Microsoft CRM development seems simple enough, but I thought I’d post on what my own development environment typically looks like and provoke a little feedback. Maybe there are some tips and tricks out there that we’re not sharing because we assume that everyone’s doing things the same way! And yes – I know some of this is probably REALLY basic stuff that everyone knows – but assumptions are bad (well, they can be) 😉
This is part 1 of…. more than 1.
Virtual PC Images
MS VPC is an obvious choice since it is free and more importantly it’s portable but there are of course alternatives (I’ve not heard a bad word about VMWare yet). You can’t really try the VPC route with any old piece of kit though. I run my dev environment on a 2GB dual-core 2Ghz HP laptop. It’s not the quickest, but is perfectly comfortable for most things I throw at it.
A Microsoft CRM environment needs Active Directory, Windows Server 2003, IIS, SQL Server, Exchange, Outlook client, Microsoft Office… According to Simon Hutson at Microsoft this is at least 3 VPCs’ worth of applications.
There are blog postings (see further reading, below) which explain how to condense all this into one tidy little image which is great. On my first deployment however, I opted to avoid all the awkward registry hacks and first try running two VPCs – Active Directory and Exchange 2003 on one image and CRM/SQL/client on the other.
I have to say I haven’t been disappointed. Since Exchange and AD often don’t need to do much, I knocked the RAM down to 256MB for that image and give about 1.5 GB to the CRM/SQL machine. I also have the luxury of this laptop being a dedicated test environment that I use alongside my desktop PC.
I do occasionally have a few frustrations with the speed of web-services warming up, but even this has been alleviated to some extent by using the CRM Caching tool…
- Download Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
- Creating a single virtual PC image for Microsoft CRM 3.0
- More on the same from Invoke Systems