Microsoft Dynamics AX R3 Release Overview

Microsoft has just announced the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3. Even though it’s not a major release, the jump from 6.2 (Dynamics AX 2012 R2) to 6.3 (Dynamics AX 2012 R3) offers a ton of new functionality. We are very excited about this release.  We gave an overview of the Dynamics AX 2012 R3 road map here.

Overall the core architecture of Dynamics AX has not changed in R3. There have been some refinements made but generally, unless you’re looking for them, any architectural changes in R3 will go unnoticed. This is great news as Microsoft has added a lot of new functionality without changing the fundamentals we are used to in Dynamics AX 2012.

Here is what had us talking about R3 in anticipation of its release.

Azure Deployment:

Customers and partners will be able to deploy Dynamics AX environments using Lifecycle Services (LCS). By logging into the LCS portal user can spin up virtual machines. This will make both deploying marketing demo environments and developing demo environments as simple as clicking a button. Hopefully the days of searching for a suitable environment and cleaning it up for a demo are behind us. Initially these will be single box environments, but multi box environments are coming soon.

Warehouse Mobile Device Portal:

It is popular request to provide warehouse employees with a connected handheld device and allow them to interact with Dynamics AX in real time. The warehouse mobile device portal and a new set of classes in R3 gives developers the tools to write X++ classes and have any HTML capable handheld device access the function using the portal.

X++ Server Side Compiler:

It’s no secret that compiling Dynamics AX took a long time and this was a significant battlement in developing in R2. Microsoft has solved this bottleneck and provided a much faster compiler in R3. Microsoft has moved from the old, single threaded compiler to a parallel multi-threaded compiler. Microsoft describes what happens on the server side as “spinning up” virtual AOSs to use multiple threads and then kills those virtual AOSs when the compile in complete. For most of us, we should see our compile times in go from hours in R3 to 10-15 minutes in R3.

Patching and Delivering Hotfixes:

Another change in R3 comes in how software updates are delivered and implemented. It used to be Microsoft would release a hotfix or cumulative update and, while users may know what changes are included in the update, it was an all or nothing process. As of R3 administrators are able to expand the contents of the update and only implement the pieces they want. Another great feature is the update will automatically include any dependent updates to those selected. It’s flexible and smart! In addition to the time savings, this is a great feature for anyone with a large amount of customization upgrades do not need to be applied for functionality that is not being used.

Data Import Export Framework (DIXF):

The DIXF tool has improved in many ways since it was first introduced. R3 includes upgrades to performance, mapping, and many additional entities being provided out of the box. There are now over 150 entities included with R3, most notably are the entities for importing and exporting configuration data. Ever since the change from AX 2009 to AX 2012, duplicating a company has been impossible. While the process is not the same, new functionality and entities in the DIXF make this a reality. You can copy and compare system parameters between companies. Another new entity sure to avoid confusion and save time is a role based security entity included with R3.

In conclusion R3 serves up a lot of new functionality and many clients currently running R2 will inevitably upgrade to R3. In the past Microsoft has not always aligned their release with their other products. Thankfully that’s not the case with R3 as it’s compatible with the latest software including Windows server 2012 R2, SQL server 2014, Office 365, SharePoint 2012 SP1, Windows Azure, and Windows 8.1.

Stay tuned for future posts about R3 as we explore all of the new functionality in the new release.


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