This summer, there was all of this hype about Microsoft’s Dynamics AX 2012 Benchmark. As an intern I was wondering, “Who cares?” To me it was just a name. However, after some questioning I found out interesting details. I was able to dig deep and ask who cares, why, and what the future might expect of Microsoft’s Dynamics AX 2012 Benchmark.
After speaking with Premier Field Engineer Ray Bennett, I found out that benchmarking is used to see how much capacity a software program has, and when you do a new deployment of software it allows you to gather how much hardware is required to support the required number of users. If you are not using AX 2012, you are going through the complicated process of using the AX Rich Client: the general methodology is to simulate the load that the AX Rich Client would generate on the AOS by utilizing the Business Connector. The Business Connector is a .Net programming interface which allows you to call X++ classes and methods directly on the AOS.
To accomplish this, you need to collect an AX trace, utilize Trace Parser to view the trace, and look at all RPC calls that are generated on the server. Once those are identified, you would call the same X++ classes and methods that generated the RPC call on the server.
Because the previous steps are quite complicated, Benchmark AX2012 offers a new option to utilize the Visual Studio Coded UI Test that allows you to record actions within the AX client and repeat those actions. When you use Enterprise Portal (EP), you can
use the Visual Studio Web Test to generate an automated benchmark for you. In AX2012, after the benchmark is written and executed, you can utilize the report to identify how many users are supported on your hardware configuration—to identify
this, you will need to define metrics and goals—you can also utilize a benchmark during code development.
Okay—but I am still wondering why we should care about this. What does Benchmark AX 2012 offer that is so great?
-Well if you are a partner or customer implementing Dynamics AX, you use it to determine the different hardware requirements per service that is being sold, and it allows you to test out solutions for future potential issues.
-Any developer working on Dynamics AX will use it to determine the performance in advance, which will allow them to catch any regressions in the future.
-For database administrators, they utilize it to understand database utilization patterns and determine database growth trends.
-IT Administrators supporting Dynamics AX within their environment use Benchmark AX 2012 to isolate configuration issues.
So, what are the new features that make this so exciting?
Benchmark AX 2012 contains much better integrated proxy for rich clients simulation using the Managed Interop Language. There is also a built in support in Dynamics AX for record and playback operations within the client, and the ability to expand datasets into larger datasets suitable fortesting.
What are general reasons of why people should care about this? According to Ray Bennett: “It is much better to invest in a benchmark and execute it on a regular basis around every configuration change, code change, deployment, etc.. before it is implemented in production. The investment in a benchmark will help to avoid costly mistakes and even more costly downtime.”
—The AX2012 Benchmark Service is due out by December 2012—