Monday, March 31, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Virtual Machine image from the Windows Azure Gallery

Part 2/2 - The Experience

In my previous article, Part 1 of the series, I talked about provisioning a Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 development environment from the Windows Azure gallery. If you are already an MSDN subscriber and are already taking advantage of Azure, there isn't much new to you as far as provisioning a VM from the gallery goes.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 VM image

One of the first things you will notice on the desktop are shortcuts to Microsoft Dexterity, Microsoft Dynamics, Visual Studio Base Image Icons, a link to the Getting Started with the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Developer Image, and Visual Studio 2013 Premium Edition.

I started out by loading the Getting Started help file, which contains tons of information on all the development tools installed and links to resources. I then proceeded to open Visual Studio 2013, which of course, went through the traditional and lengthy initialization process after entering my Microsoft Account information. At the end, however, I was able to validate that both the Microsoft Dynamics GP Add-In and Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client Add-In projects were available to begin a Visual Studio Tools project if needed.

Next, I launched Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 (12.00.1482) and was quickly faced with the login window. I figured the much needed sa password could be find in the Machine Configuration section of the help file provided and sure was. However, I was also disappointed to know that this image is delivered with Microsoft SQL Server Express 2012. Nonetheless, I reminded myself this is a development environment. Unfortunately, the SQL Server Express provisioning script did not incorporate the Advanced Services tools which leaves you without SQL Server Management Studio Express.

If you need to add other Microsoft Dynamics GP components or even the SQL Server Express tools (like Management Studio), you can find the media under the C:\ConfigureDeveloperDesktop\Software folder. There's media for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 with SP2, Microsoft SQL Server Express 2012, and Workflow for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013.

There C:\ConfigureDeveloperDesktop folder also contains a Script folder. In this folder you can find some batch files and PowerShells scripts to deploy the web client and configure additional environment components. Be sure to follow the instructions provided in the Getting Started help file before you attempt to run any of these.

Batch Files and PowerShell scritps

NOTE: you can always add the local SQL Server Database Engine to Visual Studio and build queries using the Visual Studio editor.

To develop eConnect or Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP-based integrating applications, you will need to run the ConfigureGPWebServices script in the ConfigureDeveloperDesktop\Scripts folder on the desktop. This script will install and configure the eConnect for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Web Services for Microsoft Dynamics GP components as these are dependent on machine and domain information.

The script for provisioning Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client is in the C:\ConfigureDeveloperDesktop\Scripts folder. Running the ConfigureGPWebClient script will complete the installation of the web client to the point where you need to run the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client Configuration Wizard to compete the configuration. The Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client Configuration Wizard can be launched from a shortcut on the start screen. The configuration wizard will ask for connection information to the SQL Express instance and then create the databases.

The web client script will create a self-signed security certificate for configuring the web client for SSL communication. To access the web client…

1.      Launch internet explorer and type the following URL, replacing with the name you provided for the virtual machine. (https:///GP) 

2.      You will be asked for credentials to log in. Type in the name and password of the machine administrator account you were logged in with when running the ConfigureGPWebClient script.

To be frank, the Developer's VM image is well stacked and provides all the goodies you will ever need for development purposes. The most important thing to keep in mind is, this is hosted on Windows Azure and as such your disaster/recovery redundancy is unparalleled by anything you have on premise. Think about moving your demo and dev environments to the Windows Azure platform as this will probably be the replacement of the famous Hyper-V images previously delivered via PartnerSource.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

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