Using Microsoft Dynamics AX Application Integration Framework (AIF) for high volume integrations

By - April 28, 2015

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has a plethora of available integration tools, often leaving implementers confused on what tool should be used when and how or even if a third party tool should be purchased. In Dynamics AX 2012, the Application Integration Framework (AIF) has been vastly improved from the 2009 version allowing a much more flexible and stable integration environment. For small, out of the box integrations it is a slight overhead in work compared to the DIXF and Excel tools but for a complex, high volume integration it offers huge benefits for a development team.

On a recent implementation, our Des Moines, IA based development team put the AIF document services to the test. The initial implementation for Dynamics AX was truly a front end for a DB2 based data warehouse. This meant that data would be entering Dynamics AX in the form of multi-million line General Ledger entries, very definitively over Microsoft’s recommended (400 line) journal size. While internal Dynamics AX procedures continue to be monitored and adjusted for performance, the AIF nearly out of the box handled our data load.

Currently in our development environment, the average lines per minute entering the system is ~8,000, more than meeting our requirement of 3,000,000 lines per 24 hour period. We are able to accomplish this due to a few things:

  • Utilization of an “INCLUDE” index to increase AIF business logic lookups (~400% increase in performance)
  • C# multi-threaded application for data submission, this allows us to send multiple record sets at the same time to update the same journal
    • Initial create is run followed by large batches of lines concurrently writing to initially created journal
  • Pre-validating record sets in source system to ensure valid financial dimensions prior to integration run

Another great feature of the AIF is the simplicity with which new integrations can be defined and work can begin, if you can define a Dynamics AX query the AIF Wizard is an amazing tool you can utilize to quick start the actual code work. Even if you aren’t trying to work with external tools, the classes generated by this wizard are available for your X++ based integration to utilize as well! Why spend days writing the code to run an integration when the AIF framework will do it for you and allow you to modify it later?

RSM’s application development and customization practice offers strong ERP support for a project like this with specialist in Dynamics CRM, Dynamics GP, Dynamics AX and C# development. As a team branching across many product lines, the development team has a unique insight into how multiple systems handle data and possible efficiencies that may be added.

By: Spencer Coulter – Iowa Microsoft Dynamics AX partner

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