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Servers in the Microsoft Dynamics AX environment [AX 2012]

Updated: February 1, 2013

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

A production deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX requires multiple servers. This topic describes the types of server that may be required in your implementation.

Minimum server components include the databases and the Application Object Server (AOS). Although you can install the components on a single server computer, we recommend that you use separate servers in a production environment. Single-server installations are typically used for development or testing only.

Application Object Server

An AOS server is a computer that runs the AOS Windows service. The AOS service controls communications among Microsoft Dynamics AX clients, databases, and applications. You can install the AOS on a single computer, or you can create a server cluster for load balancing.

Database server

A Microsoft SQL Server database server hosts the database that stores Microsoft Dynamics AX transaction data. The database server also hosts the model store, which is the database that stores application elements. These application elements include customizations.


Beginning with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, the model store and the business data are stored in separate databases. In other versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, the model store and business data are stored in a single database.

For some Microsoft Dynamics AX functionality, you must have one or more of the following additional servers.

Report server

A report server is a server that runs Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. Reporting Services is a server-based solution that lets users create and publish both traditional, paper-based reports and interactive, web-based reports.

For more information about how to set up a report server, see Install Reporting Services extensions for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Analysis server

An analysis server enhances the reporting functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX by linking to Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services. An analysis server provides enhanced support for online analytical processing (OLAP).

For more information about how to set up an analysis server, see Configure Analysis Services.

Web server

A web server hosts the websites that are required for some Microsoft Dynamics AX features. These features include Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Help server, Enterprise Search, and web services on IIS.

Enterprise Portal is a site for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 products that lets trusted users access Microsoft Dynamics AX data and functionality. Anonymous users can access only limited functionality, such as catalog information and questionnaires. For more information about how to set up an Enterprise Portal server, see Install Enterprise Portal.

Help server is an IIS web site that stores Help documentation that is used in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Help server simplifies the task of updating and customizing Help. For more information about how to set up Help server, see Install help server.

Enterprise Search lets client users and Enterprise Portal users search for data, forms, and reports in Microsoft Dynamics AX by entering simple search terms. Enterprise Search uses Microsoft Search Server Express 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and the Microsoft SharePoint Business Data Connectivity Service (BCS). For more information about how to set up Enterprise Search, see Install Search.

Web services on IIS are an optional component. Services that are hosted on AOS are available to users and applications over the intranet. However, to consume services over the Internet, you must host services on IIS. For more information about how to set up web services on IIS, see Install web services on IIS.

The following servers are typically found in infrastructures that run Microsoft Dynamics AX. This documentation provides information about how to use Microsoft Dynamics AX together with these servers. For information about how to install and set up these servers, see the documentation for each server.

Domain controller

A domain controller in an Active Directory network manages user logons and access to network and shared resources.

Messaging server

A messaging server enables email messages and instant messages to be sent and received. Microsoft Dynamics AX can use email to send alerts to users. Microsoft Dynamics AX requires that the messaging server support SMTP.

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