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July 30, 2011

Step by step approach to expose on-premise database using Azure infrastructure - Part 2

In the last blog we understood the usage of Azure-connect to expose on-premise SQL database and accordingly the points of concern while doing that and also the benefit. In this blog we will understand another approach using Azure appfabric Service Bus.

For the complete post, please refer to this.

July 25, 2011

When MS Dynamics AX 2009 system maintenance went wrong

Hi, I had planned to carry on the journey of our sharing the experiences of AX2009 roll out   in Eastern Europe but Last week went bit unplanned and hectic. There was a scheduled plan of doing AX 2009 Application maintenance in the production environment. As our client operates across multiple time zones seven days a week there is specific window in which the maintenance needs to be carried out. The maintenance did happen and the system was released to the users as per plan.
Things appeared fine initially, but as days progressed with increase in number of users connecting to the system across geographies the AX2009 system started showing signs of freezing. The  users  when attempted to do anything in AX, were faced with system freeze as the system did not allow them to place orders, do payment management, or other things associated with the functions they needed to perform on daily basis.
Within some time it  became practically  impossible for the users to work. A severity Level- 1 help desk call was logged by the customer IT service team and was assigned to the Infosys Application support team. Further the scheduled full backup failed   post maintenance created another critical issue.

During the initial investigation it was observed  that  There were lot of Locks in the database  as first action  the AX support team  tried  to  free  locked sessions by seeing the blocking SPIDS  and killing them to see if the problem goes off, further  the team  did AOS servers restart but the problem continued. On detailed analysis it was found there were lots of Page waits on the Inventory and sales related transactions. The individual waits were not that bad but there were lots of them, they seem to be on inventtrans regularly.
Half the indexes were missing on the inventtrans on Sql Server database also there was no clustered index and the table was a heap leading to trashed performance.
It Appeared that the  Indexes on the Invent Trans table which was  huge table of over 20 GB size have got accidently  deleted  along with few other tables   while  doing maintenance which was causing  huge paging issues and freezing in the AX 2009 database.  It appeared possibly Indexing  process stopped abruptly while Index reorganisation job was executing .Further on investigating the cause of failure of the backup job it appeared that the trashed indexes on the database   had an impact on the overall table sizes, increasing the database size and increasing the backup size tremendously leading   this is a disc full during backup error.

Once the team had identified the issue as resolution we had to run AX 2009 Synchronization from Application side as to ensure the Indexes at application level matches with Indexes at Database level. For that we had to get AX2009 system offline. It took couple of hours to recreate all indexes as part of running synchronization to build all Indexes. On Inventtrans it took longest time. As all the Indexes have synchronised post running the AX Application Synchronization, after doing basic testing the AX2009 system was issued back to users under monitoring till the time users reported that all the operations are fine. It was also decided to revisit the backup strategy as client  were left with only one Backup and the clean up script deletes the backup which is  x hrs old  since it is purely date/time based.
From Next blog I will continue my journey of our AX 2009 rollout in Eastern Europe. Signing off for now


July 19, 2011

Step by step approach to expose on-premise database using Azure infrastructure

With the advancement of Azure cloud infrastructure, there arise many heterogeneous requirements which are of type of system(s) having combination of on-cloud and on-premise components. Specially from the on-premise database point of view for certain scenario, this blog series is intended to explain the options, steps, concerns and benefits of different approaches.

For complete blog, please refer to this.

July 15, 2011

Collaboration and Microsoft's Business Productivity Offerings

Microsoft provides Business Productivity framework and tools related to it for enterprises. Let's see in this blog what does it provides and what offering are available from Microsoft in this field.

Business Productivity
Productivity is efficiency of a person or system or application to convert inputs into useful outputs which can be commercially viable. Business Productivity is the efficiency of a business to utilize its people and resources to provide maximum output in terms of goods and services. Improved business productivity leads to increase in revenue and profits.
There were many industries which were using IT infrastructure and software products to improve and optimally utilize their resources, but most of the them were heterogenius in nature. Workflows were different for each product, timelines were different and they were not in synch with each other. So, business productivity was not at its best.
As the IT infrastructure and productivity from software products and applications improved in the later years, there was more computing powere available to enterprises at low cost. Thus more homogenius applications and process began to be used. Seeing the increased deployment of IT infrastructure and having a stack of tools / products from low level to high level (Infrastructure to Application), Microsoft came with BPIO Model (Business Prodcutivity Infrastructure Optimization model) and other models.
BPIO Model (Business Prodcutivity Infrastructure Optimization model)
The BPIO model is related to Business Productivity. For getting on to BPIO model, we need to have base infrastructure in place. Microsoft has also models and product / tools around this base infrastructure called Core IO Model (Infrastructure Optimization model). I will not go into the details of Core IO model, but below image tells more about this stack.
(Courtesy: Microsoft Corporation)
Figure 1: Core IO Model
The Core IO model focuses around:
  1. IT Process and Compliance.
  2. Identity and Security Services.
  3. Client Services (Desktop client, Thin client etc.).
  4. Datacenter Services.

