Inplace Upgrade of Windows Server 2012 HyperV to 2016

There is no upgrade path for Windows Server 2012 (non-R2) HyperV role to Windows Server 2016 HyperV. The easiest way would be to setup a new Windows Server 2016 and activate HyperV. However, there may be reasons to perform an inplace upgrade. This is an experience report doing so

Prepare for the Upgrade

First make sure there are no virtual machine related files left on C: drive. Move the configuration files and especially the virtual hard disk files to another drive. I recommend to make list where the VHDX files are place. This can easily be done via PowerShell

Get-VM –VMName * | Select-Object VMid | Get-VHD | select Path | ft

Next uninstall the HyperV role using the Server Manager. Simply select remove roles and features and select the HyperV role. This step requires a reboot and your server will come up a simple plain windows 2012 server.

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After HyperV was uninstalled make sure to remove NIC teaming in case you are using this feature. I recommend to deactivate all but one network adapter. This can also be done using the Server Manager.

Perform Inplace Upgrade

Insert a disk or mount the Windows Server 2016 image. Start the upgrade process. When asked choose to keep all your data and apps. This will preserve your data and applications e.g. the RAID Manager software. The setup wizard warns you that an inplace upgrade is not the preferred way to setup server 2016. Accept and proceed. The upgrade will take a while and requires some reboots.

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Setup HyperV on Server 2016

After the upgrade process has finished, its time to setup HyperV again. First configure the NIC teaming again. Activating the HyperV role in Server 2016 is almost the same as in Server 2012. This can be done by using the Server Manager installing new roles and features. Activating HyperV will require a reboot. After the reboot configure a virtual switch so your VMs can access the network again.

Import the Virtual Machines again

By default HyperV on Server 2012 has no clue about the VMs in former Server 2012. The virtual machines have to be imported manually. This can be done using the HyperV console. First, provide the folder where the virtual machine configuration is placed. Afterwards choose to directly register the VM.

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Next provide the folder where the virtual hard disk files are placed. Don’t get confused because you don’t see the actual VHDX files in the selection dialog. The import wizard will check if the virtual hard disk named in the configuration file can be found in this folder. If the wizard can’t find the virtual hard disk file, take a look a the list of vhdx file paths generated by the PowerShell script.

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When all the VMs are imported the upgrade is almost finished. The the network connection of the virtual machines and make sure they can access the network via the newly created virtual switch. Removing the virtual network adapter and adding the virtual network adapter again can help Zwinkerndes Smiley  Perform some tests, maybe reboot the server again and install the latest updates.

On Vacation – Tyrol

no new postings in summer

Serles in Tyrol

Integrate an USB Scale with Dynamics AX

I was recently playing with an Dymo USB scale and how to connect it to a Dynamics AX 2012 instance on a virtualized HyperV installation. It turned out that connecting these two is not so hard at all. The Dymo scale was immediately recognized by my PC.

Dymo scale connected to a Windows 10 PC

To access the USB scale, you need to know the Vendor ID and Product ID. This can be found in the Windows device manager. In my case the Vendor ID is 0x0922 and the Product ID is 0x8003

USB Vendor ID and Product ID in device manager

Access the USB Scale via C#

You need the Human Interface Device library, which is also available as source code. Download the Visual Studio project, open the .sln Solution from the SRC folder and build the library: https://github.com/mikeobrien/HidLibrary

Some code is needed to access the scale. Fortunately, there is a code snipped available here: http://r.lagserv.net/scalereader.htm .

  • Create a Visual Studio C# DLL Project.
  • Copy the code for the USBScale class from the website.
  • Add the previous built HIDLibrary to your projects references.
  • Add two int properties to the class, for Vendor ID and Product ID.

    public class USBScale
    {
        public int VendorId { get; set; }
        public int ProductId { get; set; }

  • Change the following line in the GetDevices() method at the USBScale class

public HidDevice[] GetDevices()
{
   //return HidDevices.Enumerate(0x0922, 0x8004).Cast().ToArray();
   return HidDevices.Enumerate(VendorId, ProductId).Cast<HidDevice>().ToArray();

}

  • For convenience, add a new method GetGramm()

    public decimal GetGramm()
    {
        decimal? lb = -1;
        decimal? gr = -1;
        decimal? oz = -1;
        bool? stable = false;

        GetWeight(out lb, out gr, out oz, out stable);

        if (gr.HasValue)
            return gr.Value;
        else
        return -1;
    }

 

  • Build the DLL library

Forward the USB device  to HyperV

There are different ways to pass an USB device to a virtual machine. However, I was using a tool called USB Redirect which is available as trial version for testing. It has two components. The server which manages and shares the USB devices is installed on the physical machine.

USB Redirect

The client is installed on the VM and can access the USB device at the physical machine.

