The number of blogs, forums and news sites revolving around Microsoft Dynamics CRM can feel somewhat overwhelming, especially when you’ve spent some time being “unplugged” from the constant feed of information that surrounds our everyday lives. During my four week summer vacation I did managed to keep my hands off CRM most of the time, but the news and posts accumulating on my Google Reader still kept me quite firmly in the loop. Here’s a summary of a few Dynamics CRM related topics that caught my attention this summer.
Refreshed Virtual PC image with Portal Accelerators
Microsoft released an updated version of the VPC image that comes with Dynamics CRM 4.0 preconfigured, available for download on CustomerSource or PartnerSource. There’s more on it than just CRM, check out the following list for all the goodies:
- CRM 4.0 with Update Rollup 11
- Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2
- SQL Server 2008 SP1 – SSRS, SSAS
- SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
- Office SharePoint Server 2007
- Office Communications Server 2007
- Office PerformancePoint Server 2007
- POP3 Server
- Visual Studio 2008
- Office 2010 SP1
- Windows Mobile 6 SDK and Activesync
The image has been tweaked to include two virtual hard drives (VHD), allowing the swap file to be physically located on a USB drive, which is promised to improve performance by ~30%. How that figure has been determined is beyond me, but the environment works quite well on my Core i3 2.26GHz, 4GB, Win7 x64 setup. It would of course have been super nice to get your hands on a SharePoint 2010 environment, but the hassle of x64 environment virtualization with Hyper-V instead of Virtual PC would have not been worth all the trouble (although I’ve heard VirtualBox should be able to run also 64-bit images without Windows 2008 hosts). Let’s just settle for MOSS 2007 with Office 2010 client components.
What made this VPC image especially interesting to me was the latest versions of the Portal Accelerators. Now, I never really had hands-on experience with the first wave of Portal Accelerators released for CRM 4.0, but from what I’ve heard the results delivered didn’t quite live up to people’s expectations. This new breed of accelerators, on the other hand, is based on the technology found in the commercial products of Adxstudio, who have built a full blown content management system on top of Dynamics CRM. I simply had to test drive the Customer Portal and Partner Relationship Management Portal, after seeing them promoted in Convergence 2010 Atlanta. [Read more…]