Microsoft Connect, Your feedback Matters.

Microsoft Connect Feedback Site (https://connect.microsoft.com) has been around since July 2005 now, and it’s a great place to provide feedback on new releases of Microsoft products, particularly business solutions.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is no exception, and currently there are a number of new features and releases available to try, and provide feedback on.

All bugs and suggestions can be placed against each release, and they are actually acted upon. Some highlights of the portal’s features (they will depend on user access, more or less might be available):

  • Products/Release accepting bugs/suggestions:

  • CRM Releases accepting bugs/suggestions:

  • Example List of Items (users can vote on features/bug corrections to make them be implemented faster):

You will need to apply for most of the trials and login to be able to provide the feedback.

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Merger Ahead

Can Merging Tables in CRM 2013 Wait?

This topic came up no long ago in a customer, the upgrade to 2013 automatically merges the tables, which would be fine if it did not take so long.

You might not notice the issue when upgrading DEV or UAT environments, but it’s when you try the PRD database where the fun really starts.

In our case it was taking +24h for the upgrade alone. And some times one cannot afford to wait that long.

Consider that on top of those +24h you have to do configuration changes in CRM (specially if it’s a side-by-side upgrade), and smoke test core functionalities (e.g.: integration points) before considering the deployment complete and “we’re live” can be announced.

If its an in-place upgrade, CRM wont be operational or running very slow, and lets face it, users should not use a system during a deployment.

If its a side-by-side upgrade, usage of the old system while you upgrade will for sure be requested, and that means to migrate deltas after go live, and migrating deltas has to be carefully planned, topics such as the following should be considered:

  • How can you identify the deltas? Is createdon and modifiedon enough?
  • What will users do while the deltas are not migrated? (they probably will manually re-create some data, and we can see where this is headed…)
  • How will you migrate the data? Will the lovely MSCRM Toolkit do the job?

The above are not really good options, but there is a third one.

Can I leave merging for later?

You sure can. This registry change does the trick, but it has to be done before running the migration in CRM Deployment Manager:

  • Location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSCRM\ MergeBaseAndExtensionTables
  • Type: DWORD (32-bit)
  • Value: 0

as per Microsoft’s article Run the base and extension table merge as a separate operation

This can allow a go-live during a weekend, and leave the merger for another time.

Why run it at all?

The reason for Microsoft to merge the tables is to “reduce SQL deadlocks and performance related issues”.

So…it will run better, but will it run worse than the previous versions if not merged? So far there have been no indications that it does, and so far new Update Rollups can be deployed without having the tables merged as a requirement.

Despite the above, merging is the default action, and the recommended one. Not doing it will only postpone the issue.

Consider, time and budget availability, if it is not considered as critical as other initiatives, you could pull it off for a while…

How long can I get away with it?

Andy Zhang has a good post that helps address this topic, in short you cannot disable merging for a 2015 upgrade, so that’s how far you can go, or until Microsoft releases a UR with merging as a requirement, ;).

Check out Andy Zhang’s post CRM 2015 Upgrade: A Few Things You Can Prepare Ahead of Time, very useful.

Top 10 CodePlex Tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

CodePlex is probably the best source of free and open source Microsoft projects.

Amongst other uses, it is used extensively by the Microsoft Communities to share free tools and add ons to existing CRM technologies (MSCRM; SharePoint; etc.)

Currently hosts around ~794 on CRM.

So… a lot…to trim it down a little bit, below is a top 10 of what I consider currently to be the best, most helpful, tools in CodePlex for MSCRM. These are tools I use consistently in a daily basis and that in generally an IT professional working in the Microsoft CRM arena, would, or should, know.

 

And you? What is your top 10? Got any favorites? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Chers.