Batch Parallelism in AX – Part – III


Top Picking:

The issue we have seen with bundling is uneven distribution of the workload.  That was addressed by ‘Individual Task Modeling’.  But the framework overhead of individual Tasks when there is a huge number of tasks will be so severe that this should be properly weighed in.  ‘Top Picking’ is another batch technique that will address the uneven distribution problem.  But this will suffer the same fate as ’Individual Task modeling’, if the number of work items is huge. 

Here in this approach you will create a static number of tasks (just as in Bundling).  No pre-allocation is done (just as in ‘Individual Task Modeling’).  Since no pre-allocation is done and we are not relying on Batch framework to separate the work items, you will maintain a staging table that contains all the work items. Maintenance of this staging table to track the progress of the work items has its own overhead, but much smaller than the overhead of the batch framework.  Once the staging table is populated, the worker threads can start processing by fetching the next available item from the staging table and they can continue until there are no more work items left. This means that there will not be workers that are idle while some other worker threads are being overloaded. To implement this, we will use the PESSIMISTICLOCK hint along with the READPAST HINT. These hints used together will enable worker threads to fetch the next available item without being blocked.

The Pseudo code for the whole process looks like this:

  • Staging table is populated with the work items.
    • You can use InsertRecordSet or RecordInsertList to populate this in an efficient way.
  • A batch job created with 'N' number of tasks is persisted.
  • Inside each worker thread,
    • A pessimistic lock (with READPAST) is used to fetch the next available work item.
    • Once the work item becomes available, the lock is retained for the rest of the transaction.
    • After the item is finished processing, the status is updated and the next available item is fetched.

Continuing the same example of invoicing a bunch of sales orders using this technique:
Note: The code used in this is only an example. Do not use it for your Sales Order Posting needs. AX 2012 default Sales Order Posting form uses a much more sophisticated and feature rich way of handling this parallelism.


Staging Table: demoTopPickProcessTrackTable

Field Name

Field Type





public class DemoBatchTopPicking extends RunBaseBatch

public void new()

void run()
    SalesTable                          salesTable;
    SalesFormLetter                     formletter;
    DemoTopPickProcessTrackTable        demoTopPickProcessTrackTable;
    Map                                 SalesMap;
   // when it finds no more work item to process do-while loop will exit
        select pessimisticlock  firstOnly * from demoTopPickProcessTrackTable
            where demoTopPickProcessTrackTable.ProcessedStatus == NoYes::No;

        select * from salesTable where salesTable.salesId == demoTopPickProcessTrackTable.SalesID
            && salesTable.documentStatus == DocumentStatus::none;
        if (salesTable)
            formletter = SalesFormLetter::construct(DocumentStatus::Invoice);
            SalesMap = new Map(Types::Int64,Types::Record);
            formletter.createParmUpdateFromParmUpdateRecord(SalesFormletterParmData::initSalesParmUpdateFormletter(DocumentStatus::Invoice, FormLetter.pack()));
            formletter.update(salesTable, systemDateGet(), SalesUpdate::All, AccountOrder::None, false, false);
            demoTopPickProcessTrackTable.ProcessedStatus = NoYes::Yes;
    } while ( demoTopPickProcessTrackTable);

public static DemoBatchTopPicking construct()
    DemoBatchTopPicking  c;
    c = new DemoBatchTopPicking();
    return c;

Job to Schedule the above batch:

static void scheduleDemoBatchTopPickingJob(Args _args)
    BatchHeader                     batchHeader;
    DemoBatchTopPicking             demoBatchTopPicking;
    DemoTopPickProcessTrackTable    demoTopPickProcessTrackTable;
    SalesTable                      salesTable;
    int                             totalNumberOfTasksNeeded = 10;
    int                             counter;

    select count(RecId) from salesTable where salesTable.salesId >= ‘SO-00400001’ && salesTable.salesId <= 'SO-00500000'
        && salesTable.documentStatus == DocumentStatus::none;
    if (salesTable.recid > 0)
    //Populating the staging table with the work items

insert_recordset demoTopPickProcessTrackTable (SalesId)
select SalesId from salesTable
where salesTable.SalesId >= 'SO-00500000' && salesTable.SalesId < 'SO-00500000'
        && salesTable.DocumentStatus == DocumentStatus::None;

update_recordSet demoTopPickProcessTrackTable setting processedStatus = NoYes::No;

      batchHeader = BatchHeader::construct();
      batchHeader.parmCaption(strFmt('Batch job for demoBatchTopPicking -Invoice SalesOrders %1 thru %2', ‘SO-00400001’, 'SO-00500000'));

    //Creating predefined number of tasks
        for(counter = 1; counter <= totalNumberOfTasksNeeded; counter++)
                demoBatchTopPicking = DemoBatchTopPicking::construct();

Assuming I am trying to process 100,000 work items

#Tasks Created

#Batch Threads (In my test server)

#Parallel Tasks that can be executed in parallel at anytime




It is the same 10 tasks in action the whole time. They work till there is no more work item in the queue (no work item in the Staging table to be processed)

Comments (2)

  1. Joseph says:

    How do you decide on the number of tasks? Does it have to correlate at all to the max number of batch threads set in the sys configuration form?

  2. The number of Batch Tasks in the Top Picking Pattern determines the number of work items that would be processed in parallel. The number of batch tasks needs to be smaller or equal to the max. number of batch threads in the Server Configuration, also take into account that the max. number of threads is for all batch jobs running in the same AOS instance at the same time. So if your max. number of threads is 20 and there is another batch job running at the same time with 8 threads, then you can only create 12 Batch Tasks for your new Batch Job that will run with the Top Picking Pattern.

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