Realistic 4.0 Server Hardware Guidelines RRS feed

  • Question

  • We are preparing to go-live with an environment that will surely exceed the typical Microsoft recommendation.  Here is a synopsis of the business need:

    • 80 users with high-level of transactions
    • Up to 40 workflows, some complex with custom plugins
    • Extensive customizations
    • Two-way integration with accounting system (integration software running on separate hardware, sufficient for that product)

    Here is the current hardware:

    • CRM=32-bit Win 2003 R2 Std, 4GB memory, 8-core 2GHz separate OS and install volumes (mirrored)
    • SQL=64-bit Win 2003R2, 8GB memory, 8-core 3GHz, separate volumes for OS, log, and data (not sure off-hand the RAID level for each)

    Even the most current 4.0 hardware document recommends only 2GB memory and a dual 1.8 GHz processor, which seems very low.  Some of our other clients with a lower user count had a significant improvement from a memory upgrade from 4GB to 8GB, with a much smaller user count.

    From the above configuration and knowing the business requirements, what is the weak link in the chain, so-to-speak?

    Thanks in advance!


    Monday, September 20, 2010 9:19 PM


All replies

  • Is there any reason why you are not using Win 2008 on both servers and 64 bit for the CRM server?
    MSCRM Bing'd - http://bingsoft.wordpress.com
    Monday, September 20, 2010 10:08 PM
  • Hi,


    The config seems qute ok. I believe "mirrored" in regards to the CRM server mean "load balanced", right? If so, the config should be ok. You may further tweak it by:

    • going to x64 for CRM server
    • if you have CRM Enterprise, split the async role to another machine (40 complex workflows could weaken the server that still has to server users)
    • not believing in the Minimal requirements cited on Microsoft pages for your deployment
    • clustering SQL Server for higher availability with the Active/Passive cluster


    I hope that helps,


    -- Kuba Skałbania, Netwise
    Monday, September 20, 2010 10:48 PM
  • Thanks, Rhett.  I did not mention in the original post that I am concerned about the performance.  With that in mind, does the operating system version 2008 perform better for IIS, considering that CRM v4 would need to run as IIS v6?  If so, are there metrics available that I can justify for the client to reinstall the operating system on the CRM box? ...preferrably, metrics that will show number of concurrent IIS sessions or something like that.  The SQL box is already in production for Dynamics GP, and it would not be feasible to wipe the OS on that hardware.  I appreciate your response.  Thanks!
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:05 PM
  • Thanks, Kuba.

    What I meant by "mirror" was the RAID configuration of the hard drives is that the web application server is probably a RAID-1, not referring to multiple servers being load balanced.  Also, I apologize for not being clear ...I was not thinking in terms of high-availability or fault-tolerance, but rather performance.  With that many users, workflows, etc, I just want to be sure we don't recommend something that is not capable of good performance with their expected load.

    You raise a good point about the Enterprise edition splitting the roles.  Since they have Professional edition, does that support a 2nd web server and spread the load to help ensure good performance to the end-user?


    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:19 PM
  • There are many performance benefits from win 2008 over win 2003 and don't forget that win 2003 is 8 years old. I'll direct you to the Microsoft site to get a clearer picture on why to upgrade. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/why-upgrade-2003.aspx
    MSCRM Bing'd - http://bingsoft.wordpress.com

    Check out the CRM 4 to CRM 2011 JavaScript Converter Tool
    Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:26 PM
  • As Rhett suggested, go Windows Server 2008 and 64 bit for both SQL and CRM server.  CRM 2011 requires this so you will be in a better position for the upgrade when you are ready.

    Regards, Donna

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:22 PM
  • Hi Ryan, having designed and run a CRM 4.0 hosted platform for hundreds of customers and thousands of users I know how difficult it is to size hardware correctly to support x number of users. There are just too many variables at play.

    For example, if your users use CRM for Outlook extensively (or worse, CRM for Outlook with Offline Access), or the workflows are complex, or you run a lot of duplicate detection, or users need complex reports to be processed simultaneously, or there are lots of plugins, or you have made extensive use of iFrames, or your custom code is based written, or if your database server has an issue running a shared application (like Dynamics GP) -- all these things can have a big performance impact that is difficult to plan for.

    My advice to almost all customers these days is to virtualise their server platform. Good virtualisation can allow IT professionals to easily devote additional resources to a 'server' if/when required. I know this is a bigger program of work than just provisioning a couple of new servers, but saves a lot of money very quickly.

    BTW, CRM 4.0 Professional edition can be installed on multiple servers in a load balanced configuration but you can't split the roles on those servers (that requires Enterprise Edition).

    Neil Benson, CRM Addict and MVP at Customery Ltd. You can reach me on LinkedIn or Twitter. Join over 10,000 other CRM professionals on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM group on LinkedIn.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 5:42 PM