I will now start with the first part in a series of blog postings about how you can integrate MOSS 2007 and Dynamics AX as promised in a previous posting - Integrating Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and SAP. You will first need to get your development environment set up, so here we go. Virtual PC (or another virtualization software) will make it easier to get you up and running. Make sure that you have sufficient memory on your machine - most of the time I dedicate about 1,5 GB of memory to the guest environment. I started this installation on a virtual image with the following software already installed:
- Windows Server 2003 SP1 - this server acts as a domain controller since Dynamics AX requires Active Directory.
- Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with Service Pack 1 installed. Eli has a great walkthrough for how to build a SharePoint development machine with a complete set of instructions.
- SQL Server 2005 SP2 - this will act as the back-end database for Dynamics AX
- Visual Studio 2005 SP1 - I doubted about using Visual Studio 2008 but probably it is safer to do this one step at a time.
- Reflector - an invaluable tool if you need to dig deep into software with little documentation...
- BDCMetaMan - a tool for creating BDC application definition files which will let me do some quick integration (I hope)
- Office 2007
- Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Second Edition - VSTO is used to build: Office System (Word, Excel, etc.) Add-ins and Ribbon elements, Outlook forms, and InfoPath templates.
Since this is a development environment, I start with a single server installation as described in Install Microsoft Dynamics AX on a single computer. When you start the Dynamics AX installation it will warn you that you will need to install a hotfix described in KB913184. This will require you to reboot. Apparently Dynamics AX has 4 different core roles:
- Database server : A database server that stores your Microsoft Dynamics AX data as part of an existing database installation. This can be both SQL Server and Oracle
- File server : The server containing the Microsoft Dynamics AX application files in which the Microsoft Dynamics AX business logic is stored. Examples of the files in this directory include indexes, headers, and labels for each layer. The directory must be accessible to all Application Object Server (AOS) computers.
- Application Object Server instance: An Application Object Server (AOS) is a Microsoft Windows service that controls communications among Microsoft Dynamics AX clients, databases, and applications.
- Dynamics AX Client
This will all be installed when you select the single server installation option. In addition the .Net Business Connector ( a set of managed class which will allow you to access Dynamics AX functionality) will be installed as well.
These are the different steps you will need to go through:
- Select installation type: single server installation
- Select language for the Dynamics AX client : leave it to the default English
- Select help languages to install: English
- Select region - regions will provide country specific tax and financial information
- Create an instance of the Application Object Server - specify the instance name and the file location
- Select account the Application Object Server (For necessary rights take a look at Install an Application Object Server instance ). I switched it to an admin account to avoid issues (definitely not a best practice).
- Connect to an instance of SQL Server
- Create SQL Server Database - specify the name Dynamics
- Install application files - note down this location because you will need it later on - e:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics AX\40\Application
- Install the Dynamics client - f:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics AX\40\Client
- Finally click the install button - notice the warning that it might take several minutes for the AOS Windows Services to start. Installation will take about 20 minutes to complete
Afterwards you will need to configure your Dynamics installation - when you first start up Dynamics AX, you will see an installation checklist which will guide you through the required steps:
- Compile your application - this is necessary to update all object references. in my virtual environment this took about 30 minutes to complete.
- License information - for the initial installation you will need to load a license file. Depending on the activated licenses different functionality will be activated.
- Enable and disable configuration keys - allows you to disable/enable specific features. It is possible to import or export these configuration settings. The basic configuration options are determined by your license type.
- Adjust global types - change properties for specific data types.
- Synchronize tables/indexes - This is a mandatory step to set up the system. By doing this, Microsoft Dynamics AX creates all the tables it needs to operate. This can take 10 or more minutes to complete.
- Manage company accounts
- Import company data - there is sample data available of a fictitious company Global Trade and Manufacturing Company (GTM) on Partnersource (login required). I imported the Demo Data US files which took about 10 minutes.
- Check the data import - open your Dynamics client - in the navigation pane on the left hand side you should see an overview of the different available sections - General Ledger, Costa Accounting, Bank, CRM, etc ...
If you haven't worked with Dynamics AX, first take a look at the Microsoft Dynamics AX User's Guide. In a next posting I will explain how you can use the Enterprise Portal functionality to integrate Dynamics AX in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.