DEPLOYING VIRTUALIZED MICROSOFT DYNAMICS AX 2012 R2

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1 DEPLOYING VIRTUALIZED MICROSOFT DYNAMICS AX 2012 R2 EMC Solutions Abstract This document describes the reference architecture of a virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 implementation that is enabled by EMC Next-Generation VNX storage systems. This document describes the key components of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, validates the performance characteristics of the solution, and provides guidelines for building similar solutions on EMC VNX storage systems. July 2014

2 Copyright 2014 EMC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Published July 2014 EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. The information in this publication is provided as is. EMC Corporation makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to the information in this publication, and specifically disclaims implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. EMC 2, EMC, and the EMC logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com. Part Number H

3 Table of contents Reference architecture overview... 5 Introduction... 5 EMC VNX unified storage system... 5 Microsoft Dynamics AX... 6 Solution purpose... 6 The business challenge... 6 Technology solution... 7 Reference architecture... 8 Architecture diagram... 8 Fully virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure EMC VNX storage system Microsoft Hyper-V Three-layer Dynamics AX components Hardware resources Software resources Solution overview Introduction Key components of a Dynamics AX environment EMC VNX storage system Microsoft Windows Server and Hyper-V virtualization Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SharePoint Internet Information Server (IIS) Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Application Object Server (AOS) Dynamics AX performance benchmark Implementation and best practices Introduction Designing the storage layout Configuring Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization Configuring SQL Server Configuring SharePoint Configuring Application Object Server Performance characteristics of the Dynamics AX configuration Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R

4 Conclusion References EMC documentation Microsoft documentation

5 Reference architecture overview Introduction EMC VNX unified storage system This document describes a fully virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 1 reference architecture that uses an EMC Next-Generation VNX storage system. This document describes the key components of Microsoft Dynamics AX, demonstrates the performance characteristics of the solution, and provides guidelines for building similar solutions on EMC VNX storage systems. The key components include Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Hyper- V, and Microsoft Windows Server 2. The EMC VNX unified storage system uses Intel Xeon E5 multicore CPUs to deliver a highly performing and highly scalable storage solution to meet the demanding needs of virtualized application environments. The EMC VNX series provides a range of choices from affordable entry-level storage systems to high-performance, petabytecapacity configurations. This series includes EMC VNX5400, EMC VNX5600, EMC VNX5800, EMC VNX7600, and EMC VNX8000, as shown in Figure 1. These systems meet the high-performance, high-scalability, and cost-effective requirements for midsize and large enterprises. Figure 1. EMC VNX Series models 1 In this document, the Microsoft product name Dynamics AX 2012 R2 may be referred to as Dynamics AX 2 Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 System Requirements provides details about the version compatibility with Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, and Windows Server. 5

6 Microsoft Dynamics AX Solution purpose Microsoft Dynamics AX is the leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that provides organizations with a streamlined business management solution. Microsoft Dynamics AX integrates closely with several key Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint, and Internet Information Server. Microsoft Dynamics AX provides the following functionality: Scalable business management solution Runs on a single Application Object Server (AOS) instance and can be scaled to multiple AOS instances, each on a different server to support large Dynamics AX deployments. Three layer data management architecture Separates the data layer, business logic layer, and presentation layer to lower the cost of maintenance and upgrade. SQL Server is used to manage the data access in data layer. The AOS handles the business logic layer. SharePoint enterprise portal provides an interface for the presentation layer. Development tools Provides MorphX development tools for customizing Dynamics AX business applications, such as metadata, data structure, or properties. VNX storage design considerations with Microsoft Dynamics AX Microsoft Dynamics AX online transaction processing (OLTP) databases are typically involved in I/O fluctuation during the course of a day. EMC VNX offers an advanced FAST Suite including FAST VP and FAST Cache to effectively service the I/O bursts and improve the overall user experience of the underlying Dynamics AX and its front end applications. In addition, EMC VNX thin provisioning provides a flexible sizing solution for a cost-effective storage deployment. Without thin provisioning, storage administrators must allocate physical space initially based on anticipated storage growth for the Dynamics AX configuration. This generally leads to the overprovisioning of storage capacity, which then results in higher costs. This reference architecture describes a fully virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX solution with required hardware resources such as compute, network, and storage. This reference architecture also describes the performance characteristics of Dynamics AX, using the Microsoft Dynamics AX performance benchmark SDK. We 3 built this solution on an EMC VNX5400 storage system, as an example reference point within the EMC VNX series. The EMC VNX5400 system enables FAST VP, FAST Cache, and thin provisioning for extremely efficient capacity and performance for virtualized Dynamics AX environments. This reference architecture illustrates the key components of Microsoft Dynamics AX configuration, validates the performance characteristics of the configuration, and provides guidelines to build similar solutions. Note: This document is not a comprehensive guide to every aspect of this solution. The business challenge Companies must respond quickly to adapt to today s fast-changing business environment. Yet many companies face challenges such as limited financial 3 In this paper, we refers to the EMC Solutions engineering team that validated this reference architecture. 6

