Lately we've received a few questions regarding the general servicing approach for Dynamics AX 2012 and Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack and I would like to take this opportunity to give a high-level view of how we've approached the servicing for these releases and what it means to our servicing deliverables.

I'm not going to dive into the specifics of the Feature Pack release but do want to call out that the release supports our goal of having Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 encompass multiple industry and regulatory capabilities within the same package and deployed as a single instance. Whereas Dynamics AX 2012 had three different industry solutions (Process Industries, Public Sector, and Service Industries) and each existed as a separate solution within the FPK layer, Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack contains a single solution that combines the functionality of all three plus the addition of Retail into a single "Extensions" solution. This means that all of the industry solutions, Process Industries, Public Sector, Retail, and Service Industries, are now incorporated into the product and are installed the same way as other Microsoft Dynamics AX modules. For more detailed information on the Feature Pack release please refer to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack Release and The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack—Why You Should Adopt it Moving Forward. 

Aside from the new combined Extensions model and new binary components for Retail and RapidStart Services the Feature Pack release was built on top of Dynamics AX 2012 (Cumulative Update 2). During the Feature Pack development we took steps to ensure that both Dynamics AX 2012 RTM and Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack are able to share the same servicing branch so that we can provide a consistent servicing experience. Having a single servicing baseline eliminates a lot of the complexities involved with providing servicing support but also allows us to be able to build a single patch that is applicable to both releases. For example, assume a fix is made to the kernel (AOS), in the single servicing branch model we're able to produce a single hotfix package that is applicable to both RTM and Feature Pack customers whereas servicing them independently requires making the fix into two different servicing branches (one for RTM and one for Feature Pack) which in return would result in two different hotfix deliverables. The main benefit here is that moving forward hotfix and cumulative update releases will be available as a single download and applicable to both releases.

In order to accommodate this servicing model we had to take a change to the versioning schema used in the branch from using '6.0.947.xxxx' to '6.0.1108.xxxx' where "xxxx" represents the servicing revision. So where you have seen patches for RTM components being released as "6.0.947.xxxx", you'll now see these as "6.0.1108.xxxx". However, it's important to understand that although you may have kernel\binary updates or even updates to Foundation (SYP) utilizing the "6.0.1108.xxxx" schema it is in no way an indication that you've been upgraded to the Feature Pack. Regardless of the versioning of these updates, no servicing update will upgrade you to the Feature Pack release - in order to upgrade you must download the Feature Pack and perform the upgrade per it's release notes.

We realize that the versioning can get a little complicated to understand especially given the number of different deliverables the product has. The following table helps illustrate the different versioning combinations that exist along with an emphasis on the versioning that will be used for servicing deliverables moving forward.

Product Kernel\Binaries SYS SYP FPK FPP
Dynamics AX 2012 RTM 6.0.947.0 6.0.947.0 N/A 6.0.947.0 N/A
Dynamics AX 2012 RTM Servicing [Original] 6.0.947.xxxx 6.0.947.0 6.0.947.xxxx 6.0.947.0 6.0.947.xxxx
Dynamics AX 2012 RTM Servicing [New] 6.0.1108.xxxx 6.0.947.0 6.0.1108.xxxx 6.0.947.0 6.0.1108.xxxx
Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack RTM 6.0.947.862 6.0.947.0 6.0.947.280 6.1.1108.0 N/A
Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack Servicing 6.0.1108.xxxx 6.0.947.0 6.0.1108.xxxx 6.1.1108.0 6.1.1108.xxxx

In addition, here's the key points on what to expect with this single branch servicing approach...

Application Servicing (SYP & FPP models):

  • Application updates produced for AX2012 RTM prior to the Feature Pack integration are versioned using the 6.0.947.xxxx schema across patch layers (SYP and industry solutions – Process Industries, Service Industries, and Public Sector).
  • Application updates produced for AX2012 RTM post-integration will adhere to the new versioning schema of 6.0.1108.xxxx for all patch layer servicing.
  • The AX2012 Feature Pack shipped a single industry solution (Extensions) which had an incremented minor version in the model versioning (i.e. 6.1.1108.0) and this same minor version will be adhered for its corresponding patch model (i.e. 6.1.1108.xxxx whereas the RTM FPP solutions will be versioned 6.0.1108.xxxx).
  • The SYP patch layer is common between AX2012 RTM and AX2012 Feature Pack meaning the same SYP update is applicable to both RTM and Feature Pack releases.

Binary\Kernel Servicing (MSPs):

  • Same as application servicing in that all binary patches produced prior to the integration are versioned using the 6.0.947.xxxx schema whereas patches produced post-integration will use the new 6.0.1108.xxxx schema.
  • All binary patches moving forward will be common between AX2012 RTM and AX2012 Feature Pack and any updates will be applicable to both releases.
  • The Feature Pack release added a few new binary components/products (Retail specific components and RapidStart Services). Updates for these components will be included in our standard binary updates though will only be applicable if those components are installed.

 Cumulative Updates:

  • Cumulative updates will use the same versioning as outlined for the application and binary contents above.
  • Effective with the CU-3 release, there will be a single cumulative update release that applies to both AX2012 RTM and AX2012 Feature Pack. It will contain the common binary updates (including the new Retail binary components), common SYP update, and updates to each of the four FPP solutions (three RTM industry solutions plus the combined Feature Pack solution).

Lastly, one of the other areas we've been receiving is whether the release of Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack affects the product support lifecycle for Dynamics AX 2012. The release of the Feature Pack has no effect on the original product lifecycle for Dynamics AX 2012 and both releases continue to be supported per the original Dynamics AX 2012 lifecycle. For more information around Microsoft's support lifecycle policies please refer to Microsoft Support Lifecycle on the support site.