Microsoft reveals new Dynamics AX 2012, 2009 upgrade and migration options for 365 Operations (AX7)

October 18 2016

As of November, Microsoft Dynamics AX nomenclature will change, but the popular ERP will live on under its new name, Dynamics 365 for Operations. Also known as AX7, the latest release will offer both a full cloud and a hybrid deployment model for select scenarios.

Arif Kureshy, director of program management for AX platform, explained to AXUG Summit 2016 attendees that the AX application architecture as it existed in version 2012 is now being managed in distinct components: AX app suite, app foundation, and app platform.

"Focusing on the app platform, we are that we can't overlay anymore because we want to iterate on the platform really fast. We are working on a two-week cadence by splitting up the AX app. By sealing some of them, we can innovate faster and you can use them ," he said.

Rather than customize the platform components, Microsoft wants customers who upgrade to D365 Operations (AX7) to use an extensions model. The goal is that Microsoft continues to support the platform and foundation aspects continuously.

"If you follow extensibility patterns recommended, it ensures you're in the serviceable limits and that Microsoft can service without issues," said Manoj Swaminathan, Dynamics R&D program manager, at an AX upgrade presentation at Summit.

But AX users are also eager for guidance about D365 Operations in a range of areas like upgrade and migration, licensing, and security.

Microsoft is actively developing paths to AX7 from the two most recent major versions - a migration path from AX 2009 and an upgrade from any AX 2012 release. The AX 2009 migration process that has been developed should also work for AX 4.0, and the team, including Swaminathan, wants to hear from AX 4.0 customers interested in getting to the latest release.

The AX 2009 migration approach aims to get companies onto the new product without doing a full migration of historical data (though they realize some may be required). The process requires analysis of what is relevant for the company and only migrating that data to AX7. The steps include:

  • Configuration and setup of ledger, customer groups and vendor groups
  • Master data like customers, vendors, projects, and accounts
  • Balances from ledgers, stock, and prices
  • Open documents like pending invoices
  • System configuration;
  • Anything that is represented as an entity (but ideally not the historical transactions). AX7 has been designed to support the input of legacy entity types

Upgrades from AX 2012 will support both code and data, and the intent is to support all versions. Code migration will use an LCS-driven methodology to make it automated and predictable, with time estimates provided where additional development work is required.

All entity types will be converted when moving from 2012 to AX7, but there are exceptions, Microsoft advised. They include any customizations to enterprise portal; custom client controls; use of AIF; Form parts; Cues, and SSAS elements that are not carried forward due to the AX team's embrace of Power BI.

Microsoft plans to make additional investments in the data upgrade tools for moving from AX 2012 to 7, and it plans to introduce an LCS-driven methodology for 2009 migrations. And Microsoft will begin scheduling workshops, labs, and training at various sites starting in November.

Microsoft has more to come in the evolution of AX7, including:

  • Integration scenarios will be released between all the Dynamics 365 apps, with Operations high on the priority list.
  • Progress toward certifications; The AX team is gathering evidence to submit to third-party audits. ISO and SOC will be some of the first to be implemented.
  • Limits on cloud database size will soon be going away, with newer Azure storage capabilities set to move up to 14TB or higher.

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Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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