline the issues and describe the solutions.

Author: Alex Anikiev, PhD, MCP

7 comments:

  1. Hi Alex, A very interesting post for sure! Can you tell me anything about the performance of the Azure environment? Is it steady / stable and good enough to run the AX2012R2 environment?

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  2. It is quite steady and stable. A good alternative to running on a laptop, IF you always have a good connection.

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  3. Thanks for the post.

    Have any of you used this to run a production instance? And have you set up the windows client?

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  4. Hi Jimbo!

    Regarding client deployment: Please review the following article http://ax2012aifintegration.blogspot.com/2013/09/microsoft-dynamics-ax-2012-in-windows.html on how to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Client as RDS Published app

    Thank you for your interest!

    Best Regards,
    /Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Hi Alex.

      You are auuuusommmmeeeeee..... :) we (iqbal and Omer) love u ..... :)

      Regards

      Delete
  5. I got a good answer from the above description,but it still requires some more update to be made. Please share more content on Devops Online Course Bangalore

    ReplyDelete