The BPIO model sits on top of this Core IO model and leverages optimal utilization of basic IT infrastructure.


(Courtesy: Microsoft Corporation)

Figure 2: BPIO 

The BPIO model shows enterprises how to plan and strategise for the future IT implementation in the organization. This also provides a strategic role to IT units in an organization. The BPIO model has four optimization levels:
  1. Basic
  2. Standardized
  3. Rationalized
  4. Dynamic.

A organization as it progresses and grows in IT infrastructure, moves from Basic towards Dynamic organization. Important part of BPIO at the application level is Collaboration. Effective collaboration between employees within an organization and within teams is important. For that, Microsoft has offering for functionalities like, Workspaces, Portals, Social Computing and Project Management.

One important product that provides it all is: SharePoint Server. Specifically with the coming of SharePoint Server 2010, Social Computing incollaboration stack has increased.

BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services suite)

After the success of BPIO model and Microsoft came with BPOS (Business Productivity Online Services suite). This is a set of collaboration and messaging suite provided by Microsoft as subscription and SaaS. It includes Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Office Comunication Online and Live Meeting online. This offering has got discontinued now.

Office 365

As more and more organizations are adopting Cloud based services, Microsoft along with its cloud offering Azure, introduced, cloud productivity service microsoft Office 365. In Office 365, Microsoft provides, Office Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Office Web Apps.


MSCollaborationTools.pngFigure 3: Microsoft Collaboration Business Productivity Tools / Applications

Microsoft has consolidated all these offering in the form of "Microsoft Business Productivity Platform" and has a pie for every type of professional to Enterprise. The Business Productivity Platform by Microsoft solves the collaboration challenges faced by enterprises, teams and individuals by providing solutions for:
  1. Infrastructure Optimization.
  2. Multi-generational workforce.
  3. Distribute workforce.
  4. Mobile Information workers.

By including IT and Collaboration in their Enterprise model and growing from one level to another level of Collaboration optimization, today's organizations can reduce overhead costs and improve their Business Productivity.

July 8, 2011

The learning's from Ax2009 Rollout in Eastern Europe (Part-2)

Hi All,as promised in my previous blog where I shared  challenges in getting fiscal printer  integrated  with Ax2009 SP1  I will continue to share another challenge which we  faced during our First Ax2009 rollout in Eastern Europe  This  was related to statutory  Invoicing & reporting .Once we had come out of the hurdles of  Fiscal Printer integration, immediate challenge was related to the Statutory Invoicing   on Fiscal Printer and VAT registers reporting.

Statutory Invoicing for Fiscal Printer   in Eastern Europe requires separation of positive and negative lines of the Invoice. Only positive Lines should go to fiscal printer for Printing Zero Value or negative value lines should not be printed on the Invoices generated from fiscal printer. The AX  2009  System  does not support this by default . It required Customisation to handle this scenario by adding flag.


For VAT register reporting we primarily faced two major problems:

a)  Not able to view VAT reporting Menu and the reports under General Ledger: - This Issue was due to the non-enabling of the configuration key while doing GLS merge

b)  Cannot view any data in statutory Input VAT report or Output VAT report: - This issue was due to errors in VAT setup Configuration as the VAT setup differs for EU region which governs the generation statutory VAT registers.

Tracing this, there was a field in this form TaxTable(TaxTable).TaxType_W,  had different values.

We changed  from "Other"to "Standard VAT"
This worked and finally we were able to view all reports.

In my next Blog  I will continue the  journey of our Eastern  Europe  AX 2009 roll out   experience further with  a new challenge we faced and how we resolved.  Signing  off for now. Keep looking out for this space till then.




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