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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Azure: Full SQL Server planned for Windows Azure Platform

At the MSDN developers conference this week, Microsoft made the direction statement that now there will be a Full version of SQL Server in the cloud, vs. just having SQL Server Data Services.

The story was first came out at the register: 'Full' SQL Server planned for Microsoft's Azure cloud - Partners Demanded It

Also Mary Jo over at her 'All about Microsoft Blog' at ZDNet helps to try and put this all together and give some insight into the driving forces behind this rethink: SQL Data Services to get an overhaul

From Microsoft CEO Ballmer:
"The next version of SQL Server will do some phenomenal things in business intelligence, and data warehousing. We’ll have a new high end version that we call Data Center some time over the next year or so. We have an Azure version for the cloud announced that will reach fruition with the PDC this year."

Why does this matter? Well I guess if you think about this, it was going to happen sooner or later. People will want a 'full control' cloud platform, including down to the data layer. SQL Server Data Services could be fine for a light weight application, but an application that could be spanning a large amount of data, transation and so forth will need a full blown, heavy level SQL Server.

So this is the right move, and the right time to make it. While Azure is still in beta. This further makes the point that Azure is the only 'true' Cloud Platform.

I want to add one last thought to this. Without such a move by Microsoft, I don't think ERPLive.com or 'Dynamics ERP in Cloud' would ever be possible. This will ensure that such a future step will be taking place now, and give the ability for true control and customization of such an offering to the customer level.

Check back soon, and many thanks to those that covered this for us and brought it to our attention!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Microsoft's 2009 focus

Over at the ZDNet 'All about Microsoft' blog, Mary Jo wrote about Steve Ballmer's outline for Microsoft for 2009.

The link to the post is here: Microsoft’s Ballmer outlines his seven big bets for 2009

I would like for you to notice this:
"3. Desktop productivity — This is Microsoft’s most profitable business — Office, SharePoint and ERP/CRM products and services — area at present. No Office 14 until 2010, but higher-priced client-access licenses and strong “attach sales” of other Microsoft products are keeping the business strong."

So looking at this, you can see that more and more Dynamics barnd ERP and CRM are being put into the same focus area as Office. This is important to understand, and should further put to the point that we have been talking about here. Office is becoming more and more a part, and being a part of, Dynamics AX.

It is also nice to understand that Microsoft will continue to focus on this, and invest into this area. So for those trying to decide on what ERP platform to choose, this should matter to you a lot, because during a heavy downturn the top Software maker is investing and will continue to invest and be there for you.

Anyway thought this was for sure a note worthy point to make.

Check back soon as I have more great post coming out this week and next. And then we have Convergence! A lot to talk about, a lot...

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dynamics AX 2009 - X++, C# Comparison

Well I was actually searching for something yesterday, and came across something interesting that I never noticed before. I know it’s been a part of the Dynamics AX 2009 SDK > X++ Languaged Programming Guide but I just never took notice of this.

What I am talking about is the X++, C# Comparisons that live on MSDN as part of the online Dynamics AX 2009 SDK.

A linke to this can be found here: ’X++, C# Comparisons on MSDN’

So there is a good bit covered in this: Loops, Switches, Array, Collections, Exceptions, Operators, Classes etc.

The one that I also want you to see is the Object Oriendted Programming one. Found here: OOP –X++, C# Comparison

This is actually a very nice comparison and gives you insight, if you don’t already know, about the differences of X++ and sometimes it limitations in comparison to C#.

I think this is a very handy thing to note, and something that can come in handy when helping new technical folks get use to X++. Espcially if they already know C#.

Check back soon as we continue on and on into the Dynamics world...!

The links were not working, and now they are! Sorry for the trouble!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lets Learn Azure

I have not mentioned Microsoft Cloud Platform, Azure since the start of the year. Like all things it's covered, and then you move to what is going on and come back to it when the time is right.

Well the time is right to start really learning Azure now. The reason why the time is right, is because we now have some good resources that will take you through Azure.

First I want to share with you the Azure Services Training Kit, published by Microsoft on Feb. 11th. I recommend downloading that and running through all the demo scripts, demo's and so forth to really get up to speed on all that is Azure.

