Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Run the Microsoft Dynamics® AX 2012 Hyper-V pre-release image without a Hyper-V server

With the latest version of VirtualBox from Oracle, you can run Hyper-V images from a PC without Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V - for example a box with Windows 7.

There are a few special things you must do in order to make the Dynamics 2012 image work with VirtualBox:
  • Setup the disks as IDE disks. It won't work as SATA disks.
  • Setup two network cards:
  • - Adapter 1 should be configured for "NAT"
  • - Adapter 2 should be configured for "Internal Network"
When the virtual server is started you need to change the TCP/IPv4 network setting for the first adapter:
  • Select "Use the following IP address"
  • IP address:
  • Subnet mask:
  • Select "Use the following DNS server addresses"
  • Preferred DNS server:
(UPDATE April 12th: It seems like you don't need to do these tcp/ip network changes in the new Beta image)

I'm not too sure about the network card settings, as to why they have to be configured like this, but this configuration works and resemble the Hyper-V settings as closely as I could figure it out. If anyone has some actual knowledge about this, I'd love to hear about it.

You can safely diable all the Hyper-V related services on the machine if you want to save the extra overhead. VirtualBox is not using them.

I have tried the image with only 2 GB of RAM for the virtual server. It runs (except for Enterprise Portal), albeit very slow. 4 GB or more gives you a more acceptable performance.

Check the license requirements for VirtualBox. In most cases it is free. But if you, for example, roll it out as part of your business operations you might have to buy a license.

Please share your experiences running the image this way.

Oh - and the Dynamics AX 2012 image itself!? Well, if you don't have it already - you're unfortunately not eligible to get it yet and you'll have to wait for coming releases.
Try the links mentioned here though:

UPDATE: Also check out this step-by-step guide, including a great tip to make SharePoint work as expected:

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