7 resources, business operations, and human resources that are often scattered in different information systems. Microsoft Dynamics AX addresses that challenge by providing an effective enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that enables a business to integrate their core business information assets and reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO). Microsoft Dynamics AX enables enterprises to integrate their core business information systems, such as financial resource management, operations resource management, and human resource management processes. Large and medium-sized companies can particularly gain benefits from such a centralized information system for their business operation to allow enhanced reporting and business intelligence capabilities. This reference architecture describes a fully virtualized Dynamics AX environment. Customers will realize the following benefits from this solution: Increased control and security of their business environment by consolidating multiple scattered business applications into Microsoft Dynamics AX Better productivity with a more consistent environment for managing business resources Simplified management of the transaction data and metadata stored in the centralized SQL Server databases Better support of service level agreements and compliance initiatives Lower operational and maintenance costs of core business information systems Technology solution Planning and designing the storage infrastructure is a critical step to providing predictable performance for a virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX configuration. The storage design must be able to handle peak I/O loads during daily use without resulting in high response times. Furthermore, as OLTP database workload levels fluctuate greatly during operational hours, the storage design must be able to absorb and react to the resulting pressures without causing periods of erratic and unpredictable performance. We designed the system to be cost efficient and, to minimize static storage costs to ensure performance, we used FAST Cache, a shared resource, which can provide performance on demand to minimize the fluctuation. This reference architecture incorporates the following EMC FAST Suite features of the EMC VNX5400 system to support a virtualized Dynamics AX configuration with better performance and cost-effective storage features: EMC FAST VP An advanced data service that automatically relocates data to proper storage tiers within a storage pool based on the level of data access activity EMC FAST Cache Extends the storage system s existing caching capacity to improve system-wide performance Thin provisioning Sizes the user capacity (storage perceived by the host) using capacity-on-demand from the shared pool 7

8 Reference architecture Architecture diagram Microsoft Dynamics AX is a client and server system that contains a data layer, business logic layer, and presentation layer. This document describes a reference architecture for a fully virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation enabled by EMC VNX5400. Dynamics AX Windows clients Enterprise Portal web clients Developers Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Server MorphX Visual Studio Dynamics AX Enterprise Framework Role Center WSS web parts Microsoft SharePoint Sites, pages Dynamics AX web parts.net Business Connector.NET Business Connector Internet Information Server (IIS) Server Session Manager Business Logic Application Object Server (AOS) SQL Server SharePoint Databases Dynamics AX databases Figure 2. Logical architecture of a Dynamics AX environment Figure 2 shows the major components in a Dynamics AX environment: Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal, which is built on top of SharePoint Server and provides a web-enabled interface for end-users Dynamics AX Application Object Server (AOS), which handles business logic SQL Server provides data management for Dynamics AX business models and transactions 8

9 Figure 3 illustrates a fully virtualized Dynamics AX reference architecture. All Dynamics AX virtual machines are built within Hyper-V virtual machines that reside on separate LUNs that are provisioned with a VNX5400 storage system. The top part of the figure shows a fully virtualized Dynamics AX environment. The lower part of the figure shows the physical hardware that supports the virtualized Dynamics AX implementation. Figure 3. Fully virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure 9