The link to the download can be found here: Azure Service Training kit - Download

Next I want to give you the direct link to the Azure home page found here: Microsoft Azure Portal

It has some really great things on there that can take you deeper and deeper into each services area that makes up the total offering called Azure.

Then I want to send you over to 'The Elder''s blog. Recently he did a post that takes and gives you 5 great videos for learning Azure and doing something with it. I recommend using these after going through the training kit.

The link to that post is here: The Elder: Windows Azure: How Do I Videos

I plan on taking and walking through all of this myself, and talking more in the future about how this will affect and be used with a Dynamics AX implementation.

Check back soon as I add Azure and Dynamics AX to the growing list of topics that I am covering on a regular basis.

See you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just realized, but this blog has been posted on Microsoft's TechNet for being in the spot light.

Here is a screen shot from the page:

I am honored to have this blog and the work that goes into it spotlighted on TechNet. The direct link to the TechNet community page can be found here:
Microsoft TechNet - Community Home Page

Thanks to the editors of TechNet for choosing this blog, and for picking up what I write from time to time on it.

Check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Dynamics BI: BI for the Masses

Recently Microsoft made the announcement that Office PerformancePoint Server will soon become PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint Server.

The move can best be described by the recent statment from Microsoft on their Partner Program entry about BI: (Link Here)
"The Microsoft business intelligence (BI) strategy is to use the tools found in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office Excel —and the scalable Microsoft SQL Server business intelligence platform —to deliver BI to anyone in any organization. This strategy enables customers to deploy complete BI solutions through existing investments in these three key Microsoft products."

So when have been talking about Office being more and more the front end for Dynamics AX for years now. And with some of the confusion that has surronded the BI road map and approach in the past, this move seems to be the best move forward.

Now we do have a clear direction on 'BI for the masses'. And this direction has been bulding up for the past several years, and it started with the release of Dynamics AX 4.0.

With this new path, we can now really start to focus on using SQL Server's BI offerings with OLAP mixed with SharePoint and PerformancePoint Services for Dashboards, scorecards, KPI, and make Excel the front end for view and using this combined information to make Office Business Applications and Custom BI reports for customers. We also use this platform to enable our customers to create ad-hoc BI reports with much ease --- once all of this is in place.

The move can start to happen now though with SQL Server's OLAP, and Dynamics AX 2009 and Office 2007. You can already create great BI reports and dashboards inside Excel with today's technology that will build up and allow you to add to that the PerformancePoint Services offerings that will also be delivered via SharePoint.

Now I did mention something else in there, OBA or Office Business Applications. This concept was introduced with VSTO in Visual Studio 2005 and Office 2007 and the offering really expanded with the release of .Net 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008.

Image source from the AXStart blog located here: AXStart Blog Post

So OBA's exists and can be bought or custom made by partners and customers. These are Office centered applications, code in managed code for offering up libraries, and full applications that achieve a business process.

As you can see in the image above, these can span multiple LOB Apps, or Line of Business Applications even beyond Dynamics ERP / CRM.

To find out more about OBA, I recomend going to the MSDN article found here: Building Office Business Applications

So are we starting to see what 'BI for the masses' is going to be? It will span possibly multiple LOB Apps, including having Dynamics AX at the heart of that, with SQL Server and ShaerPoint, and other Office Services at the stars for the delivery, shaping and mining of the needed information, using Excel as the front end for the presentation of such information.

This is an exciting move forward, because everywhere I go, everyone loves to use Excel as their choice of reporting tool actually. And this BI for the masses simply builds on that desire and drive and keeps Excel as the front end to a very flexible, scalable and desireable BI platform that fits in the smallest of companies to the top of the fortune 500.

If you would like information on BI for Dynamics AX and the Dynamics Platform, feel free to contact us at Sunrise: Sunrise Contact us link. Make sure to tell them I sent you!

Also check back soon as I continue down the BI path, and also bring in some exciting information and interview about the Recent BPM / SOA conference and it's topic on Dynmaics AX. I also have been contacted about a soon to be release Dynamics AX 2009 book that I will be reviewing, and on top of that more SQL Server... so I have a lot coming out.

