This blog will inform you about the Data Migration Framework of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This is a tool which is currently in bèta and available on Informationsource.

This tool offers the possibility to migrate data from any application to AX 2012. It fills a gap that has arisen after the release of AX 2012. It became very hard to import data e.g. by using the Excel add-in. This is caused by the modified data model to include financial dimensions and the global address book. To make it possible you had to do some special actions and use multiple tables to upload from Excel. Another way is using Application Integration Framework or create some custom import scripts.

For the most common entities and transactions templates are already included in this tool. For example, general ledger accounts, customers, vendors and employees are migrated, but also outstanding transactions from customers or vendors and sales or purchase orders.
Custom fields and new entities can be easily added to the tool. For new entities a wizard is included that creates the basis for being able to import data.

Architecture of the tool

The tool operates with the aid of a staging table. A source file is matched with data fields linked with the intermediate table. Not all fields are mandatory to include in the source. The order of the fields is also not important. From the staging table a mapping exists between these fields and the target. This is shown in the diagram below.

The staging table contains a denormalized form of data on multiple normalized tables in AX2012. Fields with enumerations are stored in the staging table as text. From the staging table to the target, the translation is made to the appropriate tables and fields. In some cases, method (program logic) are used to create a reference table, and to fill the refence field in the target table.

Usability

This tool is intended primarily for data migration. A manual can be found on Technet, including a list of out of the box supported entities.

The tool requires some setup and steps to import data as shown in the next diagram:

IC650036

Currently only CSV files are supported. Looking at the technical part of the tool, other source formats “AX” and “ODBC” may be added in future.
This means that a migration AX to AX would be enabled or use ODBC to directly connect the source from another database. But this is only a guess at this moment.
In addition to the conversion option, this tool can also be used to import data that needs to be imported periodically, for example journal entries, products or prospects. In this case, it is important to think about the authorizations. Can a user import files or should the person responsible for application management do this?

Experience

Our experience with this tool with the current possibilities is positive; After some tests we used it at a customer site to fill a test environment where we already imported main accounts, projects and project categories. For the last entity we created a new template with the build in wizard. We also filled some custom fields on the projects.

That’s all for now. Till next time!

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