SQL

Number sequence consumption monitoring

Once a company has been live for a while and they are doing Business As Usual, they often forget about maintaining one critical area. The system is using Number Sequences as identifiers, for which we have fixed, allocated range of values. Typical example is a general financial journal with a format like JNL18-###### with values between 000001 and 999999. Number Sequence consumption monitoring is essential!

If the sequence reaches the maximum value, you are no longer able to create new financial journals. Sometimes it is obvious when a number is about to run out, but in many cases AX has it hidden on a transactional level that is not necessarily visible for the users. When the sequence runs out, it can cause serious issues:

  • database locking
  • error messages
  • rolled back transactions.

Proactive monitoring is key to a healthy ERP system on many levels. Number sequence consumption monitoring is no exception. We are running a Transact-SQL script that keeps tracking of the number sequence utilization, and sends out an e-mail with entries reaching a set threshold. We are running the job based on a weekly schedule. We include any sequences that have used up at least 70% of their available range.

Number sequence consumption email
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By |2020-03-31T12:21:42+02:00March 31st, 2020|Categories: AX 2012|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Archiving SQL database backups using Azure blob storage

It is a good practice to keep multiple copies of our most precious data. By using on-premises SQL Server databases for AX 2012 or Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, archiving SQL database backups to offsite-locations are a must. I have built automation for archiving SQL database backups using Azure Blob Storage.

Overview of the processes

Maintenance regime

Our maintenance regime looks like the following:

  • 1x Weekly Full backup
  • 6x Daily Differential backup
  • 15 minute Transactional log backups

They are captured locally on the primary SQL instance, to keep the timestamps for last successful backups in our AlwaysOn cluster. Then we move the files to a shared network storage, which is visible to both High Availability sites, in case there is an outage and we need to a fail over and restore data.

In case of a natural disaster due to the close geographical proximity of the sites we needed an additional layer of safety.

Archiving offsite

Every night we are running a PowerShell script that uses the AzCopy utility. It is uploading our backup files on a Microsoft Azure cloud storage account.

You are paying for the network usage (IO) and the size occupied on the disks, so it is a good idea to have some sort of housekeeping. Our solution was to use an Azure RunBook to determine what to keep and what to delete. The current setup is to have 1 full backup file for a year available every quarter (4x 400 GB), and keep all full / differential / transactional files for the last month (4x 400 GB + 26x 10 GB).

This puts the total size occupied around 4 TB, and costs about 35 GBP a month using a cold storage. This price could go up if you also want to utilize a hot tier storage for the latest backup set. That is useful if you want to come back from the cloud on a short notice.

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Trace database cleanup in an efficient way

The Trace parser is an excellent tool for troubleshooting business functionality within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. Your Trace database can quickly grow large and it does affect the tools’ performance adversely.

Removing the old trace collections one-by-one is time consuming. You could utilize a stored procedure for cleaning up your AX trace database efficiently in SQL:

-- Replace AXTrace with your database name
USE [AXTrace]
GO
 
-- Truncate transaction log to reduce size
DBCC SHRINKFILE (N'AXTrace_log' , 0, TRUNCATEONLY)
GO
 
-- Iterate through the list of traces in the database
DECLARE cur CURSOR FOR 
       SELECT [TraceId] FROM [dbo].[Traces]
 
DECLARE @Id AS int
 
OPEN cur;
FETCH NEXT FROM cur into @Id;
 
-- Remove all traces in the database with the DeleteTrace stored procedure
WHILE (@@FETCH_STATUS = 0)
BEGIN
       EXEC [dbo].[DeleteTrace] @TraceId = @Id
       FETCH NEXT FROM cur into @Id;
END
 
CLOSE cur;
DEALLOCATE cur;
 
-- Truncate transaction log to reduce size
DBCC SHRINKFILE (N'AXTrace_log' , 0, TRUNCATEONLY)
GO
By |2020-03-23T13:21:53+01:00March 31st, 2019|Categories: AX 2012, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Picking list registration performance

We recently have implemented a new Picking application in our warehouse. Our slow performing statement e-mail has immediately highlighted that with our data volume the WMSOrder and SalesTable records were underperforming, taking 5+ seconds each time when the form was opened (close to 20). We needed to fix the Picking list registration performance.

WMSOrder

Apparently it is a standard AX form and table, but the link which they have been using is incorrectly defined, resulting in an InnerJoin for SalesTable unnecessarily.

Picking list registration performance

Also the field used for the join has no index, you should create one for WMSOrder.InventTransRefId to gain more performance.

After the adjustment it looks much better and performs really fast:

WMSOrder

 

By |2018-02-27T10:22:18+01:00February 27th, 2018|Categories: AX 2012|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

SQL data compression for Dynamics AX 2012 (Part 2)

It has been a while since I have touched up on SQL data compression in part 1 on my blog. It is time to re-visit the topic.

SQL data compression for Dynamics AX 2012 (Part 1)

Since that post Microsoft has published an excellent series of articles on how to apply compression within AX, or directly on SQL Server. It is a must-read blog post for everyone, so start there:

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/axinthefield/sql-server-data-compression-for-dynamics-ax-0-blog-series/

Since JJ Food Service has a very large database, we have started applying compression to Production AX. Our SalesLine and CustInvoiceTrans has been between 250-350 GB size each! Our approach was to apply compression before a maintenance window using the Enterprise Edition license of SQL Server in ONLINE mode and using TempDB sorting, so it was running during business hours only adding a slight overhead to the system (mostly as disk I/O). It took 4 and 6 hours respectively, and space saving was more than 75% which is excellent.

Once the compression has finished and we were about to begin our regular Friday night maintenance, once the AX AOS, reporting and web services were all down, we could run the post-compression SQL script provided by Microsoft to populate the SQLStorage table. This is required for the Data dictionary synchronization step to recognize compressed indexes, so it would not drop and recreate them uncompressed.

Eventually we will consider compressing our whole database for Page level. The reason being is that Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition in the background uses full page compression for the whole AX database. If you would like to use the upgrade scripts from 2012, even the documentation mentions that compression is a pre-requisite step:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/migration-upgrade/prepare-data-upgrade

As a result we have seen great performance boost for the tables involved and much lower numbers in the slow performing SQL statements, since more data could be kept in the SQL memory buffer.