USB Redirect Client

 

Integrate with Dynamics AX

Finally, the last step to integrate with Dynamics AX is easy. Copy the HID Library DLL and the USBScale DLL to the client bin folder. Create a form with a Scale button. At the clicked() method create a new instance of the USBScale class, provide your product and vendor ID and call GetGramm().

<YOUR_NS>.UsbScale scale = new <YOUR_NS>.UsbScale();
scale.set_VendorId(<YOUR_VENDOR_ID);
scale.set_ProductId(<YOUR_PRODUCT_ID);
real value;

value = scale.GetGramm();

info(strfmt(“%1 g”,value));

Dynamics AX with USB Scale

Performance Optimization by using Included Columns and Field Selects

Since version 2012, Dynamics AX supports included columns in indices although SQL Server supports it  for quite a long time. Here are some examples how and why it is good practice to use included columns in an index. I’m using Dynamics AX 2012 R3 Cu12 on Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 with Contoso Demo data for this example

Cluster Index.

The cluster index can be defined using multiple fields and is used to defined the order of records stored in the table. Even more important is the fact, that if a table has a clustered index all the data is stored in the table, i.e. the cluster index IS the table!

InventTrans

Take a look at the space allocated by the indices. About 219 MB are used to store actual data and 167 MB are used to store index information

image

The following SQL Statement reveals the size in detail

SELECT
ind.name,
SUM(s.[used_page_count]) * 8 AS IndexSizeKB
FROM
sys.indexes ind
INNER JOIN
sys.tables t ON ind.object_id = t.object_id
INNER JOIN
sys.dm_db_partition_stats AS s ON s.[object_id] = ind.[object_id]
AND s.[index_id] = ind.[index_id]
WHERE
t.name = ‚INVENTTRANS‘
GROUP BY ind.name
order by IndexSizeKB desc

The table data is stored in the TransOriginIdx

name IndexSizeKB
I_177TRANSORIGINIDX    226992 ~ 221 MB
I_177OPENITEMIDX 63720
I_177STATUSITEMIDX 34312
I_177ITEMIDX 24872
I_177RECID 23416
I_177DIMIDIDX 22192

Index Usage with Field Select

Here is an example of a select statement with field select on the InventTrans table

while select ItemId,DatePhysical
from inventTrans
where
InventTrans.ItemId == ‚0001‘ &&
inventTrans.DatePhysical >= str2Date(‚1.1.2011‘,123)

{ .. }

The trace parser reveals the actual SQL Statement sent to the database

image

What happens is what you would expect, SQL uses the ItemIdx for this query

image

Only 5 logical reads where necessary

image

 

Select Non-Index fields

When the query selects fields which are not part of the index, SQL server has to perform a lookup in the Cluster Index for each record identified by the ItemIdx to get all the other fields. For example the Voucher and Qty are not part of the ItemIdx.

image

213 logical reads were necessary to fetch the data

image

This can get even worse, when performing the lookup becomes to expensive. This can happen when the query returns a larger number of records. For example, when querying for another ItemId. In this example SQL server does not use the ItemIdx anymore, but performs a search in the clustered index instead. The ItemIdx became completely useless for this query.

image

SQL server required 1345 logical reads to fetch the data!

image

 

Included Columns

Since version 2012 Dynamics AX supports the definition of Included Columns for indices. These columns are not used to sort the index. These are just fields which are stored within the index to avoid costly lookups in the clustered index. In Dynamics AX you just add columns to the index and set the property IncludedColumn to Yes.

image

You can find the included columns in SQL server when viewing the properties of the index

image

When the statement from above is executed again, SQL server can use the included columns from the index and does not perform costly lookups in the clustered index.

image

Only 6 logical reads are required to fetch the data. This is a huge optimization compared to the 1345 reads without included columns.

image

Add a calculated field to an AIF Document

AIF is great for application integration and providing external applications required data. Document exports can be generated very easily by providing a query to the AIF document wizard. However, if you want to provide not only table fields but calculated values (e.g. display methods) in an AIF document some work is required. This is an example how to add the CustInvoiceJour.contributionMargin() method to the SalesSalesInvoiceService.

Parameter methods

Add the following methods to the AxCustInvoiceJour class. (You may duplicate the parm* and set* method from an existing field e.g. InvoiceAmount and change the name and parameter.)

public AmountMst parmContributionMargin(AmountMst _margin = 0)
{
;
return custInvoiceJour.contributionMargin();
}

protected void setContributionMargin()
{
;
return;
}

Add a macro in the class declaration of the SaleSalesInvoice_CustInvoiceJour class

class SalesSalesInvoice_CustInvoiceJour extends AfStronglyTypedDataContainer
{
#define.XMLDocPurpose(‚XMLDocPurpose‘)
#define.Weight(‚Weight‘)
#define.Volume(‚Volume‘)
// lot more here ..

