MB2-710 – Configure Server-side Synchronization

As I revise for the MB2-710 exam I’m 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 how to configure server-side synchronization.

As I often like to do before commencing on a revision topic, let’s look at the skills measured statement that I am going to cover in this post;

  • Configure server-side synchronization
    • Describe server-side synchronization; identify server-side synchronization features and supported configurations; set the email processing method; configure mailbox records

In a previous post in this series I have already covered email processing options, including server-side sync and the email router. You can see that post here.

Server-side synchronization is an alternative to the email router which provides more features and is easier to configure. If you are operating in an environment which supports server-side synchronization it would always be my preferred option.

Server-side sync is available for On-Premise and online instances. However mixed environments are not “fully” supported. Meaning combinations such as CRM On-Premise with Exchange Online will require the email router. (The supported options are online CRM to Exchange online or On-Premise CRM to On-Premise Exchange.) Also, connecting CRM online with an Exchange Online instance in a different Office 365 tenant is not supported.

NOTE:
In the CRM 2016 release, support was added for one hybrid scenario. CRM Online 2016 can work with Exchange On-Premises.  This is supported with Exchange server versions 2010 with SP3, 2013 with SP1 and 2016.  Note that the mixed configuration of CRM On-Premises with Exchange Online is not supported.

The email router is a separately installed piece of software, whereas server-side sync runs as part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM asynchronous service. This is one reason it is easier to install than the email router as with CRM Online there would be nothing to install.

The email router ONLY routes emails. (There is a clue in its name!) But server-side synchronization also handles appointments, contacts and tasks. It also offers other features such as supporting folder tracking.

You should also be aware that error logging and reporting is done within the CRM web application and integration with Office 365 is achieved without the need to save credentials.

Configuring Server-side Sync

Three steps are involved in configuring server-side synchronization;

  1. Configure system settings.
  2. Configure the server profile.
  3. Define and configure mailboxes for users / queues.

Options for all of these steps can be found in the email configuration options in the settings area of CRM.

Email System Settings

The email configuration settings option lets you define the configuration of email you wish to deploy. Including server-side sync, email router and outlook. As part of your preparation it is worth going over this screen to be aware of the key options available.

Note: Notice the warning that if you change from email router to server-side sync the router will be blocked for email processing.

Tip: Notice the “Configure default synchronization method” section in system settings. It maybe common that most users have the same settings, so defining the defaults here will help make the process of creating new users easier. It is also possible to open an existing mailbox and use the apply default settings option.

Also, notice that you can configure server-side sync and email router to only process emails for approved users and queues. This is the default and the reason why all mailboxes (by default) must be approved before being tested/enabled.

Email Server Profile

The next step is to create an email server profile. A step which is done automatically if you are using CRM online and Exchange online. It is possible to have multiple email server profiles, in that scenario mailboxes will be linked to an appropriate server profile. This might be useful when migrating from one configuration to another. Or possibly simply done to create logical groupings, maybe all the user in the south are on one profile and the north on another. This logical grouping might be useful as error messages from all the mailboxes associated with each profile are rolled up.

The server profile for Exchange online is automatically created, it uses the S2S protocol. (Server to Server). Doing so eliminates the need to specify email credentials for each mailbox. If you are using CRM Online with Exchange Online there is normally no need to modify the email server profile.

If you are connecting with Exchange On-Premise you will need to create a server profile. You will need to define settings for incoming and outgoing exchange servers, or use auto-discovery.

When creating an email server profile, pop3/SMTP systems are supported.


If you are creating an email server profile for CRM On-Premise, you will need to define the authentication method. Options include;

  • Credentials Specified by a User or Queue – The credentials must be specified in the mailbox record for each user or queue associated with the email server profile.
  • Credentials Specified in Email Server Profile – The credentials are specified in the email server profile.
  • Windows Integrated Authentication – No credentials are specified for the email server profile, instead the credentials configured for the Asynchronous Service will be used.
  • Without Credentials (Anonymous) – Authentication is not required to connect to the email server. Note, this is not valid for Exchange!

Note: When configuring authentication for CRM online only one option for authentication exists. That being to specify the user name and password for an impersonation account to Exchange.

Additionally, in the advanced tab of the email server profile you can control performance settings such as the maximum number of concurrent connections and polling intervals.

Encrypted connections are required, meaning;

  • Exchange On-Premise servers must use https protocol. (TLS, SSL).
  • CRM On-Premise instances must also use https. (However, for testing purposes this requirement can be disabled using PowerShell.)

Mailboxes

Mailbox records get created when users or queues are created. These can be amended to govern what type of email synchronization is required for each individual mailbox.

Mailboxes must be approved and tested / enabled for them to operate. FYI, occasionally an email may force a permanent error and then the mail box would need to be re-approved / re-tested.

Also, notice that a mailbox can be a forwarding mailbox. (You will need to know about forward mailboxes for the MB2-710 exam, I will cover these in a separate post!)

Notice that the synchronization method on the mailbox can be set for “incoming email”, “outgoing email” and “appointments, contacts and tasks”. For example, incoming email might be handled by the email router, whilst appointments remain on Microsoft Dynamics for Outlook.

Also, importantly the method can be set to none. Say you wanted to block all outgoing mail from a particular mailbox that could be done.

Hopefully I have described the key topics you will need to revises for the MB2-710 exam regarding Server-Side Sync configuration. As always, I encourage you to explore the options within the application and not reply on theory alone. You may not have all of the possible server combinations available to you, so additionally researching the detail of each combination of CRM Online / On-Premise and Exchange Online / On-Premise maybe required. Good luck.
J

One thought on “MB2-710 – Configure Server-side Synchronization

  1. Pingback: MB2-710 – Complete Revision Guide | Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Unified Service Desk

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