10 Fully virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure EMC VNX storage system Microsoft Hyper-V This document presents a fully virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure that uses Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization technology and an EMC VNX storage system to host virtual machines. This virtualized solution reduces physical server requirements and efficiently uses CPU, memory, and storage. The virtual machines created in this Microsoft Dynamics AX environment include a virtualized SQL Server, SharePoint, Dynamics AX Application Object Servers, and Dynamics AX clients. The EMC VNX storage system provides significant advancements in reliability, performance, and ease of use. This includes EMC FAST VP and EMC FAST Cache, which optimize performance for the virtualized environment for supporting servicelevel agreements. Microsoft Hyper-V technology provides significant cost savings in building a fully virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure. Without virtualization technology, larger physical server deployments are necessary for a Dynamics AX configuration. Hyper-V virtualization technology provides organizations with significant value for return on investment (ROI). Three-layer Dynamics AX components Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SQL Server is a highly scalable, high performing relational database system that implements Dynamics AX data layer for Dynamics AX business transactions and model databases. Microsoft SharePoint Dynamics AX integrates closely with Microsoft SharePoint to implement a Dynamics AX presentation layer that provides an interface for end-users, content management, and reporting. Application Object Server The Dynamics AX AOS implements the Dynamics AX middle layer to handle business logic. The AOS facilitates communication between the client and server, and provides session management in accessing data in SQL Server. AOS scalability The AOS is the core component of Dynamics AX that is built upon on an agile scalability model for large deployment. You can scale AOS in the following two ways: AOS scale-up Increases the AOS processing power by taking advantage of hardware resources, such as more CPU and memory on that AOS instance AOS scale-out Increases the AOS capacity by adding extra AOS instances to redistribute the workload and balance across all available AOS instances 10

11 Hardware resources Table 1 lists the hardware used in building a testing configuration for a virtualized Dynamics AX. To design your own Dynamics AX virtualized environment, follow the guidelines in the following section for your specific sizing and performance requirements. Table 1. Solution hardware Hardware Configuration Notes EMC VNX5400 EMC VNX storage system equipped with block storage, FAST VP, and FAST Cache, and thin provisioning Total of 8 x 200 GB EFD drives, 53 x 300 GB SAS drives, including hot spares FAST VP contains 5 EFD drives and 15 SAS drives in RAID 5 for virtualized clients 4 and virtualized servers SQL Server data pool - 16 SAS R1/0 SQL Server tempdb pool - 8 SAS R1/0 SQL Server Log pool - 8 SAS R1/0 EMC VNX5400 storage system provides block storage for a Dynamics AX configuration. FAST Cache contains 2 EFD drives enabled for SQL data pool and SQL tempdb pool 4 rack servers Network Two 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 Family servers with 48 GB RAM 8 Gb Fibre Channel and 10/100 GbE IP network Rack servers host Dynamics AX virtualized application clients and servers Used for data communication between storage and host, as well as active directory for Windows 4 Virtualized clients are used only for the Dynamics AX benchmarking tool to send requests of transactions from simulated clients. In a real customer deployment, we would not use the Dynamics AX benchmarking tool, and so would not need the FAST VP pool for clients. 11

12 Software resources Table 2 lists the software resources used in building a testing configuration for a virtualized Dynamics AX environment. To design your own Dynamics AX virtualized environment, follow the guidelines in the following section to choose compatible software. Table 2. Software resources Software Configuration Notes EMC VNX5400 VNX OE for block Release 33 Operating environment for EMC VNX block access EMC PowerPath Version 5.7 Multipathing and load balancing for EMC VNX block access. EMC Unisphere 1.3 Management tool for EMC VNX series Microsoft Windows 2012 RTM Operating system for the server environment Microsoft Windows 2012 Hyper-V RTM Providing virtualized server environment Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Database system that hosts the data for SharePoint and Dynamics AX Microsoft SharePoint 2010 RTM Enterprise portal for Dynamics AX Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Microsoft Dynamics AX performance benchmark 6.2 Dynamics AX for enterprise resource planning (ERP) 1.0 Simulated workload for Dynamics AX, available in the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Performance Benchmark SDK Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate SP1 Development tool for Dynamics AX such as load driver for Dynamics AX performance benchmark 12

