Commerce Data Exchange and Shared AX DB/Channel DB in Dynamics 365 for Operations

Commerce Data Exchange is a component of Dynamics 365 for Operations and Retail that transfers data between Microsoft Dynamics AX and retail channels, such as online stores or brick-and-mortar stores. In Dynamics 365 for Operations, Channel Database is part of AX DB itself and can also be part of Retail Store Scale Unit.   Retail Store Scale Unit consists of Retail Server, CDX Async client,  Cloud POS Server and Channel Database is an optional component. Channel Database that is part of AX DB is installed and configured in part with every installation of Dynamics 365 for Operations.


Retail Architecture Diagram

Commerce Data Exchange component that moves data between AX and Channel Database comprises of two batch jobs. One extracts data from AX DB and writes files for each of the distribution schedule jobs to blob storage. Second batch job that takes extracted data files from blob storage and writes to Channel Database that is part of AX DB with tables starting with AX.*.

For stores that are setup with Retail Store Scale Unit, the batch job on AX HQ side extracts the data and writes a file to blob storage. CDX Async client that is part of RSSU picks up the file from blob storage and applies to channel database that is part of RSSU. This part of the architecture remains similar to AX 2012 R3.  Stores/Channels were grouped using channel data groups and all channels/stores in a channel data group shared same data. Channel databases that were part of RSSU or Stores were defined using Channel database and grouped using Channel Database Group forms.


Key Learnings for implementations

  1. Multiple databases pointing to same HQ hosted Channel Database -  The channel database that is created with deployment has encrypted database connection string pointing to HQ hosted channel database. This cannot be configured for newly created database unless this is for RSSU. Further there is no real need to push same tables like CustTable, InventTable or EcoResProduct as part of different distribution schedule jobs more than once. In Customer implementations that are not using RSSU, there is absolutely no need to create multiple channel databases pointing to same database and additional channel data groups.
  2. Golden Configuration database move and Retail retargeting tool - It is also common practice for implementations to move configuration databases between environments. As part of this process, Retail retargeting tool needs to run to modify this connection string among other tasks. As of date of publication of this blog, Retail retargeting tool assumes that name of the only allowed channel database that is shared with AX DB to be called "Default".



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