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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Book review: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Administration

This book is written for anyone engaged in planning, deploying, configuring and maintaining a Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 installation.
It takes you through topics like system planning, installation, configuration of Enterprise Portal and Role Centers, configuration of Workflow, configuration of Application Integration Framework (AIF), data migration, Security and User Administration, Setup of Kerberos Authentication, setup and maintenance of alerts and general maintenance and backup.
Every topic is described in a way so the reader gets a good overview and lots of details for each task covered by the topic. A lot of screen clippings accompanies the tasks described in each chapter, making it easy to follow the necessary steps.  The publisher could however have done a better job implementing the screen clippings. The quality varies a lot, and some of the clippings are barely readable.
The only chapter where I find a bit weak information, is the System Planning and Hardware Sizing chapter. The sizing part has some generic information about what you need to consider for your sizing, but not much in actual numbers to work with. I’ll give the author that Microsoft is equally reluctant to disclose actual numbers in their sizing guides.     So just don’t expect this chapter to be a “next-next-finish” guide to get your right sizing.
Other chapters have excellent tips, some can save you money directly on licenses, others can save you money in shorter implementation cycles. A good hint is the description on what you need to do if you want to deploy Enterprise Portal and don’t have the AX language license for “EN-US”. This tip alone more than pays for the book.  
It pleases me to see a few pages about automated batch jobs. Given the very technical design of this feature it often ends up in a gray area between developers and application consultants. Application consultants would surely benefit from reading this chapter.
I’m also very happy to see the pages about Consistency Check. Not what you’d consider as a very sexy topic, but a lot of issues with data not being correctly migrated to Microsoft Dynamics AX could be caught in an early stage, just by running the consistency checks.
Given the book title, I would have expected more information about regular Application Life Cycle management, for example something about how to deploy new versions of modifications. I feel the book, for most parts, stops when the initial system is installed and configured. 
Also it would have been great to see more Troubleshooting information for each topic, especially for Workflow and Enterprise Portal. And it would have been nice with a few pages about the Intelligent Data Management Framework (IDMF), even though it’s not yet part of the standard Microsoft Dynamics AX package.
So should you buy this book? 
Yes - This book is ensured a prominent place in my bookshelf and it’ll be an important tool in my toolbox. It gives you much value for your money.

More information about the book here: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Administration