Lifecycle Services: Update on Azure Environments

By Eric Newell | September 8, 2014

Microsoft added a new feature to Lifecycle Services on May 1, 2014 to allow customers and partner to create a pre-built environment Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on the Windows Azure platform with just a few clicks.  I documented the steps here: /dynamics-ax-2012-r3-demo-environments-on-windows-azure/.  In the August 2014 release, they added a few new features to this offering and removed the “beta” status from the initial release.  Please read the linked article for the basics – this article will just cover the new options.

Development, Test and Retail Environments in Lifecycle Services

In addition to the demo environment, you can now from many options of environments to deploy.  You can choose from the following:

  • Demo
  • Development/Test
  • Retail e-Commerce
  • Retail Essentials
  • Retail Essentials Demo
  • Retail Mobility

We haven’t worked with the Retail capability to this point, so I haven’t played around with those environments.

For the Development and Test environments, you can now set up a five box environment automatically where the right components of Dynamics AX will be installed.  It includes the key components necessary to run your Dynamics AX environment in the cloud.  With the AOS, client and Enterprise Portal virtual machines, you can select up to 4 instances of each if you need the additional horsepower (not sure you would for a dev or test environment, but this will be important when they roll out the pre-production and production options in the future).

  • Business Database – your SQL server
  • Application Object Server – the business logic
  • Client – the Dynamics AX install your users will connect to
  • Enterprise Portal – for access to the web components of Dynamics AX
  • Active Directory – your hosted AD necessary to provision your users

You can choose the size of each of these environments.  You shouldn’t need a terribly robust Active Directory box, but the size of the others depend on how responsive you want this environment to be.

Ability to Determine the Environment Size

Now when setting up a demo, development or test environment, you can choose the hardware sizing behind the virtual machine you will receive on Windows Azure.  In the original release, you would receive a A3 (Large) environment, which is solid, but for AX sales demonstrations, we’ve been looking to deploy a better performing environment.  You can choose a size between A0 and A9 (the names are actually duplicates of the letter designations):

Windows Azure Virtual Machine specs

Check out the above link for the specs and prices associated with each virtual machine.

Let us know if we can help in any way.

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