Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Deleting iPhone Contacts

One of the side benefits of writing blog posts is that over time you create your own knowledge base that you can refer to. I know I am not alone when I say that there have been countless occasions where although I seem to recall having implemented a particular solution in the past... only to struggle to figure out exactly where, when and how it was performed. My experience is that once you have blogged about a topic, it is much more likely to be registered to long term memory which when combined with the power of search... voila! I guess blogging is an example of the proverb: "You never really own something until you're able to give it away" (Bill Nichols).

In light of that long-winded intro...

As part of rolling out the Outlook client functionality to end users we needed to of course clean up existing contacts so that duplicate contact records are not created when syncing from CRM.

In most cases, this is just a matter of cleaning up your Outlook contacts because Outlook contacts sync to the various mobile apps so cleaning up in Outlook results in a clean up everywhere else.

We were however presented with a case where the contacts were stored directly on the iPhone and we needed to get rid of these. Given that various users had thousands of contacts going through the list was not really an option.

Fortunately we were able to purchase a very inexpensive iPhone app in order to solve the problem. The app name is Contacts In : Import CSV & Manage Groups. Steps:

Select All Contacts:

 Click Action menu and choose "Delete contacts":

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

CRM 2011 Installation Requirements

This question gets posed to me every so often. In light of that, the following post will provide information describing the installation requirements for CRM 2011. I will also highlight what I consider to be practical best practice recommendations and finally at the end I have provided server breakdown installation scenarios.

First of all, please refer to the very useful link below. It contains a step by step visual walk through of all the installation components, including SQL, CRM prerequisites, CRM 2011, Email Router etc. The rest of this post makes abundant reference to this walk through.

The following link similarly provides a visual walk through for installing and configuring the Microsoft Dynamics CRM E-mail Router (Online & Exchange Online).

Finally, bookmark this link. It contains a very useful set of Q&A for commonly asked questions related to CRM 2011 server setup.

Hardware and Software Requirements

  • See sections "Hardware Requirements" and "Software Requirements" 
  • Installation User - see section "Required for installation of Dynamics CRM 2011" for permissions required for this user. 
    • Recommendation: Create a user called "CRMAdmin" under which you will install CRM
  • Services - CRM creates a number of windows services
    • Recommendation: It is recommended to have a separate to have a separate account for each of these. For example: 
      • Sandboxing service – e.g. create account CRMSandbox (see section “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sandbox Processing Service” for permissions required for this user)
      • Async service – e.g. create account CRMAsyncProcess (see section “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Asynchronous Processing” for permissions required for this user)
      • Web Deployment service e.g. – create account CRMDeploymentWS  (see section “Web Deployment Service (CRMDeploymentServiceAppPool Application Pool identity)” for permissions required for this user)
      • Application service – e.g. create account CRMAppService (see section “Application Service (IIS Application Pool identity CRMAppPool)” for permissions required for this user)

See section "Ports" for a full description of default ports that are used as part of the CRM solution. You can also refer to the following post for a visual representation and link to a white paper covering the topic.

Installation Summary

The reference provides a walk through of each of these procedures:
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 – Scroll to section “Installing SQL 2008 R2” for a step by step guide. I’d follow these instructions although I’d select Mixed Mode (step 5)
  • CRM Prerequisites – Scroll to section “Installing pre-requisites in Dynamics CRM Server 2011” – Walks through server roles that need to be installed on the CRM server.
  • CRM Installation – Scroll to section “2011 Dynamics CRM Installation” – this walks you through the wizard installer screens. Note:
    • License key - you should obtain this prior to beginning the CRM installation.
    • Server Roles - See write up below assuming a 3 server configuration.
    • Organizational Unit – This links to AD. 
      • Recommended: Create an OU called MSCRM or similar (can hang off the main OU). Note. The OU is required for the installation. CRM just copies security groups into the OU (UserGroup, ReportingGroup, PrivUserGroup, SQLAccessGroup). It is good practice to use a separate OU rather than an existing OU.
    • Service Accounts – per above
    • Web site – recommend that we’ll install to the Default Web Site. If that’s an issue we can use the 5555 port. No real practical difference other than URL (if configuring IFD, the IFD URL will override this)
    • Email Router – this will point to the server which will has the Email Router installed.
    • Organization Settings 
      • Display name should just be Your Company Name. This will create a database called YourCompanyName_MSCRM. Specify if you wish a different display name.
      •  Review other settings - generally no need to change the defaults supplied
    •  Reporting Server – This can point to any reporting server. Typically you would point to the report server of the database against which CRM is installed but if you have a dedicated reporting server, you can point it to that location.
  • CRM Reporting Extensions – Scroll to section “Installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions”
    • This will be installed on the SQL Server Reporting Services instance which essentially allows authentication from CRM to pass through to SSRS. 
  • Email Router – See server breakdown below for recommendation on which server to install
  • Rollups – Applied as necessary to all the CRM products (CRM Server, Email Router, Reporting Extensions). The latest rollup can be obtained from here.

Production Server Breakdown

The following is the recommended set up in a production environment. If you do not have two application servers then combine the two app servers together.

Database Server
  • SQL
  • Reporting Extensions
Front End Server 
  • CRM Pre-requisite roles (see above)
  • Install CRM (all roles) and Disable the Back End Server Roles (Async Processing Service, Sandboxing Service)
    • Having the roles available allows these roles to be started as a failover solution

Async Server (Mid Tier) 
  • CRM Pre-requisite roles (see above)
  • Install CRM and disable Front End Server Roles (Web Application Server, Organization Web Service, Discovery Web Service, Help Server)

Development/Test Server Breakdown

Typically it is sufficient for a development/test environment to be hosted on a single server. If that is the case, then install SQL and CRM with all server roles on the server.