See you then!

I wanted to also make sure and point you to the Offical Microsoft BI home on the web. That can be found here: Microsoft.com/BI. Check it out. A lot of good information can be found there.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Friday, February 13, 2009

All About Microsoft: Microsoft at the Mall?

Alright, I had to post this when I read about it. It's not directly related to Dynamics AX, however it's very interesting. Microsoft is set to open up retail stores.

Check out the post from Mary Jo over at her blog 'All About Microsoft': Microsoft to follow Apple with its own family of retail stores

From the post:
"Microsoft is planning to launch a number of new Microsoft-branded retail stores, according to a company press release issued late in the day on February 12.

The press release announced the appointment of David Porter, a new Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores. Formerly with Dreamworks Animation and Wal-mart, Porter starts his new job at Microsoft on February 16."

So you have an Ex Wal-Mart pro going to be heading this up. Seems like a right person to do the trick. So what's going to be the focus?: Windows Live, Windows 7, Windows Mobile, Windows Surface maybe? What about Dynamics? Will that be something you can test drive and buy 2 for the price of 1? (LOL) Ok doubt that, but in serious could be a way to introduce the Consumer based levels, which Microsoft seems to really be going for. X-Box for sure will be there, and if Zune continues...

Here is a link to the Microsoft offical press release about this: Microsoft Appoints David Porter as Corporate Vice President of Retail Stores

From the MS Press Release:
"“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers,” Porter said. “I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success.”"

Interesting read into those words there right?

Well being a Microsoft kind of guy, I hope it takes off and does great! Lets see though if we can sneak in a Dynamics AX booth in there somewhere... :-)

Check back soon...

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Atlanco Makes Tactical Decision to Upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009

Sunrise just had a recent press release, talking about one of our clients making a tactical decision to upgrade from Dynamics AX 3.0 to 2009.

A direct link to the press release can be found here: Atlanco Makes Tactical Decision to Upgrade from Microsoft Dynamics AX 3.0 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009

From the press release:
"Atlanco was running the Microsoft Axapta 3.0 ERP solution when the company made the decision to upgrade to the migration Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 version of the product, which was released in June 2008. The upgrade provided many benefits to the company such as a more intuitive user interface and a more robust integration platform (AIF). Atlanco is also making use of the new SQL Reporting tools and Analysis Services to quickly and easily create reports in a variety of formats. The upgrade also gave Atlanco the opportunity to clean up any erroneous data that existed in the system and to take advantage of some of the new features of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, such as integrated credit card processing. Users and management have a greater trust and confidence in the accuracy of their data."

And more...
"Atlanco chose Microsoft partner Sunrise Technologies to complete the upgrade process. Andy Laurance, Director of IT for Atlanco, stated “I have been involved with many major upgrades/conversions in my IT career and this upgrade has been the smoothest, most efficient, and error free project I have experienced….The diligence and expertise of the Sunrise Technologies Team assigned to us definitely provided us an advantage which I do not feel we would have gotten from any other Microsoft AX channel Partner.”

Sunrise Senior Technical Architect Don Ramsay used the Microsoft Dynamics AX migration tools and process provided by Microsoft to upgrade the data and heavily-customized code from Atlanco’s 3.0 version to the new 2009 version. Don commented on these tools: “I’ve performed many [Microsoft Dynamics] AX upgrades in the past, dating back to version 2.5, and this was easily one of the smoothest upgrades that I’ve performed. The enhanced data conversion and code comparison tools facilitated an aggressive implementation timeline.”"

Way to got Atlanco and Sunrise teams! This is great news, and it's great to hear of a smooth upgrade from 3.0 to 2009. So if your out there wondering about upgradring, and thinking your just stuck with 3.0, you don't have to be. Let us know and we can help you out: Sunrise Technologies, Inc. Web Site link.

Check back soon...

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Busy, Busy...

Well I am super swampped this week, with work (which is a good problem) and also studying after hours for the Dynamics AX 2009 Install & Config exam. I am taking the exam this Friday, so I will let everyone know how it goes, and what I think of it.

