Large Scale CRM Customer Deployments & Scalability Benchmarks

The Myth of Fingerprints...

I've noticed that many large corporate and enterprise customers are starting to evaluate Microsoft CRM 3.0 with a view to deploying it at a divisional level. An extremely important part of the product evaluation process are the case studies of customers who have similar sized deployments with similar workloads. Earlier this year we published a press article here which provides details of several customer deployments in excess of 500 seats:

  • H&R Block Inc., a leading U.S. tax service provider, has a previous deployment of 1,500 seats of Microsoft CRM. It has added 500 additional seats for the launch of a new line of business and has a five-year plan to deploy 6,000 seats.
  • AGFirst Farm Credit Bank, the premier agricultural lender in the eastern United States and Puerto Rico, is deploying 1,500 seats of Microsoft CRM.
  • Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA, an Italian multinational pharmaceutical company, is deploying 500 seats of Microsoft CRM.
  • Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel’s fastest-growing health maintenance organization, now has 1,200 seats of Microsoft CRM

In addition to case studies, it is also important to have accurate server hardware sizing for project costing purpose, as well as benchmarking the performance of the system under a representative workload. To help with this task, we will soon be releasing a performance testing toolkit which you can use to accurately size and stress-test your CRM environment. In addition to the toolkit, we will also published a set of benchmark results for a test 2000-user system. This document is divided into several sections, each detailing a different aspect of the test:

  • The hardware comprising the system under test.
  • The workload represented by the test (dataset and activity mix), as well as the characteristics of the system under test while servicing the workload (response times, utilizations, etc.).
  • Tunings required to achieve the characteristics revealed in the tests (indexing strategies, IIS/ASP.NET configurations, etc.).

I have uploaded an early copy of this document here

The toolkit itself will be available for use by partners and customers to provide a robust, customisable infrastructure to support sizing and scalability decisions, and establish key performance goals early in the project lifecycle. It is built using Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers, and if you don't have a copy, you can order a 180-day evaluation edition here and clicking "Try it Now" to start the order process.

Here is a link to an MSDN Webcast to help you get up to speed with Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition for Software Testers:

Feel the scalability goodness folks 🙂

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Microsoft CRM 3.0 Performance Report.pdf

Comments (5)

  1. It’s The End Of The World As We Know It…

    As a follow up to my previous posting on this subject,…

  2. justinsb says:

    I see that the report describes adding custom indexes to the SQL database.  Does that render the CRM system unsupported?  Is there any official guidance on what SQL modifications are and are not allowed?

    I’m a big fan of this new version of CRM, but this is one of the two non-technical mini-issues I’ve found (see,guid,4c26f496-369f-4301-b098-96d358718699.aspx)

  3. Simon Hutson says:

    Hi Justin, there really isn’t a "catch-all" answer for when is the external connector license required. Generally, if you are exposing real-time C.R.U.D. (Create, Read, Update or Delete) functionality to folk who are not employees or affiliates working as employees, then you need the license. If you are collecting leads from a web site, generating a flat file and then manually uploading those leads to CRM using the bulk import utility, then no you don’t need the license. Anything in-between is pretty much on a "case-by-case" basis. There is no single form of words that will cover all the combination of options available.

    Support is not the black and white issue most people assume – if you add indexes to a custom entity table you will be able to phone Microsoft support and raise an incident, and our support team will help you resolve your problem. If it turns out that the problem needs to be escallated to our Sustained Engineering team to produce a hotfix (most support incidents never get this far), then you must be able to reproduce the problem on a supported configuration. I have seen many customers make "unsupported" changes to their CRM system which are absolutley necessary to solve a particular business or technical problem. I always advise them to reproduce the problem on a "supported configuration" test system before contacting Microsoft support. That way, they can be 100% sure that the problem is not related to the change.

  4. mclean36 says:

    The licensing position seems unsustainable if you’re using CRM in a SOA environment. More disturbingly, it seems to advocate the meeting of one MS product team’s sales targets, to the exclusion of the entire MS technology stack.

    On a different point, has anyone found a fix for taking ‘anonymous enquiries’, without having to create a customer?

  5. There have been some good posts and articles about scaling Microsoft CRM, such as the post of Simon Hutson.Avanade…

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