Tip #298: Living in the past

’m currently on CRM 4.0. How should I upgrade to CRM 2015?

First of all, it is possible to upgrade your CRM environment database to 2015, but it is multiple steps. There is no direct upgrade path — you cannot take a 4.0 database and import into CRM 2015 as an organization.

The upgrade path would be:

  1. 4.0 —> 2011
  2. 2011 —> 2013 SP1
  3. 2013 SP1 —> 2015

The important question is should you upgrade your database, or should you start fresh?

Important considerations:

  • You will need to set up a CRM 2011 server (and SQL and SSRS) and a CRM 2013 SP1 server (and SQL and SSRS) to use for intermediate upgrade steps.
  • You will need completely new server architecture for 2015.
  • For each upgrade environment, you will need to upgrade the database 3 times. Each of these upgrades has potential to take a long time and multiple points at which the upgrade can fail. In most deployments the upgrade happens 3 times (dev, UAT, and Production), so that would be 9 upgrades for most deployment.
  • After the upgrades, all JavaScript, Plugins, forms, and custom security roles will need to be rebuilt.

Given the amount of work required to upgrade from 4.0 to 2015, and that your configuration will ultimately need to be rebuilt anyway, in many cases a company still on CRM 4.0 may be better off starting with a clean, fresh deployment of CRM 2015, rebuild your configuration, and import the data that you wish to keep using the Kingswaysoft SSIS adaptor or Scribe Insight. In many 4.0 environments, the cost of starting fresh in 2015, rebuilding the configuration, and importing data is less expensive than doing the multi-step database upgrade.

Benefits to this approach:

  • This approach can make it easier to incorporate business rules, hierarchical security, rollup fields, and other new features that will result in less complex customization.
  • This approach eliminates legacy artifacts that remain after an upgrade.
  • This approach makes going online an attractive option.

This may not be the answer for every 4.0 environment—if you have a very complex configuration with a large amount of data, upgrading may be your best option; however, if you are an average sized company with simple to moderate complexity customization, a fresh start may be the best option.

2 thoughts on “Tip #298: Living in the past

  1. Jim Madden says:

    Assuming that the CRM 4 firm has a valid/active support agreement with Microsoft, if they were to elect to perform the fresh install of CRM 2015, would they need to obtain a new CRM 2015 server license key, or would they be able to use the current CRM 4 server license key? If the former, is it simply a matter of requesting a new key from Microsoft, or are there additional steps to be performed?

    • Jim,

      support agreement is not enough. What you need is continuous active Software Assurance, which would have to be paid for on the annual basis. Assuming that SA is intact, customer has the rights to install and use latest version of Dynamics CRM. The key is located on the CRM server media that SA customers can download from the licensing center.


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