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Axapta connects to MS SQL Server through ODBC, and to Oracle through OCI (Oracle Call Interface). In the first case (and as you have seen previously), you can specify an ODBC data source in the Axapta configuration. If you omit it, Axapta creates one automatically for you. Understanding this topic is very important, particularly if you are interested in performancerelated issues.
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CHAPTER 19 DATA AND DATABASES
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Each 2-tier session in Axapta has at least three connections: Session connection: Primarily for system-management tasks Application connection: For executing business logic Read-only connection: For business logic that does not perform data manipulation Beyond this, you can create your own user connections in X++ by using the classes Connection, UserConnection, and OdbcConnection. The Connection class provides a handle into the current open connection (which is typically the application connection), which you can then use programmatically. The UserConnection provides a new database connection with the same properties as the application connection but in its own transaction space. The OdbcConnection allows developers to access ODBC data sources. Because logging in to the database is a relatively heavy process, Axapta implements connection pooling in the AOS, which allocates unused but open connections when they are needed if available and opens new ones when it runs out of free open connections. The connection pool mechanism times out connections that are not used after a specified interval, thereby freeing them.
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Note You can set the timeout interval in the Axapta configuration utilities, but keep in mind that while you
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minimize the overhead of having to open new connections by increasing the timeout value, you increase the number of open connections and the overhead of managing more connections.
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Note Because opening Microsoft SQL Server connections is relatively light and opening Oracle is much
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heavier, the default timeout values for database connections are 60 seconds and 30 minutes respectively.
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While Axapta hides the underlying database for developers and users alike, as an administrator you need to be able to access it. The first step for any administrator that needs to find his way around the setup and configuration of the Axapta database is to get hold of the Database Information form from the main application menu path at Administration Inquiries Database Database Information; that will bring up the form in Figure 19-1.
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CHAPTER 19 DATA AND DATABASES
Figure 19-1. The Database Information form s General tab page
The General tab provides basic information about what database you are connected to and the login you re connected with; the fields are self-explanatory. The System Variables tab page, shown in Figure 19-2, is a lot more interesting and enables you to view all the Axapta settings for the database.
Figure 19-2. The Database Information form s System Variables tab page
Finally, the ODBC tab exists only if you are using Microsoft SQL Server. It displays information about the ODBC data source that is equivalent to what you can see on the System Variables tab page. You can also obtain a report of all the information contained in the Database Information form via the main application menu path of Administration Reports Database Information. Another important tool for database administrators is the SQL Administration tool shown in Figure 19-3. You can find it at the application main menu path Administration Periodic SQL Administration.
CHAPTER 19 DATA AND DATABASES
Figure 19-3. The SQL Adminstration form
You have seen this form elsewhere in this book, but now we will look at one element in more detail. The form s importance for DBAs is that it enables them to re-index the database. You do this by selecting the All Indexes top-level node of the tree panel in the form, or by expanding it, selecting a particular index, and clicking on the Index Actions menu button on the right side of the form. That displays a single menu option very appropriately called Re-Index. The criteria for what to re-index is basically the following: Indexes on large transactional tables Indexes with a monotonous increasing key Indexes with many levels in their index tree The really critical aspect is figuring out why to re-index and when. On principal the database takes care of indexes for you and you shouldn t care; however, with time indexes become fragmented and lose efficiency, so it s really a matter of defragmenting them. The timing depends on when the fragmentation of your tables reaches a level where your database system recommends defragmenting them; however, there is no way to find that out from Axapta, so you will have to use the tools provided for that purpose by your database system. The advantage of having Axapta do it for you is that in MS SQL Server and Oracle you will either have to script it or manually drop every index and re-create it, a tedious process. Axapta offers great utilities for tracing database statements, and although that s beyond the scope of this book, we would like to call the attention of all DBAs and developers to their importance in debugging database errors and in performance tuning. The heart of this functionality is the Options form (see Figure 19-4), which you can access from the menu bar path of Tools Options.