Prompted by an email from a CRM customer here in the UK (thanks Mike), I thought I would share my thoughts on how you could deploy CRM 4.0 today whilst preparing for the next version (codename CRM “5”). Before starting, I just want to point out that I am not part of the CRM product engineering or product marketing teams, and that I am merely puling together information that is already in the public domain with some common-sense recommendations.
Recommendation 1 – Go 64-Bit across all your Microsoft Dynamics CRM servers.
Back in May I wrote a post about Windows 7 & Virtual PC, in which I talked about our focus on 64-bit computing and how server products such as Exchange Server 2007 & 2010, Windows Server 2008 R2, and SharePoint Server 2010 no longer have 32-bit editions. Well, although not confirmed, I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that CRM “5” will continue this trend.
Recommendation 2 – Deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM server on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.
Now this isn’t rocket science, but past releases of Microsoft Dynamics CRM tended to support versions of Windows Server that were still in their Mainstream Support phase. What do I mean by this? Well all Microsoft Business and Developer products (including Microsoft Dynamics CRM) are covered by the Microsoft Support Lifecycle, which offers a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support). Well, as it happens, the Mainstream Support phase for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 is due to to end in July 2010, so it seems unlikely that CRM “5” will support them.
You can find out more information about the Microsoft Support Lifecycle (including support dates for all Microsoft products, past and present) here – http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle
Recommendation 3 – Deploy SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2.
Although similar to the previous recommendation (mainstream support for SQL Server 2005 is due to end in April 2011), the dependency on SQL Server 2008 was confirmed by Andrew Bybee during his PDC 2009 session entitled Managing the Solution Lifecycle for xRM Applications. Again make sure this is a 64-Bit deployment.
Recommendation 4 – Use CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 7 (or higher)
Update Rollup 7 was a significant milestone for the CRM sustained engineering team, introducing support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2 and well as many performance and stability improvements. You know this is important when we tell you that the Update Rollup 7 client package will be a prerequisite for all future Client Update Rollups. Starting with Update Rollup 8 the client updates will block installation if the Update Rollup 7 client is not found.
Recommendation 5 – Roll-out CRM 4.0 today, don’t wait for CRM “5”
Andrew Bybee also mentioned during his PDC session, that the current target for CRM “5” is the 2nd half of 2010. Now since the Mainstream Support phase for CRM 4.0 is not due to end until April 2013 (with Extended Support available until April 2018), you have plenty of time to get value from Microsoft Dynamics CRM now, safe in the knowledge that you are not under pressure to upgrade to CRM “5” in the near future (unless you wish to).
So there you have it. If you follow my recommendations for deploying CRM 4.0, then you may just have saved yourself a lot of time and effort when you do decide to upgrade to CRM “5”. Enjoy.!!!
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.