How to succeed in Dynamics AX upgrade

Quick and smooth
upgrade to AX 2012

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Each new version of Dynamics AX includes many attractive functionalities, which you may be missing out on because of your concerns about efficiency of the upgrade process. In this article we want to describe how you can minimize the time and costs required for the upgrade from AX 2009 to AX 2012.

There are two approaches to upgrade from AX 2012: In-place and Source-to-target, from which only the latter is suitable for large upgrade.

The goal of the entire process of Dynamics AX upgrade is a quick Dynamics AX implementation without unnecessary costs and risks, so that it could be as transparent as possible for the users. Thus, the user could end its work on Friday in the current version of Dynamics AX and on Monday continue to work on a new version of Dynamics AX. In this new version user settings and data will be unchanged.

A successful upgrade to Dynamics AX can be achieved by two approaches: In-place – Upgrade, that takes place in a single background that changes from Dynamics AX 2009 to Dynamics AX 2012 (this one Microsoft does not recommend for major upgrades) and the Source-to-target – The copy of the Dynamics AX 2009 background will be prepared for the upgrade, also Dynamics AX 2012 will be installed and the transfer of the code and data will be done.

Theoretical approach to the upgrade proceeds as follows:

  • At first, the tool transmits a code (custom modifications) and programmers then resolve existing conflicts. Then on the day of the upgrade, the tool automatically transfers data from the production environment of Dynamics AX 2009 to the pre-prepared Dynamics AX 2012.
  • In practice, none of the steps mentioned above run completely smoothly and it is necessary to solve many problems. The upgrade should be performed “in a trial version” as long until it works without problems (this is necessary to complete the upgrade within a predetermined time deadline).
  • Transfer of the code is another thing entirely. Ideally you should merge the customization in Dynamics AX 2009 into a single layer (not necessary, but it saves time). The tool unfortunately cannot transfer changes in some objects (it is necessary to implement them again), and even Microsoft’s documentation is not complete here (but the right supplier has the know-how). Subsequently, it is necessary to resolve conflicts in the target background (their quantity can be reduced by the code preparation in Dynamics AX 2009). At the end of the process, further analytical work and development may be needed depending on how the customized objects were changed in the SYS lawyer.


Practical experience is an advantage


Upgrade can be done in two days


Clever tools can help


Setting will be retained


Microsoft’s documentation for the code transfer is not complete and therefore a successful upgrade can be performed only by an experienced contractor.

After the transfer of the code data need to be transferred too. In the ideal case, the data transfer will take place automatically. However, in reality, the tool cannot cope with the inconsistencies in the database, incorrect settings and other irregularities in the data. Some of these errors can be solved by the programmers, others need to be consulted with the customer (business data). Unlike the code, the data transfer cannot be done in advance and it is only necessary to test „in a trial version“. The entire process cannot begin until the customer shuts down the system.

You will face many challenges during the upgrade, for example:

  • Upgrading a system in the completely desolate condition (uncompiled custom modifications in all lawyers, as well as inconsistent database)
  • Solution of such problems not even Microsoft knows about
  • The need to create your own tools specifically for the upgrade (for example a tool for reducing conflicts made by preparation of the code in Dynamics AX 2009)

In the near future it will become an important issue to upgrade to Dynamics AX 7. Although the ERP system Dynamics AX 7 has not been issued yet, it’s likely (according to information from the Microsoft community web site) that a direct upgrade from Dynamics AX 2009 (and earlier versions) to Dynamics AX 7 won’t be supported. Upgrade of any older version to Dynamics AX 7 will probably be possible only by upgrading to Dynamics AX 2012 R3, which is the only version from which it will be possible to upgrade to the latest version. We know the first step, the second one we will learn when Dynamics AX 7 will be released.

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