GET OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE FROM AX DURING PEAK – PART 4

So far, we have focused on DynamicsPerf, which will give you a great insight into the overall performance of the Dynamics AX application.  However, the software will never run well if the underlying system is not optimised. So let’s look at speeding up those systems.

In future posts we will look at some of the best practices to help improve performance, but to begin with we will use the standard Windows Performance Monitor (PerfMon) with the performance counters for Dynamics AX to assess the performance of the system.

Start by downloading the Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) tool, from its new home on GitHub.

As with all tools, the devil is in the detail, however we will look at a very simple install and setup in this post to get you up and running.

Creating the PerfMon template file

  1. Download the ZIP file from GitHub and extract
  2. Extract the ZIP files, until you get to the directory PAL-master\PAL-master\PAL_FlatFiles_2.7.7_x64
  3. Open “PALWizard.exe”
  4. Navigate to the “Threshold File” tab and select “Dynamics AX 2012 AOS and WCF (RTM)”
  5. Once your screen looks like the above, click the button “Export to Perfmon template file…”, this will extract an XML file
  6. You can also repeat this process for SQL and many other technologies. We would recommend that you use the AOS file for your AOS servers, the SQL one for your database server(s), the System Overview for client machines and the IIS one for your Web/AIF servers

 

Installing the PerfMon template file
You can certainly get clever with the way you store the logs from PerfMon, but we will stick with the quick and simple approach here, to get you started.

  1. On your AOS server (if you are loading the AOS template), open PerfMon
  2. On the left-hand menu tree, navigate to “User Defined”
  3. Right click “User Defined”, then New → Data Collector Set
  4. Give the data collector set a name and leave all the defaults, then click next
  5. Select the template created in the previous section and click next
  6. Take a note of the root directory, or change the storage location for the log file; you will need to find this output later. Then click finish
  7. You will now see the new data collector set; right click the data collector and select “Start”
  8. Run the data collector for a reasonable period of time; we suggest that you do not create logs greater than 24 hours as the generation of the reports can take a very long time with data larger than this.

 

Generate the performance report
The output from PerfMon is a BLG file, which can be used by PAL to investigate performance of your system.

  1. Open the PALWizard again
  2. On the “Counter Log” tab, select the BLG file output by PerfMon
  3. On the “Threshold File” tab, make sure the correct template is selected
  4. You will then reach the “Questions” tab; make sure you answer the questions correctly as this alters the variables sent to the PowerShell script that will generate the output
  5. Keep the options defaulted on the “Output Options” tab
  6. On the “File Output” tab, either keep the defaults, or select a custom location for your final report
  7. On the “Execute” tab, select finish and the PowerShell script will start. On completion of the processing you will be presented with an HTML performance report

 

As with all tools, you must know how to use them and also how to use the output generated. However, if you follow the process above and combine this with the output from DynamicsPerf, you will start to build an extremely rich view of your system.

 

READ: GET OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE FROM AX DURING PEAK – PART 5