Multiple AX 2009 Deployments versus a Single Deployment
Dynamics AX2009 has the capability to run a single deployment supporting multiple companies within the same database. There are some considerations when deciding whether to have a single deployment of AX2009 or multiple deployments for each of your companies. These considerations, along with the features AX2009 utilizes to support a single deployment are talked about below. These can help you choose whether or not to utilize the features provided by AX2009 in deploying a single instance.
AX2009 Single Deployment Features
AX2009 contains features specific to supporting multiple companies within a single deployment such as GLS Consolidation and Cross Company support. When considering whether to go with a single or multiple deployments, remember that AX has been architected to support a single deployment across multiple companies.
GLS Layer Consolidation
In AX 4.0, a separate application layer was provided for country/region specific functionality, known as the GLS layer. Beginning with AX2009, the GLS layers for Brazil, India, China, Japan and Thailand have been consolidated into a single GLS layer in order to provide the option of a single deployment of AX when a business is operating in multiple countries. For more information about GLS consolidation, refer to the One Single World-Wide Instance white paper.
AX2009 provides cross company support that is used in the base product and can be used when creating customizations. This allows AX2009 to access data in other companies within the same deployment of AX. This functionality allows you to create a form or report that can correlate data or summarize it deployment-wide. For more information on how cross company can be utilized within AX, visit Cross Company Data Access on MSDN
All tables within AX contain the company prefix, known as the DATAAREAID. A user can select which company they are currently working in as long as they have been setup to work within that company. Dynamics AX 2009 passes this company id, known as DATAAREAID to every query. Any index created automatically includes the DATAAREAID and therefor all queries are optimized to automatically select records that only apply to the current company.
Dynamics AX 2009 Single Deployment Considerations
There are some cases where a single deployment of Dynamics AX 2009 might not be advisable. You should check that none of these apply to your deployment before proceeding with a single deployment of Dynamics AX 2009.
Company Specific Customizations
Customizations made to the base product which are specific to a single company might prohibit you from keeping a single AX deployment. If these customizations are complex or utilize a lot of the same code base but vary dramatically, you should consider multiple deployments.
If you require downtime for maintenance activities, running all companies in a single deployment can shorten the downtime window opportunity if you have a lot of companies covering a wide time zone range. If you operate across a wide range, you should review how this will affect any maintenance activities you will need to perform.
Poor Network Conditions
If you have companies which operate in a region with poor network conditions, they might find it difficult to utilize Remote Desktop Services or another technology to access a deployment which is hosted in another region. The network conditions from each region should be analyzed before making a decision on whether or not to utilize a single deployment.
Dynamics AX 2009 Multiple Deployment Considerations
When using multiple deployments of Dynamics AX 2009, you will need to license each of the components separately. A single deployment allows you to share the Base AX license and you will only need to increase the number of users. You have the advantage with a single deployment of only requiring a single SQL server license. These costs add up with the more installations you have.
With a single deployment of AX, you will still require more hardware to scale with the number of users within the companies that you have. With multiple deployments, you will require more hardware to support additional infrastructure and SQL servers which will raise the cost of your solution.
Ensuring that you have the correct configuration with a single company can be difficult. With multiple deployments the chances of an incorrect or sub-optimal configuration are increased. You will possibly need to maintain more staff to support multiple deployments across multiple regions.
If you require an employee from one company to work temporarily within another company, they will be required to log into a different domain, possibly utilizing a different infrastructure to gain access. This can be costly for the employee in terms of time. It is also necessary to set this up within Dynamics AX 2009 to grant the user permission and can add support overhead.
Additionally, if you have any customizations that display data across more than one company, you will need additional infrastructure and process to accomplish this with multiple deployments.
IT Patching and Updates
AX Code Deployments/Patching
AX Version Upgrades
Great write-up, Ray! Thank you.
The X in the table means - lean towards single/multiple, depending on where the X is?