How to Create a Free Sandbox

Back in April, we blogged about Microsoft’s licensing changes for storage and additional instances. The changes, which are now fully in effect, included a few huge advantages to licensees – one of which we’ll be blogging about today.

Is your organization under Microsoft’s new storage model? Many of our customers are under the new model but either didn’t realize the new model included unlimited free sandbox instances or were confused about how to spin one up. Below, we walk you through the necessary steps to create a free sandbox. And by the way, if you’re not sure if your organization is running under the new storage model, just try the steps below – if you’re able to create a free sandbox, you’ll know it is!

How to Create a Free Sandbox

1. Go to your Dynamics 365 Administration center and click Try the new Admin center.

2. Click +New under Environments.

3. Name your org, select Production in the Type field, and set Create a database for this environment to Yes. Finally, click <Next>.

4. Configure your database settings as desired and add a security role (this can be done later). Click <Save>.

5. You will see your new org show up in a few minutes.

6. Once it’s ready, select it and click <Edit>.

7. Add the URL and in the Type field, select Sandbox. Click <Save>.

8. After a few minutes, you’ll see it appear in both of your admin centers, as shown below:

That’s it! And as long as you have available capacity (at least 1 GB must be free to spin up a new instance), you can do this as many times as you like.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition: Licensing Changes for Storage and Additional Instances

Microsoft recently announced some pretty significant – and exciting! – licensing changes related to storage allotments and fees, as well as additional sandbox and production instances. In today’s post, we’ll walk you through these changes and how they might positively impact your organization.

Since the inception of Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s licensing model allowed for increasing storage allotments for Dynamics 365 Online in chunks – an additional 10 GB for every 20 full-access users – and charging for each additional GB of database storage needed. Additionally, they charged a fee for each additional production or non-production instance. Well, that’s all about to change…

Starting April 1st, Microsoft is evolving how they allocate, categorize, and charge for additional storage and instances in Dynamics 365 Enterprise Edition and PowerApps.

Storage

When it comes to storage for Dynamics 365, Microsoft is going to be splitting what’s currently known as “Database Storage” into three separate buckets – Database capacity, File capacity, and Log capacity – and categorizing it under the Common Data Service (CDS), which is the underlying service for Dynamics 365.

Currently, customers are entitled to 10 GB of storage by default and receive an additional 10 GB of storage for every 20 full-access users. Additional database storage can be purchased for $5/GB/month.

In the future, users will get 10 GB of database capacity, 20 GB of file capacity, and 2 GB of log capacity by default and receive incremental capacity for each full access user added: 250 MB of database capacity, 2 GB of file, and no additional log capacity per full access user. Additional storage can be purchased at $40/GB/month for database, $2/GB/month for file and $10/GB/month of log capacity, on an as-needed basis.

Today Evolved Structure
Storage Database File Log
Default 10 GB database storage 10 GB 20 GB 2 GB
Entitlement 5 GB/20 full-access users 250 MB/full-access user 2 GB/full-access user None
Additional storage cost $5/GB/month $40/GB/month $2/GB/month $10/GB/month

A few things to be aware of:

Additional Instances

The other thing that’s changing in April is how additional sandbox and production instances are handled. In the past, customers wanting additional Dynamics 365 instances had to pay per additional instance – $150/month for a sandbox instance and $500/month for a production instance. However, with this evolved model, you are now able to have as many instances as you’d like – production or sandbox – as long as you have the capacity (at least 1 GB must be free to spin up a new instance). There is no need to purchase additional instances. This is huge!

Current Customers

Current customers have two choices: convert to the evolved model any time after April 1st or stay on the current model until the next renewal. However, there is no model mixing – in other words, each organization as a whole must either stay on the current model or switch to the new model. Note that customers not purchasing additional storage or instances will not be affected.

Benefits

There are some amazing benefits to this new model of storage and licensing:

As you can see, these are pretty significant changes. Changes to things like licensing, storage, and user allotments often fly under the radar, but in this case, these are exciting and potentially very impactful.

Be sure to subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest updates.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

Saving Space in your Dynamics CRM Online Organization

Let's say you've received a notification that your Dynamics CRM Online has reached 80% storage usage. You could choose to purchase more storage, but you may also be wondering if there are ways to reduce storage usage. Below are a few options for saving space in Dynamics CRM.

1. Delete old audit history

If you have enabled audit history, one of the easiest ways to reduce storage usage is to delete old audit history logs. However, depending on your organizational practice and needs this isn't always possible. Generally, as a rule of thumb we recommend deleting audit history older than 6 months. Here are the steps to do it:

  1. Navigate to Settings >> Auditing.
  2. Click on Audit Log Management.
  3. Highlight the old audit log you wish to delete.
  4. Click on Delete Logs.

2. Change audit scope

You may wish to disable auditing for certain fields, entities or workflows to reduce future storage usage. If you are the org system administrator, follow these steps to disable auditing on a specific field:

  1. Navigate to Settings >> Customizations >> Customize the System.
  2. Expand Entities tab on the left-hand side of the window and then expand the specific entity where the field is located.
  3. Click on Fields tab, find the field for which you wish to disable auditing and double click on it.
  4. When the window opens click on the Disable radio button under Auditing option.
  5. Save then Publish.

