Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 presents a significant change in functionality from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. Several key components, such as workflow and reporting, have been completely redesigned. As such, existing features, functionality, and extensions may be affected as a result of the upgrade. This topic provides a best practices process to minimize downtime while helping determine issues that may occur as a result of the upgrade.
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server upgrade process can be distilled down into four main areas.
As part of the upgrade process, two separate environments are evident:
- Test environment. The test environment represents a restricted deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is used to validate the upgrade. The test environment must mirror the production environment as closely as possible whereby there are substantial similarities in hardware (processor, disk, memory, and so on), technology platform (Windows Server, SQL Server, and so on), topology (1-server, 2-server, 5-server, and so on) and data (Microsoft Dynamics CRM databases). To create an appropriate environment for testing, it may require setting up Microsoft NLB load balancing or clustering, installing and configuring Microsoft Dynamics CRM components and applications, such as E-mail Router, workflows, customizations, and connectors, as well as installing any additional add-ons or solutions particular to the deployment. Establishing a test environment that is running and configured wholly or in part by using virtualization technology such as Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 or Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V can greatly facilitate this process. In this test environment, the administrator performs the upgrade, optimizes for performance, may introduce upgraded code, and tests that the system is running well.
- Production deployment. The production deployment represents the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is used by all CRM users in the organization. In the production deployment, the upgrade is performed, and the administrator may use strategies that optimize upgrade performance. The upgrade administrator may move upgraded code from the development or test environment to the production environment. The administrator then brings the production environment online, validates that the system is running well, and deploys Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook for users as needed.