Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Life Cycle Services(LCS) and Deployment of AX 7 instance

As by now everyone should be aware that the direction for manageability of AX services will be handled from LCS (Life Cycle Services), in fact you can maintain your complete project repository including the infrastructure details from within the LCS. To the extent you can even raise a support request and Microsoft support will be able to effectively collaborate with the Partners and Customers to resolve the issues. Microsoft has done a significant amount of investment in this area and is now started reaping the rewards as more and more partners are engaging LCS for the Project activities.
LCS Project tools with cloud environments
I recently deployed a CTP8 demo instance via LCS and they have made the user interface so friendly that you can get your demo instance up and running on Azure in just a couple of hours. You will know the deployment is complete once the LCS status changes from Deploying to Deployed. At this moment you will be able to view all the services of the Demo instance, like the access URL for AX 7, Cloud POS, Storefront site and AX 7 trial experience page. The trial experience is basically a guided walkthrough for new AX 7 users on the different UX features introduced in the new version.

AX7CTP8 Cloud instance deployed

Scroll further down on the LCS page, you should be able to see all the user accounts created and deployed by LCS for the services. Click on the Login to AX7 using the office 365 account and you are good to go start browsing and accessing the AX 7 functionalities from the web. If it is your first time logging in to AX 7, just remember to use the trail experience to understand the Module menu’s and search functions. Finally start exploring, my next post will focus on the Retail part where I’ll be deploying a Cloud POS device. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

New beginning - Microsoft Dynamics AX 7 Reloaded

Dynamics AX 7 public preview has already been launched recently and right now all Partners and Customers should be able to start getting the feel of the next generation cloud powered ERP. The direction from Microsoft after the leadership change has been quite apparent, that there is going to be a very VERY BIG focus on the cloud aka Azure based services and applications. And the apparent change in removal of the rich client is a game changer in the ERP. Everything now runs on the internet explorer(or Chrome if you like it)! Hell yeah, now the sales team has much more to wow the customer about the ease of web use and truly a cross platform UX experience. The AX 7 ERP solution should be able to cater to a varied and most industries from Finance to Manufacturing , Supply chain to Retail and almost every other industry that is in between or probably even a hybrid.
Everyone goes gaga on the cloud, what is it all about? What this means for the customers and partners is, they can start deploying the environments on Azure and this completely eliminates the need for a disaster recovery solution. Microsoft will be responsible for the data centers and customers can have high availability service agreements depending on the business continuity recovery times.
Will Microsoft not release an On Premise version of AX 7? Nope, it means Microsoft just wants to prioritize in getting it right for the cloud customers first before the launch of next release which will be On Premise version. Another factor that's tied to the release of an on premise version is the general availability of Windows server 2016 which has native features on ADFS(Active Directory Federation Services) which simply means that you can use this component to authenticate non active directory users within the server. The current Windows Server will support if you download an add-on for ADFS to enable this feature.
There is a mammoth of goodies on the features for the new release, I am not sure where to start but some of them are HTML5 based UX, LCS manageability, cross platform support on web/mobile, full visual studio integration and many more.
General availability of AX 7 is still in the Q1 2016 and going by the momentum it should be out in a a few more weeks, The current version which the public release is made for the partners and customers is based on the CTP 8 which has the version(7.0.1186.16043)

PS: All versions indicated are correct at the time of publishing of post, Microsoft may change version numbers as and when kernel updates are made available or after GA.