13 Solution overview Introduction Key components of a Dynamics AX environment EMC VNX storage system Microsoft Dynamics AX is a flexible and scalable ERP solution that meets the business needs of financial management, human resources, and operations management. Dynamics AX provides organizations with agile management of core business processes that can be customized with a layered architecture, to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO). To facilitate streamlined business management, Dynamics AX uses various components, each with its own purpose. The components that make up the Dynamics AX test environment for this reference architecture include the following: EMC VNX storage system Microsoft Windows Server and Hyper-V virtualization Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SharePoint Internet Information Server (IIS) Application Object Server (AOS) Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal The EMC VNX unified storage system provides advanced storage features to support fully virtualized Dynamics AX environment, including: FAST Cache EMC VNX FAST Cache enables flash drives to be used as an expanded read/write cache for the system. FAST Cache enables the underlying storage to absorb I/O fluctuation that often occurs in typical OLTP workloads such as Dynamics AX business transactions. You can enable or disable FAST Cache without change or downtime to the Dynamics AX applications. You can also use FAST Cache for individual pools. This enables flash drives to service active data to dramatically improve the response time. FAST VP FAST VP is an advanced automatic data tiering service for a storage pool with the following choices: Extreme Performance tier Flash drives Performance tier Serial attached SCSI (SAS) drives Capacity tier Near-line SAS (NL-SAS) drives The granularity of a slice for data relocation in an EMC VNX series is 256 MB, a significant refinement of the 1 GB slice size of previous EMC VNX storage systems. Finer grained FAST VP storage tiering provides several benefits, including better efficiency for data movement, more accurate relocation decisions, and reduced 13

14 storage space overhead during the relocation. Figure 4 shows the Unisphere interface to create a three-tier FAST VP in RAID 5 (4+1). Figure 4. Unisphere interface for creating FAST VP Thin provisioning One of the biggest challenges facing storage administrators is to allocate storage space based on anticipated storage growth, which often leads to overprovisioning of storage capacity with high cost. However, shortage of storage space can occur even with careful planning, often resulting in application downtime for some operating systems. EMC VNX thin provisioning technology addresses these challenges. With thin provisioning, physical storage can be subscribed from the shared pool for on-demand capacity. Thin provisioning technology enables storage administrators to adapt changing application and business requirements without incurring downtime. 14

15 EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) simplifies the management of EMC storage in Windows and application environments. ESI supports thin provisioning by allowing Microsoft Windows administrators to provision, monitor, and automate management of EMC storage from Microsoft management consoles with ESI. VNX data-at-rest-encryption Starting in the third quarter of 2014, all EMC Next-Generation VNX systems (whether new shipments or deployed units) will support VNX Data-At-Rest-Encryption functionality. functionality can be turned on non-disruptively. This capability complements other security features to ensure that sensitive data related to Dynamics AX business management solutions is protected even if drives are removed from the storage system. This is particularly relevant for consumer credit card information for Point of Sale (POS) solutions in retail management systems. VNX uses Controller Based Encryption (CBE), with a centralized embedded encryption key manager to deliver on the maximum data encryption efficiencies. Efficiencies include encrypting all your data with the least amount of fuss or impact, automated key management, and a simple set-it and forget-it activation. All data on a VNX system is automatically converted to encrypted data. All new data is automatically encrypted as it goes to disk. No data is stored on disk without first being encrypted. An embedded encryption key manager automatically generates encryption keys at the creation of RAID groups or when a pool is established, stores and protects the keys, and automatically deletes keys when drives are removed from the system for prolonged periods. VNX also supports all the advanced VNX data services. Functionality such as Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST), deduplication, compression, snapshots, and replication, is all supported on your encrypted VNX array. Microsoft Windows Server and Hyper-V virtualization Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft Windows Server 2012 provides enterprise-class and cost-effective solutions for a virtualized computing environment. Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization enables you to effectively use CPU and memory resources for rapid deployment of applications. This reference architecture describes a virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure that uses Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization. Microsoft SQL Server provides the powerful data management capability that is required for Dynamics AX business applications. SQL Server manages two kinds of data for Dynamics AX: model data and business data. Model data is a group of metadata used for Dynamics AX applications such forms, tables, and reports. Business data consists of transactions incurred in business operations. In earlier versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, SQL Server stored model data and business data in a single database. In Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, the model store and the business data are stored in separate SQL databases. Microsoft SharePoint The Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal provides an easy-to-use, browser-based user interface built-upon Microsoft SharePoint functionality. The Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal integrates closely with Microsoft SharePoint to enable customers, vendors, and employees to collaborate and respond quickly in a business environment. 15

16 Internet Information Server (IIS) Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Internet Information Services (IIS) provides a gateway for data exchange between Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal clients to access the Dynamics AX services. The data exchange between Dynamics AX services and Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal clients uses an XML format in the application integration framework (AIF). This enables the Dynamics AX services to be available to users and applications across an intranet. The Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal, as shown in Figure 5, is a web-based application for users to access data. The Enterprise Portal integrates closely with Microsoft SharePoint to enable customers, vendors, and employees to collaborate and respond quickly in a business environment. For example, you can use the web-based forms for access to the information associated with the job functions for specific users. Figure 5 shows an example of an employee self-service portal, a site created by the Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal. Employees can create new expense reports, order products, check approval status, enter timesheets, and connect with teams and organizations through this web portal. Organizations can customize the contents of the portal based on their own requirements. This example includes several business transactions, such as expense reports, purchase orders, timesheets, and approvals that were created as a simulated workload by the Dynamics AX performance benchmark. 16