I am using the courseware and my own knowledge to get ready for the exam.

Also I have some great post coming up soon about BPM, Workflow, SOA, BizTalk, the Microsoft SOA conference recently, and more on SQL Server... so a lot in the works.

Check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Blog Spotlight: 'C# and AX Development'

I wanted to take this wonderful Friday, and do a little step back from posting directly from me, in order to spotlight a blog I came across.

The blog that I want to spot light is:
'C# and AX Development'

The 'C# and AX Development' blog is ran by Oscar Londono, out of Canada. This blog has had active post since 2007, and has a lot of good information on it. This is a great resource actually for C# post and knowledge, with AX thrown in there as it applies to the C# examples provided.

So if your looking for a great source on C# with AX Development in mind, take a look at Oscar's blog.

Thanks Oscar for taking the time to blog as much as you have, with great examples! Keep it up, and check back here soon for more DAX, Oslo, M, and SQL Server post coming up soon... see you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dynamics AX, SOA and Oslo on the mind...

Alright, so I have been doing a lot of degrees of seperation lately, or thinking in such terms. The area's of topic, by choice, are Dynamics AX, SOA and Oslo. I started thinking about these 3, two products and one an arch. that is used to bridge systems, interconnecting products.

Then, even as I was typing that, about being products, in turn I realized that Dynamics AX and Oslo are not products really, not anymore, well not anymore for Dynamics AX.

When Dynamics AX was called Axapta, and back before Microsoft bought it, you could consider Axapta a product on the verge of becoming a platform.

With the release of Dynamics AX 4.0, this product grew up and became a real platform for the first time. It integrated and fit, nicely sometimes and not so nicely on others, into the Microsft stack. And why not right?

Microsoft is a platform company, that is what they are. They provide the platform that partners and customers use to provide and create solutions with.

Alright so Dynamics AX and Oslo are platforms, and SOA is an Arch. Well recently, Microsoft hosted their SOA conference. The home page can be found here: Real World SOA: 2009 Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference

At the conference there was a lot of different topics covered, and I plan on getting into some of the details in a later post (hopefully) about in specific session. For now though I wanted to talk about these two platforms and the one arch. The reason is, in the not to distant future Oslo (along with "Dublin") will be released from Microsoft as live products platforms / services, and they are already in the line up for Microsoft Dynamics AX roadmap.

The reason they are is that Oslo, Dublin and Dynamics AX with the help of SOA will become platforms that work together with the rest of the Microsoft stack, like office, to help deliver to business that make use of the Dynamics AX business platform, create and manage business workflows.

Big deal huh? I mean this is already happenning right with the release of Dynamics AX 2009 and it's use of the .Net 3.5 workflow engine right? Technically the answer is yes. But... (and you knew there was a but) there is a lot of code that goes into these workflows, the designer is a tree down designer, and the flow of these workflows are not very flexible.

Enter WF in .Net 4.0. This will come into play, along with Visio like diagram ability to offer partners and customers to create workflows with greater ease soon, that are more flexible and less code.

A little later, enter Dublin + Oslo (along with the letter "M" [more in a bit about M.]) with WF 4.0 (and beyond) and you have the *desired* goal of creating business process workflows that are managed and created by users, with complex flows and use of logic, with 80%-90% estimated less code than currently exists with workflows in Dynamics AX 2009 and .Net 3.5.

So with all this said, what's the point?

1.) You can create workflows now in Dynamics AX 2009, that will help manage your business processes, out of the box.

2.) In the very near future, this will be improved with .Net 4.0 and WF, along with a new designer for the workflow that will be Visio like. The workflows will be easier to manage and offer more flexibility, with less code.

3.) In the next release of Dynamics AX (based on current road map) Oslo + Dublin, along with the modeling language "M", yes a new language that we will explore here, will be used by normal super users to create, manage and maintain business work flows and processes, without the need of much coding in X++ or C#. (Based on information from Microsoft)

So we have some exciting new things to look at with this. Look for more on this, later this week, as we look back in time at the PDC 2008 that happended last October to talk about this in greater detail and to get some direction on the who, what, when, how... and why of this topic.

Check back soon...

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