Microsoft Preps for Dynamics CRM Server Upgrades

Microsoft is ramping up the software requirements for the next update to Dynamics CRM Server, the company's customer relationship management platform.

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Server

Businesses waiting for Microsoft's next big Dynamics CRM Server release may need to start shedding some older versions of Windows Server and SQL.

Following this quarter's release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 and CRM Online Spring '14, the company has big changes in store for future versions of its on-premise CRM software. And it's all in the name of progress, according to Microsoft.

In the tradition of past Dynamics CRM releases, the company finds "the need to add and remove items from our supported configurations list to keep current with technology, and allow us to provide you the best product possible," said the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team in a statement. The first major change involves a step up from Windows Server 2008.

"Our current plan for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server is to target only Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012 for the next release time frame," stated Microsoft. In effect, the software giant will drop support for Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 and all versions of Small Business server.

The move aligns with the company's new "cloud-first" corporate strategy. When Windows Server 2012 was launched on Sept. 4, 2012, Microsoft dubbed the virtualization-friendly platform as the company's "Cloud OS."

Select versions of Microsoft SQL Server share Windows Server 2008's fate. The company is ditching support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 for the next Dynamics CRM Server release, essentially leaving only SQL Server 2012 to pick up the slack.

Microsoft is considering adding support for it new SQL Server 2014 database, but it has yet to come to a decision on that front. SQL Server 2014, the company's "ambient intelligence" software foundation, features in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) and is a critical component in Microsoft's new "big data in a box" solution, the Analytics Platform System.

Some client platforms are also getting left behind, including Windows Vista and Office 2007, along with Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Services. Dynamics CRM application services will no longer support Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) and 9 (IE9), warned Microsoft.

Users of those aging Web browsers—Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is the most current version—will be routed to the main Dynamics CRM application, but they may encounter quirks. Microsoft cautioned that IE8 and IE9 "won't provide an optimal experience, and any issues reported will need to be validated on a supported browser."

A handful of client software development kit (SDK) APIs are being removed, along with the 2007 SDK SOAP endpoint for extensions. Read-optimized forms and CRM 2011 forms updated in CRM 2013 are also on the way out.

The upgrade process from Dynamics CRM 2013 to the next release will require a mandatory database merge, added Microsoft. "Support for Exchange 2007 connectivity to and from the CRM Email Router will be deprecated," as is the product type entity called Kit.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...