How-to create your own CONTOSO-like virtual machine (Pt. 2)

After we created a VM with Windows Server acting as domain controller first part we still need to add the components to get to the point where we have a working AX 2012 that can be used for development.

Versions and licensing

I can pick from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the choice of versions of the single products and components because I have a MSDN Subscription. If you do not have that privilege, of course you have to stick to what is there for you – the sequence is the same. You can use the document Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 System Requirements to check the compatibilities. You can download it here.

SQL Server

Next on the list of components to be installed is SQL Server – currently I use SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition for that. I generously select components there and only unselect Reporting Services for SharePoint. You might need Integration Services for DIXF (Data Import Export Framework) later, for example. Mostly you want to use the default values in the installation wizard. Only the service account page gets some additional action – I assign the administrative account (here AXILITY\Administrator) where possible. And I think this is very CONTOSO-like whilst still very quick and dirty… In real-life scenarios of course you’d create dedicated service accounts for that!

Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2013To be able to develop in AX 2012 properly VS is mandatory. In my example I use Visual Studio 2013 Professional and again I do not economize on the selection of features.

Office

Of course you have to have an Office Suite for an complete installation of AX. I use a complete Office 2013 Professional with default values.

Windows Update

Windows UpdateBefore you start with the actual installation of AX it is a good idea to update the added components to their newest versions. This is done easily with Windows Update and the setting that other products from Microsoft get updates, too.

AX

Finally we can install AX. First of all you create an installation package that is based on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and contains the latest cumulative update – CU9.

Slipstream CU9

Slipstream Cumulative UpdateTo achieve this you simply download the image file (.iso) for R3 you can get on PartnerSource or CustomerSource extract it with a suitable tool like WinRAR.
You download CU9 as slipstream version from LCS then and put it into the folder Updates of the installer. That’s it – you can use the result to install AX 2012 R3 CU9 directly.

Invocation and sequence of installation

You need to avoid long paths inside the installation media and therefore I put the folders to C:\Temp usually and make sure the slipstreamed folder’s name doesn’t get too long (CU9, for example). Otherwise you might run into errors. You can start the installer by using the setup.exe with explicitly assigned administrative rights (right click and Run as administrator). Windows might ask you for the application to execute it – tell it use the HTML Application host by default and restart the setup afterwards!
I do not go into detail about the installation prerequisites (prerequisite components and applications) because this is well supported by the installer (Configure and / or links to download pages) or documented in the web.
It’s best to run the installation process three times, using the following sequence:

  1. Database
  2. Application Object Server (AOS)
  3. Client und Development Tools

Again AXILITY\Administrator is used as service account. The local name of the machine is the address for the SQL Server (database installation) and the database address (during installation of the AOS) – axilityR3CU9 in my case.

Initialization checklist

After all components were installed you start the client (e. g. using the desktop shortcut that might have been created earlier). You should face the Initialization checklist which is to be worked through in the given sequence. The compile of the application will take some time – do not sit in front of your screen waiting for it to finish 😉 When you’re getting close to the end of the checklist do not create a new company or even master data if you plan to import data later anyways…

Test Data Transfer Tool

Test Data Transfer Tool Download LCSThe Test Data Transfer Tool is used to import the current set of CONTOSO demo data. The TDTT is currently available in Lifecycle Services. After you downloaded and installed (default values) it you want to open a development workspace in AX. Import the small job from the folder of the installed TDTT (Command / Import): C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Test Data Transfer Tool (Beta)\MetadataXMLGenerator.xpo
The job needs to be executed next (from the AOT via right click or F5). It creates a file named Metadata.xml which has to be copied or moved manually to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Test Data Transfer Tool (Beta)\[Lists]. The path of the file is temporary and named in the infolog.
You can get the package containing the CONTOSO demo data from either PartnerSource or CustomerSource. It’s a self-extracting archive, which means executing it will lead to only an extraction of files. Using this data package is relatively easy now, simply start a Command Prompt (cmd.exe) and execute
C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Test Data Transfer Tool (Beta)\DP.exe import C:\Temp\Contoso MicrosoftDynamicsAX
The third parameter MicrosoftDynamicsAX represents the database name and is necessary only if you chose to use a different database name earlier.

Editor Extensions

Of course you want to add the X++ Editor Extensions to that installation 🙂

What is missing until here

What we have now is sort of a minimum installation – depending on your needs you might (I possibly will) add the following components:

  • SharePoint & Enterprise Portal
  • SharePoint / Search Server & Enterprise Search
  • Management Reporter
  • Help Server
  • Data Import Export Framework (DIXF)

If you want to use the machine for development – like I do – you surely want to set up version control. Read the third part of the series to get to know how.

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