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Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Windows Server

Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Windows Server

It requires a lot of planning. Jot down all points, then create a process map to implement the installation. Adequate infrastructure, which includes SQL (Structured Query Language), ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services), IIS (Internet Information Services), suitable Operating System, SharePoint etc., and use virtual servers as well to accomplish specific tasks.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, providing various tools to manage sales, consumers, marketing, field service etc. If there was no such system, it would be difficult for us to manage different teams in different departments. 

Now, we can see that which team member is doing great in terms of bringing sales or which department is more efficient in providing effective customer service. It is very easy to manage everything. Artificial Intelligence and IoT-enabled Devices have strengthened the importance of it.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM - We saw different versions, from 2003 - 2016. Sales, Service, and Marketing were important modules, and then Microsoft Dynamics 365 brought these modules, and ERP (AX) functionality under one unified roof.

Dynamics CRM on Windows Server

Microsoft Dynamics CRM server - Installing CRM on a private server is a great option for those organizations that want to control their data. Such organizations can access On-premises CRM internally, and externally using IFD (Internet Facing Deployment).

They have got total access and control, and not bound to share their information with any third party. But, such On-premises deployments come with a great cost, and lots of responsibilities. A growing need for more data storage space, and very tight security because they are solely responsible to guard the information.

Multiple Server deployment - When we involve multiple servers for CRM (on-premises) deployment, they are good for production environment, better and faster processing of  data, they can easily handle extra workload, efficient management etc. are some great advantages. 

Two types of roles - Front-End and Back-End. Install them on just one server if you want, but it is not advisable. 

Server roles or duties are performed by servers. These roles are installed to allow our system to perform different functions for the users. Our servers require some additional features to perform their roles or duties. We need to install Roles and Features while configuring the servers for (on-premises) deployment.  

Roles are major functions, and Features are add-ons to support the roles. Both are important to make our deployment successful.

Roles are - DNS (Domain Name Service or System or Server), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), Windows AD (Active Directory), Windows DC (Domain Controller), IIS (Internet Information Services) etc.

Features are - .NET, SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server, PowerShell, Remote Assistance etc. 

Front-End - Required for client applications. All requests are sent there, then to Back-End or other servers to process the requests. We access our CRM system using the Front-End, and if we want to retrieve any data sitting in SQL. It is used for Discovery Web Service, Organization Web Service, and Web Applications. The front-end is seen and used by the users.

Server-Side and Client-Side in Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Back-End or Server-Side handles all tedious and complex tasks like workflows, data management, plugins, Asynchronous events processing, database, security, structure of our system etc. This is what CRM users cannot see. Our Developers and Administrators take care of backend activities and servers. It is used for Asynchronous Processing Service, Email Integration Service, and Sandbox Processing Service.

SQL functions -  

1. Retrieving data from a database
2. Updating records
3. Inserting and deleting records
4. Creating views, tables, and then setting permissions in a database.

SQL -  It can handle the load of data and users. Very important to decide the size of our SQL server for CRM performance. SQL will store, and process data upon receiving a request from a user. If possible, we should put SQL's log files on a separate disk in high production environments, or use the same disk for log files and I/O (Input/Output) operations.

Windows Server operating system - An operating system for our CRM, just like we use Windows 10 or 7 to run various applications (Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Mozilla, Adobe etc.) on our computers. Windows server provides server-oriented services like hosting a website, user and resource managementsecurity, authorization etc. 

AD or Active Directory - A component of our Windows Server. It is used to organize users and their details. Authenticate and authorize the users, and control all the computers that are used to access CRM. For example, a user logs into a computer, active directory checks whether the user is a system administrator or a normal user. It provides a remote control to control all user accounts, security groups, multiple organizations etc. from one place. Always configure a new OU (Organizational Unit) for CRM AD (Active Directory) groups, if it is a new deployment.   

Domain Controller (DC) - It is a gatekeeper to authenticate users. Active Directory is a directory service, which stores all users & computers credentials, and Domain controller authenticates them to access the required resources to accomplish different tasks.
Domain Controller to authenticate CRM users

Domain - It is a group of computers or servers using the same network, and have a common IP address. For example, we can access CRM internally because we are within our company, using the same IP address that is used by the servers and computers located in the same Domain. The moment we go away from that domain network, we cannot access the application. There we need to use IFD (Internet facing deployment).  

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) - A component of SQL server, generating different CRM reports. It helps us create, manage, and deliver such reports. 

Internet Information Services (IIS) - A web server to host our CRM website. Please select this role in Server Manager to install it, if you want the website to be accessible from client systems via a web browser.

Microsoft Exchange - A mail server to provide email services. It is a server-side application. This messaging platform is used for sending emails, calendaring, scheduling etc.  

SharePoint Server - It is a document management solution that helps us create our own website to store and share important documents, which can be accessed from any device. You can store and manage all your Microsoft Dynamics CRM records. All internal and external people can view those records and documents if proper permissions are granted.   

Front-End and Back-End in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

You can see lots of things are involved in installing Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Windows Server. That's why we need so much planning, and details about every topic because if any part of our installation does not go well, other things will stop working.