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Planning considerations for analytics [AX 2012]

Updated: November 13, 2012

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Consider the following information before you implement the analytical features of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Before you deploy the analysis cubes for Microsoft Dynamics AX, consider the following information.

To make sure that the online transaction processing (OLTP) database for Microsoft Dynamics AX performs well, we recommend that you install the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services database on a separate server.

High availability is the ability to provide a service with a minimum of interruptions. You can implement Analysis Services in a highly available environment by using network load balancing (NLB) technologies, failover clustering technologies, or both.

  • Network load balancing – You can use network load balancing to improve the response time for queries as the number of end users increases. Network load balancing, which is also referred to as scale out, distributes the load among several small servers. For more information, see Scaling out an Analysis Services Solution.

  • Failover clustering – A failover cluster is a combination of one or more nodes, or servers, with two or more shared disks. A SQL Server failover cluster instance appears on the network as a single computer. However, this instance has functionality that provides failover from one node to another if the current node becomes unavailable. For more information, see Failover Clustering in Analysis Services.

SQL Server AlwaysOn is the new high availability and disaster recovery solution in SQL Server 2012. You can implement the Analysis Services database in an AlwaysOn environment to:

  • Reduce the load on the primary Microsoft Dynamics AX online transaction processing database (OLTP).

  • Reduce data latency in cubes and cube-based reports and key performance indicators (KPIs).

To implement the Analysis Services database in an AlwaysOn environment, complete the following tasks:

  1. Create a read-only copy of the Microsoft Dynamics AX OLTP database.

  2. Modify the data source for the Analysis Services database to point to the replicated database (that was created in step 1). To do so, follow these steps:

    1. In SQL Server Management Studio, connect to your Analysis Services instance.

    2. In the tree view, expand the Databases > [Database Name] > Data Sources node.

    3. Right-click the Dynamics Database data source and choose Properties.

    4. In the Connection String row, locate the text Initial Catalog=[DatabaseName].

    5. Change [DatabaseName] to the name of the replicated database that was created in step 1.

For more information about AlwaysOn, see AlwaysOn Architecture Guide in the SQL Server documentation.

To help plan for security, consider the following information.

Security for cubes is set up independently from security for Microsoft Dynamics AX. To grant users access to cubes, you must assign the users to database roles in Analysis Services. For more information about security for cubes, see Grant users access to cubes.

The default roles that are available in Analysis Services are not synchronized with the security roles in Microsoft Dynamics AX. For example, if you modify the permissions of the Sales manager role in Microsoft Dynamics AX, it does not affect the Sales manager role in Analysis Services.

For more information about the default roles that are available in Analysis Services, see Default Analysis Services roles.

To maintain the performance of the system, consider the following information.

A cube contains historical, or cached, data. To refresh the data in a cube, you must process the cube. Determine how often each cube should be processed. Consider that, when a cube is processed, it accesses the data in the Microsoft Dynamics AX OLTP database. Therefore, processing may affect the performance of that database. For more information about how to process cubes, see Automate the processing of cubes.

To help plan any customizations that you must implement, consider the following information.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides cubes that you can use and modify.

The following cubes are included with the initial release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack:

  • Accounts payable cube

  • Accounts receivable cube

  • Customer relationship management cube

  • Environmental sustainability cube

  • Expense management cube

  • General ledger cube

  • Production cube

  • Project accounting cube

  • Purchase cube

  • Sales cube

  • Workflow cube

The following cubes are included with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2:

  • Accounts payable cube

  • Accounts receivable cube

  • Budget control cube

  • Budget plan cube

  • Environmental sustainability cube

  • Expense management cube

  • General ledger cube

  • Inventory value cube

  • Production cube

  • Profit tax totals cube

  • Project accounting cube

  • Purchase cube

  • Retail cube

  • Sales and marketing cube

  • Sales cube

  • Workflow cube

Determine whether these cubes meet your requirements. For more information about these cubes, see the Cube and KPI reference for Microsoft Dynamics AX. If you must create a custom cube, see Walkthrough: Creating a cube.

The default cubes that are included with Microsoft Dynamics AX require that you enable specific configuration keys. If you disable a configuration key that is required for a cube, you must complete the following tasks:

  1. Run the Analysis Services Project Wizard to remove the measures, dimensions, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that are no longer available (because the configuration key was disabled). For more information, see Configure an Existing SQL Server Analysis Services Project.

  2. Modify or remove the reports that require the configuration key.


Announcements: To see known issues and recent fixes, use Issue search in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS).
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