Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Error: Cannot create another system semaphore

When trying to start the Dynamics Ax AOS service, the attempt fails.
You may receive following error message:

Error: Cannot create another system semaphore

When you check the Windows event log, you may come across following error:

Fatal SQL condition during login.

Probable causes:

  1. The SQL Server service is down, verify this first.
  2. The account that has been setup to start the AOS service, does not have the proper security rights for the Ax SQL database.
Regarding number 2:
If you copy your database from one environment to another (from Production to Test for example), make sure you have the right security setup in place.  Does the startup account used for the AOS service have access to the SQL database?

Once the account has access, make sure it has proper access.
If you don't want to give it the db_owner role, make sure at least following roles are assigned to the service account

• db_ddladmin
• db_datareader
• db_datawriter

Also make sure permission to execute both stored procedures is in place.

After you verified the above, you should be able to start the AOS service.

Monday, November 28, 2011

What's wrong with the audience?

When doing development/debugging/troubleshooting, you come across the strangest things.  Error messages that don't give you the slightest idea on what's happening, or just funny ones.  Like this message from the Windows event log I found amusing:

Failed to compile audience.

Compile the audience, a whole new approach for your presentations.
The message is from SharePoint server by the way.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A touch of Dynamics Ax

One of the more interesting features of the latest version of Dynamics Ax, where I had high expectations, were the touch enabled features in the production area.
During last week's Technical Conference in Nice,  we saw a nice build up towards the demo of Manufacturing Execution, the new name of the Shop Floor module.
  • During one of the keynotes the unique position of Microsoft was highlighted.  It's the only vendor in the market that serves both consumers and businesses.  Imagine the experiences those teams can share?
    Touch screens for mobile phones are more than common these days.  We see an increase in touch functions for standard PC's with each release of Windows.  These developers of Microsoft must have tons and tons of experience with touch driven solutions.  Touch enabled features seem like an obvious thing today.  Can you imagine Windows Mango without touch?
  • Key note speakers talked about Dynamics Ax and the use of Kinect, control Ax with gestures.  There exists a software development kit, Kinect is coming to the PC.  So yes, why not bringing it on to the business floor, the ShopFloor?  Already the next step.
  • If you look at the user interface of Dynamics Ax Retail, you can't help but notice it has touch enabled features all over the place.  It's very clear what the developers had in mind when working on it.

The intro of the session was promising, as we were being introduced to the configuration of the terminal screens.   You can do some customizations there, defining different kind of terminals, configure the form layout (without developing).  Stuff like enable/disable close actions, the action pane etc.

We saw a numeric keypad, with the big buttons, and...  that was it.  Touch features ended right there.

The layout of the other forms was totally not touch oriented.  The processes were in no way adapted to the specific needs of touch.
If I see the use of the scrollbars, the way dropdown fields are used, the build up of the grid, ... Without mouse and keyboard, you are lost.

I've been working with Dynamics Ax on the production floor for almost 10 years now, making touch enabled input screens.  Customizing some interfaces or creating new ones, adapting the flow of data entry to what machine operators need.   I know when it works and even more when it doesn't work and this... 

I really hoped we would be getting something out of the box, ready to be deployed at a machine near us but no such luck.
The speaker tried to save the day, by saying stuff like 'you can always increase the font size' to set the grid height.  But he knew he wasn't very convincing.
Sorry to say, but the guys working on Ax 2012 in the production area didn't get 'touch'.  Microsoft really missed a chance here.
Still plenty of room for partners to bring in there solutions though.

But to end of with a positive note: You don't pay full price for an ME client.

Monday, November 21, 2011

myAx - a mini version of Dynamics Ax

At the end of keynote 3 at the Dynamics Ax Technical Conference 2011 in Nice, some time was reserved for Q & A.
Interesting question popped up:

Q  Is there a mini Ax version planned, for smaller companies?

I consider this question very relevant.
With each major release of Dynamics Ax, we see an increase in functionality, an increase in complexity.  Despite all the effort that goes into simplifying things: Simplifying both everyday working for users as well as implementing the solution for partners.
When more functionality is introduced, you basically introduce more possibilities. But that comes with a price.
And yes, we have RapidStart Services now.  But that's no magic wand.
You can clearly see that Microsoft positions Ax higher and higher in the market, aiming for more customers with +1000 users.  Maybe in a 2-tier setup, but if Ax is the core ERP system of the customer company that's even better.

Kees Hertogh, Director Product Management, took it upon him to answer the question and he did that very clearly.

A  No, there is no mini Ax version planned.

Don't expect anything like that either. 
"And yes, we know there exists something like mySAP, but that's not really for small companies."
His advice was equally clear:
"If you fear Ax is a too big of a bet for your company, you should consider Dynamics NAV instead."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cumulative update 2 for Dynamics Ax 2012 released

Even with launch events still going on all over the world, Microsoft already released cumulative update number 2 for Dynamics Ax 2012.
70+ fixes are included in the update.  RapidStart issues, performance issues with the GAB, workflow, client crashes, ... Something for everyone it seems.
This update of course includes the fixes included in update 1, that's why they call it cumulative :-)
More information can be found on the support website, over here.

Friday, November 18, 2011


The Dynamics Ax Technical Conference 2011 was all about Dynamics Ax 2012, internal version number 6.0.  Microsoft is finishing up work on the next version being 6.1, to be released Q1 of 2012.  This will include the Retail offering.  And the people of Redmond talk vividly about 6.2 or V-Next already, to be expected in 2013.  And then there's version 7.0 on the roadmap as well...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nice was nice

The last slide of the last PowerPoint presentation has been shown.  The banners can be stored for a future event.
The Dynamics Ax Technical Conference 2011  has come to an end.  Lots of things learnt, exciting stuff happening, a lot to share.  Expect some bits and pieces over the next few days over on this blog. (and lots of other blogs I imagine)

Very trivial, but one of my observations to start with:

If you attend a presentation and you don't take pictures with your mobile device (be it a phone, iPad, slate, ...) of the slides shown, you belong to a minority.  Now there's some food for thought that in 2011, we have this crazy mix of digital and analog information storing.  And what a contrast with the cool video at the end of Hal Howard's keynote on day 1, showing a possible future.  Seems such a long way to go then.

Edit: Even mfp does it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Are you crazy or ...?

A beautiful city in the south of France, at the Côte d'Azur
Relaxing temperatures, a ray of sunlight through the palm trees

And 800 people locked inside an auditorium with all the windows blinded
There must be a tech convention going on...

It's the Dynamics Ax Technical Conference 2011 at the Acropolis in Nice!

Some excellent conditions to make this a great success. But the Demo Gods are not with us...
Already saw a Visual Studio crashing, an AOS server reluctant to start up.  But other than that some good informative sessions. Answering some questions, but also bringing more to mind...
More to follow.