Thursday, July 31, 2008

Setting up a “mirror” of a production environment for dev/testing

I recently needed to set up a “mirror” of a production system for use in development and testing. I had worked with the Redeployment tool in CRM v3 and I was interested to see how v4 worked. I was very happy when the v4 tool was *very* easy to use, and here are the steps I followed.

1. Used SQL 2005 to do a backup of the CRM v4 production databases
2. Using the VPC image distributed by Microsoft, I copied the .bak file to the VPC. I then did a restore of the database files to the VPC SQL instance. For some reason the SQL GUI did not work, so I used the following command (Names changed):
restore database OrgName_MSCRM from disk='C:\Temp\OrgName_MSCRM.bak' WITH MOVE 'OrgName_MSCRM' TO 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data\ OrgName _MSCRM.mdf', MOVE ' OrgName _MSCRM_log' TO 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data\ OrgName _MSCRM_log.LDF'

3. Once the DB was successfully restored on the VPC image, I fired up the CRM Deployment Manager, right-clicked on the “Organizations” item, and selected “Import Organization”
4. The next step asked me to specify the SQL server, and as soon as I did that the deployment manager found the organization I wanted to import
5. The next screen asked me for a name and a display name
6. Next input was the report server URL
7. The next steps involved the mapping of users. There are several options for this tep, I chose to simply “Manually Map Users”, and the only user I mapped was the Administrator which was mapped to the Litwareinc Administrator on the VPC. I got a warning that “All users are not mapped. Do you wish to continue?” and just clicked “Yes”
8. The next screen was simply the tasks verification screen, so I clicked “Next” and then on the next screen “Import”
9. And that was it! It took a bit of time and at the end I am able to access the org via http://moss:5555/orgname/loader.aspx

You can see the screens here but please note names are hidden:

Friday, July 18, 2008

GM OnStar

Continuing the OnStar story, my wife got set up with GM and received this report via email. Click here for a full size shot!

This service rocks.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GM and OnStar take customer service to a new level

As a lifelong GM fan, I have observed the company’s recent struggles with sadness. Lately GM has been making some very good cars, but unfortunately public perception is that imports are better.
We recently were in the new car market as our Explorer is getting on 10 years old. We were looking for a car with decent people space, but with today’s gas prices we were leery of a full sized SUV. In the end we decided on a GM CUV - crossover utility vehicle- and in addition to being the car we liked best, we also got the absolute best service from that particular GM dealer. “Leggat Pontiac, Buick, GMC”.
So after buying the car and getting started with GMs interactive service, OnStar, I wonder why GM does not put a lot more energy into promoting this fantastic service.

The other day we were in Niagara Falls taking the girls to MarineLand, and we wanted to find a Starbucks. Our navigation system can find things like that, as can most navigation systems today, but OnStar took it one step further. Without ever taking my hands off the wheel I called OnStar and asked about the nearest Starbucks. The OnStar representative not only found it in about 2 seconds, she then said “Would you like me to guide you turn-by-turn, or should I send the directions to your car?” We asked to have the direction sent and presto! The directions came through on our cars navigation system.

OnStar also functions as a cell phone from the car, they can unlock the doors automatically if the keys are locked inside, they can run diagnostics remotely, and the car can even automatically call for help in the event of an accident.

In today’s competitive market, a service like this that is heads and shoulders above anything any other manufacturer offers is a serious advantage. GM, get the word out!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

MVP For Dynamics CRM

Hello all:

I am very happy to annouce that I have been selected as a CRM MVP for FY 2009.