Enterprise Portal architecture [AX 2012]

Updated: April 8, 2013

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

This topic introduces concepts that pertain to the architecture of Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX. The topic also describes the various components of the Enterprise Portal architecture.

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a set of web sites that give you access to data. On these sites, you can also participate in business processes by using web-based forms. These sites are collectively called Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX. Enterprise Portal requires one of the following SharePoint products.

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

Enterprise Portal can be configured to display role-specific home pages that are called Role Centers. Role Centers provide an overview of information that pertains to a user's job function in the business or organization. This information includes transaction data, alerts, links, and common tasks that are associated with the user's role in the company. Role Centers also include reports that are generated by SQL Server Reporting Services or SQL Server Analysis Services. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 includes more than two dozen predefined Role Centers, which users can access from Enterprise Portal or the Microsoft Dynamics AX client.

An Enterprise Portal site consists of a root SharePoint site and collections of subsites. The subsites approximate the features and functionality of the modules in the Microsoft Dynamics AX client. For a detailed description of each Enterprise Portal module, and the common tasks, features, and reports that are available in each module, see Overview of Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

An Enterprise Portal page can include standard Microsoft Dynamics AX Web parts, such as the toolbar, or User Control Web parts that display Microsoft Dynamics AX data. An Enterprise Portal page can also include standard SharePoint Web parts, such as lists, announcements, and discussions. Users can modify these Web parts as needed. If you set up and configure Enterprise Portal with Role Centers, Role Center pages can include the following elements:

  • Cues that provide a visual representation of records based on the status of the records. For example, there can be cues for pending sales orders or items that are on backorder.

  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide information from predefined data cubes. You can use this information to monitor business performance against a defined goal.

  • A Report Web part that provides access to SQL Server Reporting Services reports.

  • A Business Overview Web part that displays historical performance, such as year-over-year performance or month-over-month performance.

  • A work list that displays action items that are generated either by a workflow or by an alert, according to business needs.

  • Community links that provide access to items that are published on community sites for Finance, Services, and Sales and Marketing.

  • Links that provide access to important internal and external sites.

Enterprise Portal is built on ASP.NET. All Enterprise Portal objects are located in the Web node of the Application Object Tree (AOT).

Microsoft Dynamics AX includes a standard Web part that can host a User Control. Developers can write or modify User Controls in Microsoft Visual Studio. User Controls are used to present Microsoft Dynamics AX content on a page, and they are the primary way to add new functionality to Enterprise Portal.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX, Enterprise Portal users, or Web users, can be any of the following individuals:

  • Employees who access Microsoft Dynamics AX through an intranet or an extranet

  • Customer or vendors who access Microsoft Dynamics AX through an extranet

  • Unsolicited vendors who want to sign up to be vendors, and who access Microsoft Dynamics AX through a public Internet site

All Web users access Microsoft Dynamics AX through Enterprise Portal.

Note the following information about Enterprise Portal client connections and communications:

  • All browser-based clients and Microsoft Dynamics AX clients access Role Centers through Enterprise Portal. Microsoft Dynamics AX clients use a browser control to display Role Centers.

  • Enterprise Portal uses the Report Web part to display reports that exist on the SQL Server Reporting Services server.

  • Enterprise Portal uses ASP.NET user controls and the Enterprise Portal framework to display Microsoft Dynamics AX data and reports.

  • Enterprise Portal uses Windows Communication Framework (WCF) and .NET Business Connector to interact with an Application Object Server (AOS).

The language that is used in the user interface for Enterprise Portal is determined by the user interface language that is specified for each user in the Microsoft Dynamics AX client. The user interface language also determines how values are formatted.

The following diagram provides a high-level overview of the Enterprise Portal architecture.

Enterprise Portal architecture

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