MB2-710 – Manage CRM Online Updates

As I revise for the MB2-710 exam I am creating posts covering all aspects of my revision. Hopefully collectively they may help others prepare for the MB2-710 certification. (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online Deployment.)

In this post I will look at managing CRM Online Updates.

As I often like to do let’s consider the skills measured statement. Which is;

  • Describe the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online update policy
    • Identify the frequency of updates; describe the update process; determine the version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online; skip updates; approve updates; determine what updates are available; reschedule an update

In this post I will try to elaborate on this statement and give you the basic details you might need to know for the exam.

New features are typically delivered to CRM Online twice a year. (In a Spring and Autumn update.)

Customers are not required to take all updates. The updates are not applied until a customer approves the update in each instance separately. Whilst customers can opt to not take an update they cannot skip updates permanently. At some stage it will become mandatory to update an instance.

You can view if any updates are planned by going into the CRM admin center and selecting the updates option. The screen below shows an example environment with a number of instances. Notice that one of the instances has a status of “approval required”. This is because an update is available and is awaiting approval to be applied.

Selecting the instance requiring approval gives us an option to see what the update is and when the update is scheduled. Plus the ability to reschedule or approve the update as required.

The graphic below gives an explanation of the information shown regarding updates;

Tip: Should the current version be old; you can use the change target version option to select the desired version. Useful if you need to or have been skipping versions.

Tip: After an update has been approved you can still return to the admin center and use the reschedule update link to change its timing.

It is worth knowing that whilst CRM Online typically has two major releases per year, CRM on-premise does not follow the same update pattern. Meaning it is common for on-premise CRM to be one (or two) versions behind CRM online. Each update has a corresponding version number. At the time of creating this post the latest CRM online update was “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2016 Update 1”, which was known as version 8.1.0.

Whilst there are two planned releases per year it should be understood that patches maybe released between versions. The timing of recent updates is shown below;

You can check which version of CRM online is in operation by selecting the about option in the CRM web application. (As shown below.)

In my example below version 8.1.0 is the current version. That is CRM 2016 Update 1. The minor version number of “.512” reflects the build number and increases as patches are applied.

As mentioned in a previous post, update notification emails will be sent to CRM administrators and any other additional recipients configured for instance specific emails. The notifications are sent prior, during and after an update. Some emails may also be sent to users! The table below shows the typical timing and recipients of update notification emails.

Before approving / applying an update you may need to consider several things;

  • Obviously take care to know when the update is scheduled and reschedule if required.
  • If you work with a Microsoft Partner involving your partner is a recommended step. As they should give advice on compatibility of any add-ons / integration.
  • Monitor communications, as mentioned above there will be various scheduled communications to watch out for.
  • Check your customizations are compatible, you may need to review the details of the new version to check your customizations are going to work without enhancement.
  • Consider sandboxes, typically it is going to be a good idea to upgrade a sandbox first. And complete regression testing as much as possible.
  • Review the impact on users, send them notifications and if required ensure they are familiar with any changes prior to deploying to the production environments.

You will find more detail on this subject in this technet article; https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn308237.aspx#BKMK_Versions

Hopefully this post has given you the basic information you’ll need to be aware of regarding updating online instances. J

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