Lessons Learned on SBS2003 MS CRM 3.0 upgrade to MS CRM 4.0

We have finally upgraded to CRM 4.0! We started on Wednesday morning and by Thursday afternoon had most of the problems either resolved or worked around.  We had two major issues: one involved the CRM e-mail router and the other involved contact synchronization with the CRM client. While we had a couple of other minor issues, the upgrade went surprisingly well.

Our infrastructure runs on the Small Business Server 2003 and we were running CRM 3.0 Small Business Edition on SBS prior to conversion.  We figured that the best approach would be one that would allow us to roll back if there was a problem, so we decided to redeploy our CRM implementation to another server and upgrade that deployment. While this took an extra 4 hours, it made sure we were covered before we started the actual upgrade.

First we built a W2K3 Enterprise server with SQL 2005 Std SP2 installed, (the install guide points out that SQL 2005 Workgroup Edition doesn’t work for CRM 4.0), then moved our database and other modifications to the new server and tested it. After the test, we declared the environment ready to upgrade.

Following the Microsoft dynamics CRM 4.0 installing guide, we went through the process "Upgrade the database from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 server". Quite frankly, the process was painless with no hick ups or problems. Next, we installed the e-mail router on the same server.  Note: our exchange server is on the SBS box, so this means we were attempting to install the e-mail router on a different box then exchange.  The install of the CRM e-mail router went fine, but we were unable to make it connect for inbound e-mail after configuring it. After working on it for several hours, we called Microsoft support, but nothing we tried got it to work. Discussions with Microsoft support suggest that when the e-mail router is installed on a box other than the exchange server you cannot use a local account.  Unfortunately, any account we tried to use did not work. BTW, that includes domain administrator accounts.

To make it work, we disabled the e-mail router on the CRM server, then reinstalled the CRM 4.0 e-mail router on the SBS box so that it would be on the same server as exchange.  It came right up and started working flawlessly. 

While we were waiting on the callback for Microsoft, we started the installation of the CRM 4.0 client for Outlook.  Instead of trying to upgrade, we uninstalled CRM 3.0 and installed CRM 4.0 client for Outlook.  The install went well, but when we started Outlook 2007, it began to crash every 10 to 15 minutes.  Once we identified that the problem was caused by synchronizing contacts with birthdays earlier than 1970, we created a workaround.

Next, we installed the CRM 4.0 Outlook client with off-line access on a laptop to see how that went.  The installation went off without a hitch. We had to install one more CRM 4.0 client for Outlook. We tried this one is an upgrade and it gave us a lot of problems.  I finally uninstalled CRM 3.0 and reinstalled from scratch.

At this point, we are live on CRM 4.0.  Many of the tools that we used in CRM 3.0 such as CardScan and eConvert aren’t working at this time, but the benefits so far have made it worth it. Now I can get to work on prepping all of our CRM 4.0 training products.

Have a great day!

Steve Noe, MCT

About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
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