Connect to D365FO Azure Storage from MS Azure Storage Explorer

In Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Azure storage is used to store files for Attachments based on Document types with Azure storage selected for the Location field, handle temporary files including EMF files sent to DRAs when printing reports to Network printers, etc. Additionally, Docentric offers an option to store your Docentric designs (aka templates) on Azure blob storage but also to print reports to Azure storage by specifying a particular container and blob path on the Print destination settings form.

 

We introduced saving reports to Azure storage as a replacement for printing reports to File system but also as a convenient way for integrations with external systems.

A question that pops up is how a user can access to the reports printed to Azure storage from D365FO, browse them, download, delete, etc. Luckily, there is a free tool, Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, which is a standalone app that reminds on Windows Explorer and makes working with Azure storage data pretty easy.

MS Azure Storage Explorer

You can download Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer from here and check the Microsoft’s Get started with Storage Explorer tutorial.

Before installation of Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer make sure that you’ve got correct .NET Framework runtime installed. For example, for Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer 1.12.0 from January 2020, you need .NET Framework 4.7.2.

Connect to D365FO Azure storage account from MS Azure Storage Explorer

This tutorial will show you two ways of connecting to the Azure storage account that is used with D365FO from MS Azure Storage Explorer:

  • Option 1: Connect by using your business Microsoft account,
  • Option 2: Connect by using D365FO connection string.

Option 1: Connect by using your business Microsoft account

One way to connect to the D365FO Azure storage from Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is by using your business Microsoft account, under condition that you have been granted this access.

When you download and install Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer and run if for the first time, you have to choose the way how to connect to the Azure storage. The image below shows the default settings, which offer the option to connect to the storage account or service. We can just leave it like this and click Next.

We now have to sign into our Microsoft Azure account, as shown on the images below.

 

After successful login you select resources from your subscriptions that you want to show in the explorer. In the case below, only Microsoft Partner Network is selected.

And that’s it! You should be able to see your Azure storage resources and browse them. The usage of Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but you’ll find quite a bit of tutorials on the Internet.

Option 2: Connect by using D365FO connection string

If you can’t use Option 1 described above, there is also another way – by using the same connection string that D365FO uses to connect to Azure storage. Just follow the instructions below. Please note that you should consult with your system administrator first, whether this breaks any company security policies that might apply.

Obtaining D365FO connection string

If you are using Docentric AX 3.3.5 or above, you can get the connection string by entering this URL in your web browser:

<YourDomain>/?cmp=usmf&mi=SysClassRunner&cls=DocAzureBlobHelper

For example, if you are using OneBox on-premises, then your URL will look like this:

https://usnconeboxax1aos.cloud.onebox.dynamics.com/?cmp=usmf&mi=SysClassRunner&cls=DocAzureBlobHelper

If you use older versions of Docentric or you are not using Docentric at all :), you can create a runnable class with the following code snippet:

In the second info line you will see the connection string, which appears after the first '=' character. Copy it to connect to your Azure storage from MS Azure Storage Explorer.

Connecting to Azure Storage with the connection string

With connection string copied we can start Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer again and select that we want to connect by using a connection string and click Next. In the next window we enter some value in the Display name filed and paste our connection string into the Connection string field.

 

In the next window we see the Connection Summary information. If this is what we want, we click the Connect button.

Now we can browse and download our Azure Storage resources, e.g. our reports printed from D365FO using MS Azure Storage Explorer.

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