Repeat this process for all fields you wish to disable auditing for.

To disable auditing for the entire entity, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Settings >> Customizations >> Customize the System.
  2. Expand Entities tab on the left-hand side of the window and click on the entity you wish to disable auditing for.
  3. Scroll down and uncheck the checkbox next to Auditing.

3. Delete successful workflow execution log

Another method to save storage space is to delete logs for successfully executed workflows. Note that this will not delete workflow unsuccessful execution logs in case you wish to troubleshoot the error. Depending on your organization's practices this may not be possible, but for those organizations that don't need to store these kinds of records, follow these steps to disable workflow execution logs:

  1. Navigate to Settings >> Processes.
  2. Select All Processes as the View.
  3. Double click on the workflow for which you wish to delete successful execution logs.
  4. You may have to Deactivate the Workflow before you can change settings.
  5. Makes sure that you check the checkbox below

This option is checked by default on background workflows and on real-time workflows this option does not exist.

4. Delete old/irrelevant data

PowerObjects does not recommend deleting data as a method of reducing storage usage. However, in specific cases deleting old or bogus data is a reasonable business decision. If you are debating whether you should delete your data or not, PowerObjects can help you determine the best decision for your business.

5. Move email attachments to SharePoint

One of the common reasons to run out of storage space are large email attachments. Did you know that with the PowerAttachment add-on you can strip email attachments, store them in SharePoint and still maintain the connection between the email message and the email attachment? This is a great solution for those organizations that are concerned about data storage cost, as storing data in SharePoint is about 10 times cheaper than storing it in Dynamics CRM! You can try PowerAttachment free for thirty days and can download it here.

6. Move photo attachments to SharePoint

Similarly, if your organization uses PowerPhoto to store multiple large images per record, you will quickly run out of space in your Dynamics CRM. Just like migrating email to SharePoint, migrating photos need not be a painful process. PowerObjects can  save you money by utilizing cheaper storage location without interrupting your business processes and productivity.

Questions? Wondering what your best options are for saving space? The experts at PowerObjects are happy to help--reach out today!

Happy CRM'ing!

 

On-premises CRM Maximum Storage Error

Are you running CRM On-premises (not CRM Online) and receiving the following error when attempting to save a record? Today's blog will go over why this error is occurring and what the solution is.

Here is a look at what the error looks like:

CRM Maximum Storage Error

And here is the log file:

<s:Envelope xmlns_s="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"><s:Body><s:Fault><faultcode>s:Client</faultcode><faultstring xmlns_xml="http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace" xml_lang="en-US">Your subscription has the maximum amount of storage available. For additional storage, please contact our sales organization at 1-877-CRM-CHOICE (276-2464).</faultstring><detail><OrganizationServiceFault ><ErrorCode>-2147176361</ErrorCode><ErrorDetails /><Message>Your subscription has the maximum amount of storage available. For additional storage, please contact our sales organization at 1-877-CRM-CHOICE (276-2464).</Message><Timestamp>2016-09-07T13:07:59.6346654Z</Timestamp><InnerFault><ErrorCode>-2147176361</ErrorCode><ErrorDetails /><Message>Your subscription has the maximum amount of storage available. For additional storage, please contact our sales organization at 1-877-CRM-CHOICE (276-2464).</Message><Timestamp>2016-09-07T13:07:59.6346654Z</Timestamp><InnerFault><ErrorCode>-2147176361</ErrorCode><ErrorDetails /><Message>Your subscription has the maximum amount of storage available. For additional storage, please contact our sales organization at 1-877-CRM-CHOICE (276-2464).</Message><Timestamp>2016-09-07T13:07:59.6346654Z</Timestamp><InnerFault><ErrorCode>-2147220970</ErrorCode><ErrorDetails /><Message>System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException: Microsoft Dynamics CRM has experienced an error. Reference number for administrators or support: #F1ECD333</Message><Timestamp>2016-09-07T13:07:59.6346654Z</Timestamp><InnerFault xmlns_i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" i_nil="true" /><TraceText xmlns_i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" i_nil="true" /></InnerFault><TraceText xmlns_i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" i_nil="true" /></InnerFault><TraceText xmlns_i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" i_nil="true" /></InnerFault><TraceText xmlns_i="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" i_nil="true" /></OrganizationServiceFault></detail></s:Fault></s:Body></s:Envelope>

The Solution

The likely cause of this issue is that the CRM organization database is set to "Restricted Growth." By clearing this option, the issue should be resolved.

Rather than manually searching for and changing this value, running the following script (replacing <DB> with the full name of the SQL database, including _MSCRM) should set the value as needed.

ALTER DATABASE <DB> MODIFY FILE (NAME = mscrm,MAXSIZE = UNLIMITED)

As always, it is recommended to do a SQL backup or full system image prior to making these types of changes.

For additional tips and tricks, visit our daily blog. And as always, if you need additional CRM assistance for Microsoft Dynamics 365, don't hesitate to give us a call!

Happy CRM'ing!