Changes in CRM 2013
Before we get started on server-side sync, we first need to examine how things have changed in CRM 2013 as they relate to email functionality.
Since CRM has the ability to store password information as it relates to different users, queues, and profiles, data encryption is now required in order to work with emails in CRM. You will find this area under Settings -> Data Management, and then by going into Data Encryption.
The encryption status needs to be active in order to send emails from CRM.
A new sub-area titled Email Configuration has been added to the sitemap in CRM 2013, which you can find in the settings area. This is a short-cut method to get to all the different email-related sections within CRM.
If you go into Email Configuration, it will take you to the Email tab in System Settings.
This will look familiar to you if you are used to the 2011 version, but there are some key differences. The top drop down box will let you select between Email Router and Server-Side Sync. The area under Configure default synchronization method lets you select default settings when creating new users and queues. They can still be changed individually, and this specific section only applies to newly created ones.
Use Correlation is a check box that simply opens the options of setting the tracking token and using smart matching.
The Configure Alerts section lets you select what kind of alerts will be sent to users.
Email Server Profiles
This section is the equivalent of configuration profiles within the email router. As you may recall, when opening the email router, it will look like this. Under the Configuration Profiles, there is the option to add several profiles of type incoming or outgoing.
Server-side sync has two changes:
- The profiles section has been moved directly into the user interface.
- Each profile will contain both incoming and outgoing information.
All the requirements to configure Exchange, POP, or SMTP, are exactly the same as they are for the email router. For example, you will still need to configure relay on the outgoing side, and impersonation to receive incoming email into CRM as needed.
In CRM 2011, a user record will contain a section to set their incoming and outgoing access type, from either Outlook or Email router.
With CRM 2013, that option is no longer there. Instead, every user and queue has a mailbox. You can find the mailbox by scrolling to the Administration section, and you will see a lookup field to the user’s mailbox.
The mailbox will contain the section where you can specify Incoming and Outgoing, as well as Synchronization Method of Appointments, Contacts, and Tasks (covered in the next section), and results of whether testing was successful. It is also in the mailbox that you specify what configuration profile to use.
You can also create a forward mailbox by going into the Email Configuration area, and then Mailboxes. Here, click New Forward Mailbox.
Migrate Email Router Data
This section allows you to easily import email router configuration settings directly into your server-side sync setup. It will require the following files:
- The encryption key
- EmailAgent.SystemState.xml – think of this file as a snapshot of the current status of the email router. For example, if you have a queue setup, it will contain information about the last delivered email into CRM, and the last received error message.
- EmailAgent.xml – this file contains the actual configuration information, such as any configured profiles.
You also have the ability to import data from additional email routers, by simply clicking the button above.
Email Integration Service
The email processing service is now called the Email Integration Service and is installed in the Back End Server Role Group. The service will leverage the CRM Asynchronous Processing Service which means when installed it will also require the Async service to be installed when installed stand alone or for scalability may be deployed with a group of servers providing load balancing.
Server-side synchronization service isolation provides a separation of operations and mailbox interaction. Server resources leverage the asynchronous architecture and maintains isolation from other activities and operations.
Platform tracing will provide additional details using the async service. Tracing can be enabled for servers at two levels:
- Deployment – this tracing level will monitor all CRM server roles and services in the deployment, including remote computers. There may be considerably performance degradation while this trace is enabled so use prudently.
- Server – server level tracing will provide more specific control since it allows monitoring specific server roles such as the email router service
Note: There may be security considerations regarding the log files produced by the trace and data captured.
Refer to the Implementation Guide for full tracing instructions.
Resource usage will be throttled by using an upper limit of the capacity and time-outs request and controlling parallel connections for overload prevention.
Back off Algorithm – CRM 2013 utilizes a ‘Back off’ algorithm that will strategically minimize communication resources by reducing the monitoring or mailboxes that are inactive. This diminished traffic will further improve performance.
Performance Counters – Windows Server 2012 and 2008 R2 offer a Windows Performance Monitor tool that provides visualizations of server performance. The performance monitor may be used to read log files or real-time behavior and display in easy to read graphs.
New performance counters introduced in CRM 2013 include more than 40 counters for server-side synchronization in two categories:
- Counters for Activity queue
Become a CRM Administrator
For a more formal introduction into becoming a CRM administrator, check out Dynamics 365 University’s CRM Boot Camp for Dynamics 365.