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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 'System' Architecture Overview

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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 System Architecture

General Comment

This information below provides a high-level overview of the system architecture of Microsoft Dynamics AX. It is based in whole or in part on a number of Microsoft public domain documents available to any company considering Dynamics AX as their ERP solution.

The objective of this document is to provide the reader with a �general� overview of the Dynamics AX Architecture and should not be considered the �final word� on this complex architecture. The documents published directly by Microsoft should be considered the �final word� on Microsoft Dynamics AX Architecture. Links to various Microsoft Dynamics AX documents that should be reviewed are listed below.

Microsoft Dynamics AX System Architecture

The diagram below provides a high-level overview of Microsoft Dynamics AX system architecture. This diagram does not depict the system topology or physical infrastructure required for the deployment. Your infrastructure can consist of many Microsoft Dynamics AX components on a single physical server or on multiple physical servers.


You can in general deploy either Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database Server (except with AX 2012 that will only support SQL Server databases) as your Microsoft Dynamics AX database. However, you will need to deploy SQL Server if you plan to use online analytical processing (OLAP) or Reporting Services.

Authentication and Authorization

All users accessing Microsoft Dynamics AX require Windows authentication and a mapping of their Windows ID within the Microsoft Dynamics AX system. Authenticated Windows users are not required to log in separately to the Microsoft Dynamics AX application. Authorization of access to data, business functionality and presentation elements (forms, menus, fields and reports) is governed by Microsoft Dynamics AX security. Anonymous Web users can access the Enterprise Portal with limited functionality.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Clients and External Applications

A client provides an interface to Microsoft Dynamics AX data and functionality. An external application integrates with Microsoft Dynamics AX to programmatically integrate functionality or exchange data.

  • The Microsoft Dynamics AX Windows client is a native 32-bit Windows program that provides a rich user interface.

  • Supported Web browsers give access to Microsoft Dynamics AX functionality and data through the Enterprise Portal.

  • External applications interact with Microsoft Dynamics AX via Application Integration Framework (AIF). The AIF is an extensible framework that enables XML-based enterprise application integration (EAI), business-to-business (B2B), and service-oriented architecture (SOA) scenarios.


  1. It is possible for an external application or a custom client to interact with Microsoft Dynamics AX using the .NET Business Connector, an integration component. However, using the AIF is the recommended approach for integration with the Microsoft Dynamics AX application.

  2. If you use AIF web services or if you consume external web services, we recommend that you deploy Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. The SDK includes additional configuration tools that simplify advanced configuration and reduce the risk of configuration errors caused by manual configurations. To download the SDK, visit the Microsoft Download Center.

Application Tier

The application tier consists of one or more of the following Microsoft Dynamics AX components or computer roles.

Windows Active Directory Domain Controller

Microsoft Dynamics AX requires Windows authentication and uses Windows integrated security.

An Active Directory domain controller is a prerequisite for installing Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Application Object Server

The Application Object Server (AOS) controls communication among Microsoft Dynamics AX clients, databases, and applications. You can deploy the AOS on a single computer or create a load-balanced cluster of multiple AOS servers. The AOS is a Windows service and requires a Windows Server operating system. For up-to-date hardware and software requirements for Microsoft Dynamics AX, see the system requirements Web page.

Enterprise Portal

The Enterprise Portal and its applications allow you to interact with Microsoft Dynamics AX from a Web browser. The Enterprise Portal enables internal users (employees) and external users (vendors, customers, business partners) to access data and functionality through a highly customizable, role-based Web portal. You can also create Internet facing public sites with limited functionality for anonymous users. The Enterprise Portal requires ASP.NET, Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and Internet Information Services (IIS).

SQL Server Reporting Services

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is a solution that enables users to create and view traditional, paper-based reports, as well as interactive, Web-based reports.

To integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX and Reporting Services, you must install the reporting extensions on a server running Reporting Services.

After you install the reporting extensions, you will be able to deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX default reports to Reporting Services.

SQL Server Analysis Services

Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services is a server-based solution that provides online analytical processing (OLAP) functionality. OLAP reports help users analyze business data and identify trends that they might not otherwise discover when viewing data in traditional reports.

To integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX and Analysis Services, you must install the analysis extensions on a server running Analysis Services.

When you install the analysis extensions, a default OLAP database and cubes are deployed to Analysis Services.


Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 supports workflow processes, such as approval of purchase requisitions, within the application. The workflow infrastructure consists of AOS and IIS workflow runtimes. The Microsoft Dynamics AX workflow component is automatically installed on the AOS and the Microsoft Dynamics AX Windows client computers during installation. The IIS runtime requires Internet Information Services (IIS) and the Windows Workflow Foundation, which is part of .NET Framework 3.5.

Application Integration Framework (AIF)

The Application Integration Framework provides a programming model, tools and infrastructure support for XML-based integration of application functionality and data with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. AIF enables Microsoft Dynamics AX to expose its functionality via WCF-based services and documents. AIF also enables Microsoft Dynamics AX to consume functionality exposed by external applications as Web services.

You will need to deploy additional software depending on the transport adapter you are using:

  • AIF Web services require IIS.

  • The file system adapter relies on the Windows file system (a folder or a network share).

  • BizTalk Servers require the BizTalk adapter for Microsoft Dynamics AX to be installed on the BizTalk server host.

  • The MSMQ adapter requires the Microsoft Message Queuing.

Other Common Computer Roles

The following common roles are also found in infrastructures that are running Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 Integration

The Microsoft Dynamics AX synchronization service synchronizes project data in Microsoft Dynamics AX with data in Microsoft Office Project Server 2007. To use this functionality, you must install both the synchronization service and the Microsoft Dynamics AX synchronization proxy. For more information about Project Server 2007 integration, see Synchronization service and synchronization proxy architecture.

Messaging Server

A messaging server enables the sending and receiving of e-mail messages and instant messages, and can be used to send alerts to users. Microsoft Dynamics AX requires a messaging server that supports SMTP.


A firewall is part of a security system that helps protect a local network from external threats.

Data Tier

Relational Database

A Microsoft Dynamics AX database stores your Microsoft Dynamics AX data on Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database Server (except with AX 2012 that will only support SQL Server databases) installation. Windows SharePoint Services requires a SQL Server database, as does SQL Reporting Services. Support for OLAP cubes requires a SQL Server Analysis Services database.


Microsoft SQL Server is required for Analysis Services and Reporting Services regardless of the database server that is used for the Microsoft Dynamics AX relational database.

Application File Server

An application file server contains the deployed files in which the Microsoft Dynamics AX application elements and business logic are stored. An AOS instance accesses this folder or file share to load the required application objects for execution. We recommend a Windows Server operating system for the application file server.