Friday, September 28, 2012

CRM Techie AW

Creating a CRM community in Sweden has long been a goal of mine why I am very happy to report that we the first community meeting finally has taken place. In hotel Anglais next to Stureplan in Stockholm, we had a CRM Techie After Work.

I was, together with Peter Bj√∂rkmarker and Allan Varcoe responsible for the content of this first meeting. Peter and Allan took opposing sides in the use of managed solutions in customer projects (not ISV-solutions) and after the inital walkthrough there was a general discussion on the subject which I had the privilage of moderating. Microsoft backed up the event by the presence of Fredrik Wolbe.

I found the discussions very interesting and most of all liked the open attitude of sharing the experience and knowledge that we all have.

We also had some discussions on what to discuss next time we meet, and Fredrik Wolbe mentioned that he might get some product specialists to show us the new HTML5 GUI that most of us have only seen in screen shots. This was liked by most so Fredrik promised to try to make it happen.

The event was attended by about 20 people from different companies. Let's hope there is even more people attending next time! I will be sure to post some info as soon as it has been decided.


Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB
www.crmkonsulterna.se

Tip! There are rumours out of an extraordinary book coming out very soon! Keep you eyes and ears open!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Content thieves

There are many bloggers in the CRM community and in just the latest few months, several new CRM blogs have been started here in Sweden. I think this is great as experience sharing will make us all wealthier in knowledge and increase our edge on the competition from other inferior CRM-systems (none mentioned, especially not SF).

However, there are also several shady companies around that instead of creating their own content, blatently steal content from others. Probably because they do not have the competence themselves to write anything original. I think this is sad and it makes me angry as many of the bloggers around share their knowledge in their free time without any profit interest. This kind of behavior does risk some of these people to stop sharing which would be bad for us all, but great for the competition.

Some of these content theives, are not only lazy, they are also rather dim why a fellow blogger Jukka Niiranen, who was victim of one of these leeches, decided to play them a little prank. Do read about it and laugh!

http://niiranen.eu/crm/2012/09/getting-back-at-blog-content-thieves/

By the way, I write all my content my self, and if I am copy-pasting anything I always try to be very strict with the original source. If you have any comments on this, or feel that I have not given you enough credit for your work, please contact me.

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB
www.crmkonsulterna.se

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Performance analysis of Dynamics CRM

Today I was helping a customer out that have experienced rather bad performance of the CRM system.

They described the performance as being bad in Europe (the server being hosted in Sweden), it was quite obvious that the problems do not originate from network latency, which can be an issue if performacne problems are experienced from the other side of the world (ex. from New Zealand with servers in Europe).

One of the most common problems with performance in CRM systems is bad SQL performance. In large installations, this is usually due to bad SAN (Storage Area Network) configurations from a SQL perspective. As CRM is meta-data driven, it is quite database heavy since it cannot be fully database optimized like custom made ASP.NET applications. Hence good database performance is vital to a rapid CRM.

This is also evident in the large scale performance test that Microsoft have done with 150 000 concurrent users, where the setup was based on High-performance SSD:s in RAID configuration to enable the scale of the test. Read more about it here: http://www.consultcrm.co.uk/sites/default/files/microsoft_dynamics_crm_2011_performance_and_scalability_with_intel.pdf

A very good tool to use for benchmarking the disk performance on a server is SQLIO which can be downloaded for free at Microsofts site.

The two parameters to look for are IO and throughput. Do bare in mind that many SAN:s have caching which can make results strange, so it can be a good idea to try to increase the test file size. Also make sure to put the file on the drive which you wish to test.

I did some test on some of my environments which you can use to benchmark your system setups:
GW VPC - Microsoft Dynamics CRM Demo environment run with 6 GB Memory on my E:
GW LAB - Our development environment, virtualized with RAID drive (4x150 GB 15k rpm)
GW C - Intel SSD 3:rd Generation 250 GB
GW E - Intel SSD 2:nd Generaton 150 GB

IO/s
Throughput MB/s
SSD performance in this case blows the roof off the RAID and the loss of performance is rather substantial inside the VPC, but the read performance is still 5-7 times that of the RAID.

An interesting aspect of this is the GW LAB, our development machine run on RAID, it has almost 3 to 4 times the IO and throughput in writes compared to reads, which is not the fact for the SSD-based disks. This is probably due to some write caching functionality of the RAID.

My recommendation based on this is that if you need high performance on you CRM, use SSD:s in your setup. Do use server-grade SSD:s and used at least RAID:s with 2 disks redundancy, but it will give your CRM a rather large performance boost compared to normal grade SAN.

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB
www.crmkonsulterna.se

Saturday, September 01, 2012

More swedish CRM blogger

There seems to be a nice trend of lot of new CRM bloggers here in Sweden. I think this is great, mercantilism always has to give way to free trade! Even more so in the information era.

Alan Varcoe, a Dynamics CRM veteran and architect, who some of you might have noticed has left some comments here from time to time, has now started his own blog. He has written an interesting post managed and unmanaged solutions. Do check it out!

Let's hope this discussion results in some new features from Microsoft in this area, as that would be greatly appreciated!

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB
www.crmkonsulterna.se