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Planning for reporting in Microsoft Dynamics AX [AX 2012]

Updated: May 22, 2014

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

Before you implement the reporting features of Microsoft Dynamics AX, there are several things you must consider. This article describes the things you must consider and the decisions you must make at each step in the planning process.

Before you begin the planning process, you must make sure that the following prerequisites are in place.

Category

Prerequisite

Resources

Required knowledge

Before you begin installing and using the reporting features of Microsoft Dynamics AX, you must be familiar with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

Reporting Services 2014

Reporting Services 2012

Reporting Services 2008 R2

Reporting Services 2008

If you do not already have Reporting Services installed, you must install it. When you install Reporting Services, you must select a mode in which to run the report server. Two modes are available: native mode and SharePoint integrated mode. The mode you select affects the steps you will need to complete to integrate the report server with Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Mode

Description

Resources

Native

In native mode, a report server is a stand-alone application server. Native mode is the default mode for Reporting Services.

If the report server is running in native mode, the reports that are included with Microsoft Dynamics AX are deployed to the Report Manager website. You can manage and view the reports from this website.

For more information about native mode, see Overview of Reporting Services.

For instructions about how to install and configure Reporting Services in native mode, see Before you install the Reporting Services extensions.

SharePoint integrated

In SharePoint integrated mode, a report server runs in a SharePoint server farm.

If the report server is running in SharePoint integrated mode, the reports that are included with Microsoft Dynamics AX are deployed to a document library on a SharePoint website. You can manage and view the reports from this document library.

SharePoint integrated mode is supported if you are using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 or later.

For more information about SharePoint integrated mode, see Overview of Reporting Services.

For instructions about how to install and configure Reporting Services in SharePoint integrated mode, see Before you install the Reporting Services extensions.

To help plan your Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation, determine a topology that supports the reporting needs of your organization. Consider the following information when determining your topology.

You can install multiple instances of Reporting Services on the same computer. In this kind of deployment environment, each instance of Reporting Services is connected to an independent Microsoft Dynamics AX installation. You may want to install multiple instances of Reporting Services on the same computer for the following reasons:

  • To support development and production installations of Microsoft Dynamics AX

    For example, in the following sample diagram, assume that AOS instance 1 is a development installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX, and AOS instance 2 is the production installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

  • To support multiple production installations of Microsoft Dynamics AX

    For example, if you are a Microsoft Dynamics AX solution provider, you may have to support multiple production installations of Microsoft Dynamics AX. For this scenario, assume that AOS instance 1 (in the sample diagram) is a production installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX for one client, Northwind Traders. Assume that AOS instance 2 is a production installation of Microsoft Dynamics AX for another client, Contoso Pharmaceuticals.

Multiple SSRS instances on one computer

NoteNote

You cannot install multiple instances of Reporting Services 2012 or 2014—that run in SharePoint integrated mode—on the same computer.

For more information, see Install multiple instances of Reporting Services on the same computer (for use with Microsoft Dynamics AX).

You can distribute the user load in Microsoft Dynamics AX across multiple instances of the Application Object Server (AOS) by creating a load balancing cluster. The cluster may or may not include a dedicated load balancer.

In an environment that contains an AOS load balancing cluster, you must point each AOS instance to the same Reporting Services instance. For example, your environment may resemble the following illustration.

AOS scale-out deployment

To integrate an AOS load balancing cluster with Reporting Services, complete the following tasks.

  1. Install the Reporting Services extensions on the server running Reporting Services. For more information, see Install the Reporting Services extensions.

    When you install the Reporting Services extensions, the Setup wizard requires you to connect to an AOS instance. Connect to an AOS instance in the cluster. However, if the cluster includes a dedicated load balancer, do not connect to the AOS instance that serves as the dedicated load balancer.

    When the installation is complete, the AOS instance that you selected is connected to the Reporting Services instance. You can view the properties of this connection in the Report servers form in Microsoft Dynamics AX.

  2. Connect the other AOS instances in the cluster to the Reporting Services instance. To connect an AOS instance to the Reporting Services instance, complete these steps:

    1. Open the Microsoft Dynamics AX client.

    2. Click System administration > Setup > Business intelligence > Reporting Services > Report servers.

    3. Connect the AOS instance to the Reporting Services instance by creating a new record in the Report servers form. For more information about how to use this form, see Report servers (form).

A report server scale-out deployment includes two or more report server instances that share a single report server database. By using a Reporting Services scale-out deployment, you can increase the number of users who can access reports at the same time. You can also improve the availability of the report server.

Microsoft Dynamics AX supports scale-out deployments of Reporting Services in an environment that has the following configuration:

  • The Reporting Services instances are installed on separate computers.

  • The Reporting Services instances share a single database.

  • A Network Load Balancing (NLB) cluster is used.

  • The Reporting Services extensions that are provided by Microsoft Dynamics AX are installed on each computer where Reporting Services is installed.

An environment of this kind may resemble the following illustration.

SSRS scale-out deployment

For more information about how to configure a scale-out deployment, see the Configuring a SQL Server Reporting Services scale-out deployment to run on a Network Load Balancing cluster white paper. For more information about Reporting Services scale-out deployments, see Planning for scale-out deployment in the SQL Server documentation.

Reporting Services cannot be installed on a failover cluster because you cannot run the Reporting Services service as part of a failover cluster. However, you can install the report server database on a computer that has a failover cluster installed. For more information, see Host a Report Server Database in a SQL Server Failover Cluster.

SQL Server AlwaysOn is a high availability and disaster recovery solution available in SQL Server 2012 and 2014. AlwaysOn is not supported for the report server database. This is because report data is accessed through the Microsoft Dynamics AX AOS server, which does not support read-only databases.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides hundreds of preconfigured reports that users can use to view and analyze business data. Review details about these reports in the Report catalog for Microsoft Dynamics AX to determine if they will meet organization’s needs. If you need to create custom reports, see the next section.

If you or anyone in your organization needs to create a new, custom report, several tools are available. The following table lists the tools that can be used to create reports, and the type of user who will most likely use those tools.

Category

Tool that is used to create the report

Type of user who typically creates this kind of report

Resources

Transactional reports

Transactional reports retrieve data from the transaction processing database for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Visual Studio

Developer

Development Tasks for Reporting

Microsoft Dynamics AX list page

System administrator

Application user

Use a list page

Microsoft Dynamics AX auto-report wizard

System administrator

Application user

Create a report by using the Microsoft Dynamics AX auto-report wizard

Microsoft Dynamics AX add-in for Excel

System administrator

Application user

Using the Microsoft Dynamics AX Add-in for Excel

Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP

System administrator

Application user

Microsoft Management Reporter: Installation, Migration, and Configuration Guides

Analytical reports

Analytical reports retrieve data from Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services cubes.

Visual Studio

Developer

Walkthrough: Displaying Cube Data in a Report

SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio or SQL Server Data Tools

Developer

Walkthrough: Defining KPIs for a Cube

Walkthrough: Displaying KPIs in a Role Center

SQL Server Report Builder

Developer

System administrator

Create a report by using SQL Server Report Builder to connect to a cube

Excel

System administrator

Application user

Create a report by using the Excel data connection wizard to connect to a cube

SQL Server Power View

System administrator

Application user

Create a report by using Power View to connect to a cube

Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP is the recommended financial reporting solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Use Management Reporter to create, distribute, and analyze financial statements and other financial reports. For more information, see Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP.


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