17 Figure 5. Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Application Object Server (AOS) An AOS is a core component of the three-layer Dynamics AX infrastructure that handles business logic. For example, an AOS can execute queries that are entered through the web forms. An AOS also controls communications among Dynamics AX clients, databases, and applications. Figure 6 shows the AOS system administration page, which provides a tool for administrators to manage users, generate reports, make inquiries about history jobs, create data partitions, run periodic clean up tasks, and perform setup tasks for security, system parameters, workflow, database, and product licensing. 17

18 Figure 6. Dynamics AX interface for an AOS configuration Dynamics AX performance benchmark The Dynamics AX performance benchmark creates a simulated workload for Dynamics AX. The workload contains several typical business transactions, such as sales order creation, timesheet entry, expense entry, and purchase requisitions. 18

19 Implementation and best practices Introduction This chapter describes the sizing and performance considerations and best practices for implementing virtualized Dynamics AX solutions that are enabled by an EMC VNX unified storage system and include the following sections: Designing the storage layout Configuring Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization Configuring SQL Server Configuring SharePoint Configuring Application Object Server Performance characteristics of the Dynamics AX configuration Designing the storage layout The design considerations and best practices in this section provide storage sizing and performance guidelines for a Dynamics AX configuration. Storage layout best practices Consider the following best practices for storage layout design in your virtualized Dynamics AX infrastructure. You must calculate the capacity needed for each storage component in Dynamics AX virtualized environment, including the: SQL Server virtual machine SharePoint virtual machine for Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal AOS virtual machines You can then determine the size of storage pools. Consider the projected growth of data and workload. For example, 10% data growth rate per year requires extra storage space for the SQL Server data store. Additionally, a 10% workload growth rate per year requires additional AOS virtual servers when existing AOS servers reach their processing capacity. Choose the storage tiers, as shown in Table 3, for your storage pool, based on specific capacity and performance requirements. Table 3. Tiers of storage pool Type of storage tier Type of drives RAID type Extreme performance tier Balanced performance capacity tier Flash drives SAS drives (15K RPM) RAID 1/0 (4+4) RAID 5 (4+1) RAID 1/0 (4+4) RAID 5 (4+1) Capacity tier NL-SAS drives (7.2K RPM) RAID 6 (4+2) 19

20 To set up the storage tiers: For Hyper-V virtual machines, use a balanced performance capacity tier in a RAID5 (4+1). If high performance is desired, use FAST VP with an extreme performance tier. Alternatively, the extreme performance tier can be used for tempdb pool to boost SQL performance. Create separate storage pools for SQL Server data files, tempdb files, and SQL log files. Use a RAID 1/0 (4+4) in balanced performance capacity pool for the SQL files, and enable FAST Cache for the SQL data pool and tempdb pool to boost the performance for Dynamics AX OLTP workload. Use a capacity pool with a RAID 6 (4+2) for data backup. Data backup is a separate topic which is not covered in this document. Review the performance considerations for each storage pool as described in this section. Storage layout example Figure 7 shows an example of storage layout for a Dynamics AX virtualized environment. To design your own Dynamics AX virtualized environment, follow the guidelines in this chapter to design one for your specific storage sizing and performance requirements. Figure 7. An example of storage layout for Dynamics AX Configuring Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization This section describes the best practices and design considerations for a fully virtualized Dynamics AX implementation. Dynamics AX virtualization best practices Configuring virtual machines for sizing and performance follows the same concepts as physical machines, but the required software resources are different. EMC recommends that you consider the following guidelines in Dynamics AX virtualization: Ensure network reliability by including a redundant pair of switches, which can be coupled with the advanced networking features of EMC VNX that 20

