This is an additional adapter for use with Connector for Microsoft Dynamics that allows for the synchronization of data between two Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 organizations. The adapter allows for communication between two endpoints that exist on any authentication/hosting environment (on-premise, online, IFD, etc.) This means that you can leverage this new adapter to move Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 data between test and production servers or from on-premises to the cloud.
This would seemingly provide a solution to a situation that is encountered all too frequently. Namely that the data in the test or staging environment becomes stale and consequently does not provide a good testing ground without performing a refresh. Until now, the only way to do that has been to backup the production database and then import it to refresh the test environment. Something that can take a while to accomplish especially with the larger CRM databases out there. Not to mention that such a refresh would also overwrite development deltas made in those environments that would need to be re-applied. Now it would seem that you can keep the test or staging environment in sync in a much more seamless fashion.
In addition to this, this tool also would seem to offer a good fail over solution for the CRM deployment. That is, by keeping a redundant CRM deployment (on site or in a remote location) that is kept in sync via the Instance Adapter, you now have the option of switching over to this redundant server as part of a disaster recovery plan. This is a feature that certain business (typically financial institutions) require (which seems particularly relevant right now as the East Coast braces for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy).
What is not yet clear to me is how it will handle the following scenarios:
- Deltas - If an update is made in the test environment will this be overwritten? Or will it require that the mirrored environment to be "read only"?
- Frequency - How frequently the syncing occurs. Will this be configurable? Real time? Or only on demand? Such options factor into the tool being used as an effective disaster recovery option and also into requirements for bandwidth and such like.
- Two-way - Can syncs go both ways? Almost certainly not going to be the case.
I am quite sure that this tool will not have the robustness of dedicated disaster recovery products such as Double-Take (e.g. High Availability options). Or at least initially... But it definitely seems to be a tool that can be leveraged for optimizing test environments and perhaps to satisfy low to medium-end disaster recovery requirements without having to resort to a 3rd party (restoring a database is considered a very low end disaster recovery plan).
Time of course will tell as we learn more about this tool. To get a jump start on the installation and configuration of this tool you can review the detailed instructions provided in this PowerObjects blog posting.