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Dynamics AX R2 Enterprise Portal, Enterprise Search and Help Server setup with SharePoint 2010/2013

Lessons learned

Below you will find a list of things that I was struggling on whilst making this kind of setup to work for the first time.

If you haven’t done this kind of setup before, I’d recommend to start with SharePoint 2010 (SP) version. This will allow you to understand the whole process better and will give you some good insights for SharePoint 2013 installation.

This list simply shows what worked for me and shouldn’t be used as a list of best practices or recommendations for this kind of setup! Simply keep it handy whilst following Microsoft’s documentation. Please feel free to add your expert recommendations should you want to.

System used

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5
  • SharePoint Foundation 2010/2013
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 with CU7
  • Active Directory

Dynamics AX components installed

Notes

IIS part
  • Do not assign/bind IPs to websites.
  • Use separate domains/applications for SharePoint, Enterprise Portal (EP), Enterprise Search (ES) and Help Server (HS), like so:

Dynamics AX SharePoint apps

  • Use Windows Authentication for SP 2010 and Claims Based Authentication for SP 2013. Depends on your skills and setup, really.
  • Disable Anonymous Authentication both in SharePoint, whilst creating an Application, and in IIS after it’s created.
  • Use NTLM Provider (again, in both SP and IIS).
  • Enable “useAppPoolCredentials” in system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication in IIS.
  • Leave Default Web Server as it is. You can ignore this point. I just like it that way.
  • AX Help Server application (website) should NOT be created through SP, but through IIS.
  • Where possible, use same Application Pool. Same pool for EP, SP and ES, for example.
SharePoint part
  • Do not try to install Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express for SharePoint 2013 installation, because it already comes with SharePoint 2013 (well, not exactly same version)!
  • If you’re planning to use SharePoint 2010 instead of SharePoint 2013 (SP2013 is slower and resources hungry) and you don’t need your machine to work as fully featured SharePoint server, just install MS Search Server 2010 (Express).
  • Do not forget to run SharePoint 2013 Products Configuration Wizard after Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Update KB2768000 install (yes, the big one).
  • Use host headers whilst creating new applications in SharePoint.
  • Do not rush playing with user rights/permissions, unless you really know what you are doing. Or just give your account(s) administrative rights for testing purposes only.
  • Make sure that Default content access account in Central Administration > Manage service applications > Search Service Application: Search Administration is set to your AX user with Search Crawler role assigned and not to, say, NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE account.
  • If you are getting an error “The content source or start address cannot be deleted because it is being crawled.” whilst running Search configuration wizard, just wait till crawling finishes or stop it via Search Central Administration > Manage service applications > Service Application: Manage Content Sources and restart later.
  • It’s likely that you may face Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Query.InternalQueryErrorException (Unable to log on to Microsoft Dynamics AX)7 error trying to use search in Dynamics AX 2012 R2 with SharePoint Foundation 2013. The only solution that solved this problem for me was re-creating Search Service Application and Search Service Application Proxy at the same time re-creating Search Application Topology too. 1
  • Add your to Business Connector Proxy account to Active Directory’s Windows Authorization Access and Pre-Windows 2000 Compatibility Access groups.
Dynamics AX part
  • Set up one (at least) System User in Dynamics AX with BusinessConnector and Search Crawler roles assigned.
  • If you created separate domains, ignore Default Web Server warnings produced by Prerequisite Validation Tool.
  • Configure check box in Prerequisite Validation Tool can save you some time and nerves!6 Use it to stop Enterprise Search installation complaining about Microsoft Search Server 2010 Express not being installed.
  • Do NOT delete \DynamicsAX6HelpServer part in Physical Directory’s URL when installing Help Server.
  • Use Get new help content link to get latest help hotfixes. Upload them to your Dynamics AX installation folder as explained by Microsoft and install/reinstall Help Server.
  • Give your Help/Search server some time (1-3 hours) to index/crawl the content before trying to use them.
  • Search Configuration wizard should be run from AX Client machine (after ES is installed!) where EP/ES are installed. So install AX Client there or otherwise you will get this error:

Enterprise Search configuration

  • Do not forget to run Update search crawler role after EP/ES installation.
  • Give db_owner rights to Search_ databases (Search_Service_Application_AnalyticsReportingStoreDB_, Search_Service_Application_CrawlStoreDB_, Search_Service_Application_DB_, Search_Service_Application_LinksStoreDB_) to AX user with Search Crawler role assigned. Do not ignore this requirement just because you can’t be asked to install SQL Management Studio and mess with databases :)
  • Give meaningful names to your WSS Content databases. Like WSS_Content_EP instead of WSS_Content_828fc90e-32b9-47c9-a20a-77b6ada6ea72. This will make your life easier later.
  • Search Server URL for both versions of SharePoint is http://youenterprisesearchdomain/sites/DynamicsAxClientSearch/_vti_bin/search.asmx. Make sure it links to Microsoft Search Server Query Web Service page.
System part
  • When deploying a new server/virtual machine, I’d recommend to use SharePoint server name instead of Enterprise Portal one. For example, axspdev instead of axepdev. This will help you to avoid extra work and possible issues with recreating SharePoint web application later, because by default it will be set to the primary server name. So if you think that calling your new server axepdev will automatically direct visitors to the Enterprise Portal website - no, it won’t.
  • Have at least 60 GB of HDD allocated for your SharePoint 2010 virtual machine and 80GB for SharePoint 2013 (if you use one). Amount of RAM would be 8GB and 10GB respectively.
  • Before doing any major installations, make sure there is no new Windows Updates waiting to be installed.

Sources

  1. Fun with SharePoint, Chopra, J, 12 December 2013, Provision Search for SharePoint Foundation 2013 using PowerShell with clean DB names [online] Available at: http://www.funwithsharepoint.com/provision-search-for-sharepoint-foundation-2013-using-powershell-with-clean-db-names/ [Accessed 26 January 2015]
  2. Microsoft TechNet, 29 April 2013, Deploy Enterprise Search AX 2012 [online] Available at: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg731880.aspx [Accessed 24 January 2015]
  3. Microsoft TechNet, 14 July 2011, Deployment of the Help server AX 2012 [online] Available at: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg866970.aspx [Accessed 21 January 2015]
  4. Microsoft TechNet, 11 November 2013, Install Enterprise Portal on a single server AX 2012 [online] Available at: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg731916.aspx [Accessed 18 January 2015]
  5. Microsoft TechNet, 18 December 2013, Install SharePoint 2013 on a single server with a built-in database [online] Available at: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263202(v=office.15).aspx [Accessed 24 January 2015]
  6. StackOverflow, 19 January 2015, Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Enterprise Search on SharePoint Foundation 2013 [online] Available at: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/28024440/dynamics-ax-2012-r2-enterprise-search-on-sharepoint-foundation-2013-solved [Accessed 24 January 2015]
  7. Microsoft Dynamics AX Community, 30 January 2015, Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Enterprise Search with SharePoint Foundation 2013 - Unable to log on to Microsoft Dynamics AX [online] Available at: https://community.dynamics.com/ax/f/33/t/150882.aspx [Accessed 30 January 2015]

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