    #define.ContributionMargin(‚ContributionMargin‘)

}

Add the following methods to the SaleSalesInvoice_CustInvoiceJour class

public boolean existsContributionMargin()
{
return this.exists(#ContributionMargin);
}

public AmountMST parmContributionMargin(AmountMST_value = 0)
{
;
return this.get_Attribute(#ContributionMargin);
}

Refresh the schema definitions

Open the AIFDocumentSchemaTable in the table browser and delete the record for the DocumentName SalesInvoice.

Delete the SalesInvoice record from the AIFDocumentSchemaTable

In the AOT navigate to the SalesSalesInvoiceService. From the context menu choose to register the service. This will populate the AIFDocumentSchemaTable with the new XML schema including the new field.

Don’t’ forget to activate the new field in your endpoint. Navigate to Basic > Setup > Application Integration Framework > Endpoints > Action Policies > Data Policies > Data Policies and active the new field.

Activate the new field in the AIF data policies

Now you’re ready to test your work. In this example navigate to Accounts Receivable > Inquiries > Journals > Invoice and click on send electronically. Depending on your AIF configuration, check the output. Your new field should be there. Here is the XML from AIF Queue Manager processing an AIF message to a File System Adapter:

ContributionMargin in CustInvoiceJour AIF document

SQL Server 2016 SP1 and Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Here are some ideas on SQL Server 2016 SP1 and Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Enterprise Features in Standard Edition since Service Pack 1

There was a major change in Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2016. While most cool features were Enterprise-Edition-Only for a very long time, many features like Column Store Index and Compression are now available for Standard Edition too. Have a detailed look at this Blog. SQL 2016 also introduces new features like the Query Store and Power BI Integration with Reporting Services

Reporting Services

SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services require Dynamics AX R3 CU12 and an additional KB3184496 hotfix. Otherwise the installation will fail. The typical AX user won’t see the difference between SSRS 2016 and older versions. However, there are some features that might be interesting for us AX folks too, namely Power BI Integration.

Right now (January 2017) Power BI Integration is not so useful. You can place your Power BI files at the SSRS, which is actually only a better alternative to place the .PBIX file on a file share. However, it is said SSRS will be able not only to store but also to render Power BI files On Premises. This might be interesting for customers who are not willing to use Power BI in the cloud.

Host Power BI files in SSRS 2016

Right now in SSRS 2016 SP1 you can pin SSRS reports to your Power BI (Online) dashboard. This means, you can integrate your SSRS reports in Power BI. This might not sound very useful for Dynamics AX users. Why should I pin an invoice to a Power BI dashboard? But if a customer is already using SSRS for reporting, this might be a good option to start with Power BI and reuse the existing reports. Some Dynamics AX reports with OLAP data source can also be pinned to the Dashboard.

There is a Power BI Button in the SSRS report portal

image

This will pin your report to one of your Power BI (Online) dashboards

image

 

Query Store

This is a very useful feature. All of us are familiar with performance problems reported by some users. The problem is to identify and reproduce the query which performed badly and find the reason. Query Store can be used to store information about such problem-queries, like the SQL statement executed, the used execution plan, etc. In SQL Server Management Studio you can view reports based on execution time, logical and physical write/reads, memory usage, etc.Query Store therefore is a very useful feature in SQL 2016 to identify performance issues.

SQL 2016 Query Store

Column Store Index

Column Store Indices were introduced in SQL Server 2012 too speed up aggregation queries (e.g. sum). However, CSI hat a lot of limitations and  was an Enterprise Edition features till 2016 (non SP). In SQL 2016 SP1 we can now use CSI in combination with Dynamics AX at our customers who have licensed Standard Edition of SQL Server.

In contrast to traditional Row Store Indices where records stored in 8 KB pages (e.g. CustInvoiceJour records), CSI store column values (e.g. LineAmountMST) together in 8 KB pages. Therefore aggregation functions can perform faster because less pages have to be read.

Here is an example:

select CustGroup, year(InvoiceDate) as YR, sum(LineAmountMST) as Amount
from CustInvoiceJour
group by CustGroup, year(InvoiceDate)

When executing this query against a Dynamics AX Contoso Demo database, 2158 logical reads were required.

Query Dynamics AX 2012 R3 database without Column Store Index

Next, create a non-clustered Column Store Index on the fields CustGroup, InvoiceDate and InvoiceAmountMST which are used in the query

Create a Column Store Index in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 database

The same query now utilizes the Column Store Index to fetch and aggregate the data. The IO statistics show that less reads were required to get the result. The query performs faster than with the traditional Row-Store index.

Colum Store Index with Dynamics AX 2012 R3

Be aware that Dynamics AX removes the Column Store Index from the database when you synchronize the data dictionary. This might not be such an issues in a production environment. When you deploy a new application version from Test to Live, make sure to recreate all lost CSI.

