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What's New: Services and AIF administration [AX 2012]

Updated: February 1, 2013

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

This topic describes services and the enhancements to Application Integration Framework (AIF) in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that provide benefits to system administrators. For information about new features for developers, see What's New: Services and AIF for Developers in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. For more information about the features that are described in this topic, see the Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Library.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 simplifies the configuration of services and AIF, and provides several benefits to system administrators through the following features and enhancements.


This topic has been updated to include information about features that were added or changed for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. See the section “New or changed for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2,” later in the topic.

This section describes new features and enhancements in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

Windows Communication Foundation adapters

This release of Microsoft Dynamics AX provides expanded support for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) beyond the basic HTTP and HTTPS bindings. The proprietary Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ) and Microsoft BizTalk Server adapters that were used in the previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX are no longer available. Instead, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 provides equivalent native WCF functionality. However, custom adapters that customers and partners developed by using the AIF adapter framework continue to be supported in this release.

Services are hosted on Application Object Server

Application Object Server (AOS) is the WCF service host for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 services that are exposed to users and applications on an intranet. To consume services over the Internet, you must host services on Internet Information Services (IIS).

For more information about services, see Services, service operations, and service groups.

IIS services are hosted without .NET Business Connector

In the previous release of Microsoft Dynamics AX, services that were hosted on IIS required .NET Business Connector to communicate with AOS. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, IIS-hosted services use the WCF routing service instead of .NET Business Connector.

For more information about services, see Services, service operations, and service groups.

Service groups

A developer can create a service group that enables you to group related services. This feature lets you more easily manage related services for a particular integration scenario.

For more information about service groups, see Services, service operations, and service groups.

Integration ports

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, integration ports provide simplified administration of services and AIF. The concept of integration ports replaces AIF endpoints and related concepts that were used in previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Each integration port can expose one or more services, and each integration port has a unique Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that identifies the address of the port.

For more information about the concept of integration ports, see Integration ports.

Support for non-XML files

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you can change inbound documents from any format to the services schema by using Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformation (XLST) transforms or binary transforms. You can use external tools, such as the BizTalk Server mapper, to create an XSLT transform. Similarly, you can change an outbound XML document to any format by using an XSLT transform or a .NET assembly–based transform.

Batched messaging

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you can submit large amounts of data by using the batch XML schema. This schema lets you group single messages into message sets that can be submitted together by using a single XML document. For more information about batched messaging, see Processing batched messages in AIF.

Change tracking

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, you can configure the database to track changes that occur at the table level. You can then use the getChangedKeys service operation to retrieve entity keys for only those documents that have changed, based on specific criteria, such as the date and time. For more information about how to configure change tracking, see Configuring AIF for change tracking.

Performance improvements in services and AIF

The following list describes enhancements to services and AIF that improve performance:

  • To achieve scale and redundancy, you can configure AOS servers to use Network Load Balancing (NLB) for Microsoft Dynamics AX services. The AOS clustering solution affects only the RPC-based connections and does not let you load balance Microsoft Dynamics AX services. For more information, see Configuring network load balancing for services.

  • Client applications can access services via the WCF runtime, without using .NET Business Connector. .NET Business Connector was required for services and AIF in previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

  • A deployment on an intranet does not require IIS, because by default, services are now hosted on AOS.

  • You can host services on IIS for requests that originate from the Internet. However, the routing service on IIS dispatches these requests to the AOS host. All service requests, regardless of origin, are processed on AOS.

  • The services framework uses connection pooling to reduce the overhead of creating and destroying a session on service calls.

  • All the service references are placed in a single web services description language (WSDL) file. The single WSDL file lets developers reuse types when Microsoft Dynamics AX services are consumed.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 offers a robust and flexible security framework. Users are granted access to Microsoft Dynamics AX based on their assigned role.

Services and AIF rely on WCF for additional security. You can change the WCF configuration to configure the security settings that are required by Microsoft Dynamics AX services. WCF is responsible for authenticating the user. Service-level authorization is defined by the configuration of the integration ports.

If you want to expose services on the Internet by using the HTTP protocol, you must install the Web services on IIS feature. For more information, see Install web services on IIS.

The Initialization checklist helps you set up AIF. In this single initialization step, you register services, adapters, and basic ports.

Use the IIS Web Deployment Tool to manage multiple sites and web farm scenarios. Download the tool from the Web Deploy page.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, enhancements to the services framework significantly change functionality, configurations, database schemas, and document schemas (XSDs). When you plan an upgrade from previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX, consider the following points:

  • You must recompile and test all applications that used the previous release of Microsoft Dynamics AX, to make sure that the applications work with services in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 replaces the proprietary MSMQ and BizTalk Server adapters with equivalent functionality that is available in WCF. You must reconfigure and then recompile any automated integration processes that used these adapters, such as the BizTalk Server orchestration.

  • The upgrade framework creates partially configured integration ports that are based on existing endpoints. Newly created integration ports contain data policies and service operations, but you must provide address information and activate the ports. After you successfully complete the upgrade, you must configure the integration ports before you use Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 services and AIF functionality.

For information about how to upgrade from the previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX, see the Upgrade Guide.

The following table describes changes to the functionality and configuration of services and AIF in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that affect system administrators.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 functionality

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 functionality


Configuration is company specific.

Configuration is not company specific.

In previous releases, each AIF endpoint was associated with a specific company. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 does not require that you associate integration ports with a specific company. You can use the integration port functionality to restrict service calls to a specific company. For an inbound message, the services framework obtains the company ID from the message header. If the message header does not contain a company ID, AIF uses the default company for the submitting user.

AIF endpoint

Integration port

The concept of integration ports replaces AIF endpoints and AIF configuration forms.

Data policies are mandatory.

Data policies are optional.

In previous releases of Microsoft Dynamics AX, you had to manually assign data policies for each endpoint action policy. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, configuration of data policies is optional. The default data policy is defined by the service schema that is defined by the service developer. You can use integration ports to enforce data policies.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the troubleshooting and logging of AIF were performed at the service operation level. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, troubleshooting and logging are performed at the integration port level.

AIF introduces changes for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2.

Data partitioning

AIF provides features that are related to data partitions:

  • The administration of AIF remains centralized. System administrators can view and modify service documents for all partitions.

  • Administration forms, such as Queue manager, History, and Exceptions, let system administrators view the status of the service operation infrastructure for all partitions. Each entry includes a Partition key field that identifies the related partition.

  • The Inbound ports form lets system administrators restrict an enhanced port to a specified partition.

For more information about data partitioning, see the following topics:

WCF configuration

The Inbound ports form includes a new button that lets you configure WCF settings for specific integration adapters. For more information, see Configure addresses for enhanced integration ports and AIF inbound ports (form).

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