21 provide multiple Fibre Channel connections to guard against a single point of network failure. Use EMC FAST VP with both an extreme performance tier that uses flash drives and a balanced performance capacity tier with SAS drives in a RAID 5 (4+1) for virtualization storage pools. Do not use near line-serial attached SCSI (NL- SAS) drives, which are primarily used for capacity. Allocate sufficient vcpu and memory resources based on the application workload that resides on the corresponding Hyper-V virtual machines. Pay special attention to the Hyper-V virtual machine hosting an SQL Server instance to ensure that it has adequate processing power for handling Dynamics AX OLTP workload. Configuring SQL Server SQL Server is the central datastore for Dynamics AX business and model databases. The response time for Dynamics AX to handle an OLTP transaction is heavily dependent upon the performance of the SQL Server. This section describes the best practices and design considerations of storage sizing and performance to implement a virtualized SQL Server to support a Dynamics AXOL TP workload. Microsoft provides extensive documentation for configuring the SQL Server to achieve optimal performance of Dynamics AX. Use Microsoft documentation as the primary resource for tuning SQL Server performance for Dynamics AX. Configure SQL Server and storage settings [AX 2012], on Microsoft TechNet, provides details. Best practices for SQL Server implementation Consider the following best practices for an SQL Server implementation: For optimal availability and performance, use a dedicated SQL Server for Dynamics AX databases either in virtualized environment or deployment with a physical server. Use a RAID1/0 for SQL files and create separate storage pools for the SQL data file, tempdb file, and log file if absolute performance is required. Enable FAST Cache for the SQL data storage pool and tempdb storage pool. Do not enable FAST Cache for the SQL log storage pool because the SQL log I/O is write intensive and does not benefit from FAST Cache. Calculate the size of the SQL storage pool based on sizing requirements and consider the projected data growth per year. Best practices often suggest creating multiple tempdb files in equal size with one tempdb file per processor core. However, a 4:1 ratio or two tempdb distributed files at minimum is sufficient. Ensure that SQL Server has adequate computer resources for the Dynamics AX workload, such as the number of vcpus and the amount of memory. Set the maximum degree of parallelism (MAXDOP=0, the default value) to make full use of the multiple vcpus. Configuring SharePoint Microsoft SharePoint is used as an Enterprise Portal for reporting purposes in Dynamics AX. The workload of Dynamics AX reporting is not covered in this document. Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics AX [AX 2012], on Microsoft TechNet, provides details. 21

22 Configuring Application Object Server Microsoft Dynamics AX is a three-layer infrastructure with an Application Object Server (AOS) that provides an intermediate layer between the client layer and the SQL Server data layer. AOS can consolidate data requests, enable multiple connections to the SQL database, and communicate with each other for load balancing. This section describes the storage sizing and performance best practices and design considerations for implementing a scalable AOS. The AOS can scale up and scale out. The AOS scales up by using more CPU processor cores and memory resources. The AOS scales out by adding extra AOS instances to the Dynamics AX environment. AOS implementation best practices Consider the following AOS implementation best practices: Ensure the efficiency of data communication by minimizing the traffic between the client and the server when designing Dynamics AX applications: Run client logic related to a user interface, such as forms, on a client. Run business logic, such as queries, on AOS. Run database access, such as read/write table data, on the database server. Improve the performance of Dynamics AX applications by sharing AOS objects. Use multiple AOS servers to avoid overloading any single AOS server by using the Dynamics load balancing feature to enable applications to distribute the workload across the AOS tier. Use the Windows Performance Monitor to monitor CPU Processes in the AOS Server. Consider increasing the number of AOS instances when performance degradation occurs due to the exhaustion of CPU and memory resources. Performance characteristics of the Dynamics AX configuration Overview We created a Dynamics AX infrastructure, as described in the previous sections, and then show the effect on system resource consumption for linear workload increases using a single AOS instance for a preliminary performance characterization of Dynamics AX. We used a Dynamics AX performance benchmark as the workload to simulate a multi user environment for Dynamics AX OLTP transactions. Dynamics AX load test The Dynamics AX performance benchmark, as shown in Figure 8, includes a load test that simulates business scenarios with a mix of business transactions from multiple concurrent users. The business transactions in the following test include sales order processing, purchase requisitions, expense entry, and timesheet entry. 22