Stretch Database

With stretch database you can migrate cold data (aka. existing but hardly not used) from your on premises expensive high performance storage to the cloud. This means you can split the data in large table and move old records in SQL azure. The application doesn’t recognize this split. Only if you query cold data, it will take longer to fetch the result. This sounds good. however there are some very crucial show stoppers.

  • You can’t UPDATE or DELETE rows that have been migrated, or rows that are eligible for migration, in a Stretch-enabled table or in a view that includes Stretch-enabled tables.
  • You can’t INSERT rows into a Stretch-enabled table on a linked server.

So right now, this feature is not useful for Dynamics AX on premises installation

Extend the PurchRFQTable2Line Framework (AX 2012)

This is the my third post regarding the “Table 2 Line Update” mechanism in Dynamics AX.  This shows you how to extend the request for quotations framework to update changes made to the header to the lines. The other post can be found here:

Example: Add a preferred shipping carrier

Use the existing extended data type TMSCarrierCode to add a new field called PreferredCarrier to the

  • PurchRFQCaseTable,
  • PurchRFQCaseLine
  • and the map PurchRFQTableMap

At the PurchRFQTableMap, add the new field PreferredCarrier to the HeaderToLineUpdate field group. Define a mapping for the PurchRFQCaseTable PreferredCarrier field. At the AxPurchRFQCaseTable class add the following parm and set methods

image

At the AxPurchRFQCaseLine class add the following parm and set methods

protected void setPreferredCarrier()
{    
    if (this.isMethodExecuted(funcName(),  
        fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine,PreferredCarrier)))     
       {        
           return;  
       }

    this.setAxPurchRFQCaseTableFields();    
    if (this.isAxPurchRFQCaseTableFieldsSet() ||
        this.axPurchRFQCaseTable().isFieldModified(
        fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, PreferredCarrier)))    
    {        
        this.parmPreferredCarrier(this.axPurchRFQCaseTable()
                                    .parmPreferredCarrier());    
    }
}

 

public Name parmPreferredCarrier(TMSCarrierCode _PreferredCarrier = “)
{     
    if(!prmisDefault(_PreferredCarrier))    
    { 
        this.setField(fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine, PreferredCarrier),
                                                 _PreferredCarrier);     
    }
    return purchRFQCaseLine.PreferredCarrier;
}

At the AxPurchRFQCaseLine.setTableFields() method add the call of the setPreferredCarrier method

 

protected void setTableFields()
{   
    // <GIN>  #ISOCountryRegionCodes
    useMapPolicy = false;
    // </GIN>    super();
    this.setLineNum();    this.setLineNumber();
    // … lot of set* calls here
    useMapPolicy = true;

    //ERP     
    this.setPreferredCarrier();
}

public FieldLabel lineUpdateDescription()

    switch(fieldExt2Id(this.fieldId()))     
    {       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, DefaultDimension):           
        return "@SYS14926";
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, InventLocationId):           
        return "@SYS108782";
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, DeliveryDate):            
        return fieldId2pname(tableNum(PurchRFQCaseLine),
                              fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine, DeliveryDate));
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, ExpiryDateTime):           
        return fieldId2pname(tableNum(PurchRFQCaseLine),
                             fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine, ExpiryDateTime));
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, TaxGroup):            
        return fieldId2pname(tableNum(PurchRFQLine),
                             fieldNum(PurchRFQLine, TaxGroup));
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, LanguageId):            
        return fieldId2pname(tableNum(PurchRFQCaseLine),
                             fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine, Name));
        // ERP preferred carrier
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, PreferredCarrier):           
        return fieldId2pname(tableNum(PurchRFQCaseLine),
                            
fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseLine,PreferredCarrier));
    }
    throw error(strFmt("@SYS19306",funcName()));
}

In the PurchRFQCaseTable2LineUpdate class, extend the getFieldIdFromMappedTable() method to support the new PreferredCarrier field

FieldId getFieldIdFromMappedTable(FieldId _mapFieldId)

    switch(_mapFieldId)    
    {       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, DefaultDimension) :
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, DefaultDimension);       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, InventLocationId) : 
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, InventLocationId);       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, InventSiteId)     :
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, InventSiteId);       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, DeliveryDate)     :
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, DeliveryDate);       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, ExpiryDateTime)   :
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, ExpiryDateTime);       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, LanguageId)       :
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, LanguageId);
        // ERP       
        case fieldNum(PurchRFQTableMap, PreferredCarrier) :  
        return fieldNum(PurchRFQCaseTable, PreferredCarrier); 
    }
    return 0;
}

Go to Procurment and Sourcing module > Setup > Procurement and Sourcing Parameters > Request for Quotation and open the Update request for quotation lines. You should see the parameter dialog including the new Carrier field. Set the Update method to Prompt.

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