The Microsoft Dynamics AX upgrade process is designed to keep downtime to a minimum. Shorter downtime means less impact on operations and lower total cost of upgrade. But Microsoft Dynamics AX upgrades still require the expertise of a true consulting partner – not just a software reseller.

Merit Solutions provides end-to-end Microsoft Dynamics AX upgrade services that help guide clients to successful upgrades – no matter what version they are upgrading from!

Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 or 2009 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Upgrades from Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 or Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 require two computer systems that operate in parallel:

  • The source system, which remains in production for most of the upgrade process
  • The target system with the latest Microsoft Dynamics AX version

In previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics AX, all upgrade tasks were performed on a single production system, requiring the system to be offline through the entire process. Difficulties that arose had to be resolved under time pressure before business operations could resume. Now, under the source-to-target model, issues involving the upgrade of business data are mostly resolved on the source system with no interruption of operations. Similarly, procedures for upgrading customized application code are carried out on the offline target system.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3

An upgrade from one version of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to another is known as an in-place upgrade. This type of upgrade requires no source-to-target workflow of the kind that is used when you upgrade from AX 4.0 or AX 2009. Instead, the upgrade operations are performed on a copy of your production system.

The recommended topology for this in-place upgrade scenario requires three Microsoft Dynamics AX systems:

  • Production – The existing system that you are upgrading.
  • Test – A copy of your production system that is used to upgrade the database architecture, test new components, and test the data upgrade.
  • Development – A copy of your test system, where you upgrade your customized code and other metadata.

The following diagram summarizes the workflow across the three systems:

Microsoft Dynamics AX Upgrade Path

Because of the dual-database architecture that is introduced in AX 2012 R2, this in-place upgrade scenario has two variations. If you are upgrading from AX 2012 or AX 2012 Feature Pack, the single database that contains both the model store and business data is split when you run AX 2012 R2 or AX 2012 R3 Setup. If you are upgrading from AX 2012 R2 to AX 2012 R3, the model store and business data are already in separate databases, and no split is necessary.