23 Figure 8. User interface of Dynamics AX performance benchmark 23

24 Example of Dynamics AX virtualized configuration Table 4 shows an example of a virtualized Dynamics AX configuration. Dedicated SQL data volumes, SQL tempdb volumes, and SQL volumes are presented as passthrough disks to the virtualized SQL Server. To create your own configuration, consider your specific sizing and performance requirements and projected growth of data and the workload. Table 4. Dynamics AX configuration example Component vcpu Memory Thin provisioning? FAST Suite RAID LUN GB Yes FAST VP RAID5 (4+1) Volume of Windows OS for SQL Server: 300 GB SQL Server Enterprise Portal with SharePoint Yes FAST Cache RAID10 (4+4) Yes FAST Cache RAID10 (4+4) Yes RAID10 (4+4) 8 16 GB Yes FAST VP RAID5 (4+1) Volume for SQL data files as passthrough disk: 2,000 GB Volume for SQL log files as passthrough disk server: 500 GB Volume for SQL tempdb files as pass-through disk: 200 GB Volume of Windows OS for Enterprise Portal: 300 GB AOS Server 8 24 GB Yes FAST VP RAID5 (4+1) Volume of Windows OS for AOS Server: 100 GB Dynamics AX performance benchmark database and data composition The Dynamics AX performance benchmark was run on a 1 TB database with the following data composition: Multisite-enabled setup 727 companies, with 90% of the data in one company 100,000 customers across 59 customer groups 120,000 items across 100 item groups 100,000 vendors across 83 vendor groups 24

25 The run-time workload consists of four scenarios that include 1,500 active users with 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% concurrent users. Test methodology The load test was run for one hour to ensure that the Dynamics AX OLTP workload reached a constant state. The time interval to collect storage performance statistics can be configured in Unisphere. In addition, the Dynamics AX performance benchmark collects a set of predefined Windows Performance Monitor counters during the run. Four different user profiles were used in running Dynamics AX performance benchmark, as shown in Table 5. Table 5. User profiles for Dynamics AX performance benchmark User profile User profile scenarios 1 1,500 active users with 5% concurrent users 2 1,500 active users with 10% concurrent users 3 1,500 active users with 15% concurrent users 4 1,500 active users with 20% concurrent users Test results One AOS instance was deployed in the following test with the workload of Dynamics AX performance benchmark. Linear increase of concurrent users is used as an independent variable in the tests to observe the corresponding changes of storage IOPS on SQL data volume under the Dynamics AX configuration with a single-aos instance. The test results, as shown in Figure 9, indicate that storage IOPS of SQL data volume increases in approximate linear fashion as the workload of Dynamics AX increases. Figure 9. Relative IOPS trend of SQL data volume as the workload increases 25

26 Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Conclusion Dynamics AX 2012 R3 adds support to deploy Dynamics AX in the cloud environment on Windows Azure, as well as mobile applications and other new enhancements in functionality such as new retail features, budget planning, and transportation management. To deploy Dynamics AX in the cloud represents a new trend in today s economic environment for cost-savings to reduce both IT personnel and hardware expense for deployment and maintenance of specialized systems. Dynamics AX 2012 R3 provides a new opportunity to further our work for cloud deployment of Dynamics AX with high volume workload using multiple AOS instances. EMC Next Generation VNX storage systems provide customers with a scalable storage solution and industry-leading capabilities to deploy a fully virtualized Microsoft Dynamics AX infrastructure. The EMC VNX series provides a wide range of storage options from an entry-level configuration to an upscale enterprise storage system, but with significant improvement in scalability, efficiency, and simplicity. These new technologies provide an easier and more reliable way to provision storage for Microsoft Dynamics AX, while enabling transparent, non-disruptive data mobility between storage tiers for a better user experience. 26

27 References EMC documentation The following documents, located on EMC Online Support, provide additional and relevant information. Note: Access to these documents depends on your login credentials. If you do not have access to a document, contact your EMC representative: Introduction to the New VNX Series VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, and VNX8000: A Detailed Review EMC VNX Multicore FAST Cache VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, & VNX8000 EMC VNX FAST VP VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, & VNX8000: A Detailed Review Virtual Provisioning For The New VNX Series VNX5200, VNX5400, VNX5600, VNX5800, VNX7600, & VNX8000 EMC Unisphere: Unified Storage Management Solution EMC VSPEX For Virtualized Oracle Database 11g OLTP Enabled by EMC Next- Generation VNX and EMC Backup EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) v3.0 for Microsoft Windows Suite Microsoft documentation The following Microsoft documents, located on the Microsoft website, also provide useful information: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Hyper-V benchmark summary Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Hyper-V Benchmark Detail Planning database configuration for Microsoft Dynamics AX Developing Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX in a Shared AOS Development Environment Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Performance Benchmark SDK 27

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