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Dynamics AX Updates

Replicating Multitier AX Application

Overview

Dynamics AX is one of the most popular ERP solutions used by enterprises by providing AX onsite support and AX offshore support to standardize processes across locations, manage resources, and simplify compliance. Because the application is critical to an organization, in the event of a disaster, the application should be up and running in minimum time with or without AX onsite support and AX offshore support

Today, Dynamics AX doesn’t give any out-of-the-box disaster recovery capabilities. Dynamics Axapta consists of many server components, such as Windows AOS, Azure Active Directory, Azure SQL Database, SharePoint Server, and Reporting Services. To manage the recovery of the problem of each of these components manually is not only expensive but also error-prone.

This article explains you, how you can create a disaster recovery solution for your Dynamics AX app by using Azure Site Recovery. It also covers planned / unplanned test failovers by using a one-click recovery plan, supported (AX offshore support or AX onsite support) configurations, and prerequisites.

Prerequisites

Implementing disaster recovery for the Dynamics AX application by using Site Recovery requires the following prerequisites:

• Set up an on-premises Dynamics AX deployment.

• Create the Site Recovery vault in an Azure subscription.

• If Azure is your recovery site, then run the Azure Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment tool on the VMs.

Site Recovery support

For the purpose of creating this article is, we used VMware virtual machines with the Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on Windows Server 2012 R2 Enterprise. Because site recovery replication is app agnostic, we expect the recommendations given here to hold for the following scenarios.

Source and target

Scenario  To a secondary site   To Azure
Hyper-V  Yes  Yes
VMware  Yes  Yes
Physical server  Yes  Yes

Enable the disaster recovery of the Dynamics AX application by using Site Recovery

Protect your Dynamics AX application

To enable the complete application replication and recovery, each component of the Dynamics AX must be protected.

1. Set up Active Directory and DNS replication

Active Directory is required on the disaster recovery site for Dynamics Axapta application to function. We recommend the below 2 choices based on the complexity of the customer’s on-premises environment.

Option 1

The customer has a small number of apps and the single domain controller for the entire on-premises site and plans to fail over the entire site together. We recommend that you use Site Recovery replication to replicate the domain controller machine to the secondary site.

Option 2

The customer has a large number of applications and is running the Active Directory forest and plans to fail over a few applications at a time. We recommend that you set up an extra domain controller on the disaster recovery site (a secondary site or in Azure).

2. Enable protection for the Dynamics AX client and Application Object Server VMs

Perform the relevant Site Recovery configuration based on whether the VMs are deployed on Hyper-V or VMware.

The below snapshot shows the protection status of Dynamics-component VMs in a VMware site-to-Azure protection scenario.

3. Configure networking

Configure VM compute and network settings

For the Dynamics Axapta client and AOS VMs, configure network settings in Site Recovery so that the VM networks get attached to the right disaster recovery network after failover. Ensure that the disaster recovery network for these tiers is routable to the SQL tier.

You can choose the VM in the replicated items to configure the network settings, as shown in the following snapshot:

  • For AOS servers, select the correct availability set.
  • If you’re using the static IP, mention the IP that you want the VM to take in the Target IP text box.
compute and network

compute and network

4. Create a recovery plan

You can make the recovery plan in Site Recovery to automate the failover process. Add an app tier and a web tier in the recovery plan.

  1. Choose the Site Recovery vault in your subscription, and select the Recovery Plans tile.
  2. Click on + Recovery plan, and specify a name.
  3. Select Source and Target. The target can be Azure or the secondary site. If you select Azure, you must specify the deployment model.
  4. Select the AOS and the client VMs for the recovery plan, and select the ✓.

You can customize the recovery plan for Dynamics AX application by including the following steps. The above snapshot shows the complete recovery plan after you add all the steps.

  • SQL Server failover steps: For data about recovery steps specific to SQL server
  • Failover Group 1: Failover the Application Object Server VMs. Make sure that the recovery point chosen is as close as possible to the database PIT, but not ahead of it.
  • Script: Include the load balancer (only E-A). Add a script (via Azure Automation) after the Application Object Server VM group comes up to add a load balancer to it.
  • Failover Group 2: Failover Dynamics Axapta client VMs. Failover the web tier VMs as part of the recovery plan.

Perform a test failover

For more data specific to Active Directory during test failover, see the Active Directory disaster recovery solution” companion guide.

  1. Go to the Azure portal, and choose your Site Recovery Vault.
  2. Select the recovery plan created for Dynamics AX.
  3. Click on Test Failover.
  4. Choose the virtual network to start the test failover process.
  5. After the secondary environment is up, you can perform the validations.
  6. After the validations are complete, choose Validations complete and the test failover environment is cleaned.

Perform a failover

  1. Go to the Azure portal, and choose your Site Recovery Vault.
  2. Select the recovery plan created for Dynamics AX.
  3. Click Failover, and select Failover.
  4. Choose the target network, and select to start the failover process.

Perform a failback

  1. Go to the Azure portal, and choose your Site Recovery Vault.
  2. Select the recovery plan created for Dynamics AX.
  3. Select Failover, and select Failover.
  4. Click Change Direction.
  5. Choose the appropriate options: data synchronization and VM creation.
  6. Select to start the failback process.

Summary

By using Site Recovery, you can create a complete automated disaster recovery plan for your Dynamics AX application. If issues still persist we recommended getting AX offshore support or AX onsite support and training from Microsoft certified partners. In the event of the disruption, you can initiate the failover within seconds from anywhere and get the app up and running in minutes.

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