Email Router WebDAV problems

A couple of days ago I was setting up the email router for a customer running CRM Online. I must say that I really look forward to the day when Microsoft retire this very strange product that in no way fits the cloud story of CRM Online and Office 365. On what server is it to be deployed?

However, this customer is running CRM Online (at the time of this article, Polaris) and Exchange 2007 On-premise. They had been trying to get the email router to work for several days and had been advised by Microsoft Support to use the WebDAV protocol to connect to the Exchange server. This has worked fine at the beginning but after a while, one of the two queues stopped receiving emails for no apparent reason.
After a lot of trying and look at logs, I removed all settings and recreated everything based on the Exchange protocol from WebDAV to Exchange Webservices, which after some finetuning of the URL:s actually started to work. During this time I discussed this issue with some of my MVP friends, especially Joel LindstromDavid Jennaway and Donna Edwards who were very helpful and they pointed me in the right direction of what was probably the root cause of the error, not that I have actually have had it confirmed but it seems very plausible.

What seems to be the error, that they mentioned, is that some of the emails contain some “special” characters which caused the WebDAV to crash for one of the two queues, while the other one did not contain any emails with any “special” characters. When I changed to the Exchange webservices protocol, which does not have this bug, the mail got imported to CRM as it should.

This is a very tricky error as it is very hard to find and also rather hard to confirm. I still do not not if this is a fact, it is just a hunch, but it fits the symptoms.

My general recommendation based on this is hence the following:

1. Do not use WebDAV when connecting the CRM Email router to Exchange. It is buggy and does not support special characters, some searching the net show these to be characters like !#$%^&. It might work at first but after a while, you might receive an email that contains a special character and it will break down without saying why.
2. Microsoft Support are very good to have when things to not work but do not put your life completely in their hands, sometimes you need to trust your own judgment and try stuff yourself.

3. Isolate errors as far as you can. It helps when trying to find the root cause.

4. Listen to your friends, they are the best!
And let’s all together ask Microsoft to can the email router and build it into the CRM application, especially CRM Online.
Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Techie AW Again!

Yet again we are holding Techie After Work here in Stockholm!

I am afraid I am blogging about it a bit late this time as it is already this wednesday, the 20:th of march at Hotel Anglais in Stockholm (close to Stureplan).

This time we will be trying out a different setup with round table discussions in the subjects of:
– Information modelling
– Security
– Performance

All from a CRM perspective of course. The goal is to get more of a dialog than the previous presentation type of event that we have been.

As usual, Allan Varcoe, Peter Björkmarker and myself will be hosting the event together with Microsoft.

If you are or want to be a real CRM geek, this is the place to be, so try to buy a Kinect for your Kids and wife or buy a gift card to H&M for you girlfrind so that you can get a endulge yourself in the wonderful discussions we are going to have about our favorite product!

Please note your attendance on this facebook site:!/events/351100611667866/?fref=ts

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Nice licensing overview

Licensing issues are often complex when designing CRM solutions and I have strange attempted workarounds with proxy users and simlar and often the issue has been that the sales people have not had the technical insights enough to know the inplications of the licensing setup.

I recently saw I nice blog entry with a summary of CRM licensing. Do check it out.

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB

Nice book about CRM Customization and Configuration

There are quite a lot of books out there about customizing and configuring Dynamics CRM, a quite recent one is written by a MVP colleague of mine Neil Benson, a nice British guy now days living in California.

The book’s title, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization & Configuration (MB2-866) Certification Guide, really tells what it is all about, trying to get you ready for the certification, which is a something of task as these are not at all easy. A good book is a good guide, so running questions is if it is a good book or not, and in general it is a very good book. Benson is, and I know this personally, very skilled, and this shows, and the book is concise and to the point. There are just a two things I would like to see fixed in future editions of the book and that is that the final two chapters (charts and solutions) are made to the same level of excellence as the rest of the book. I recommend this book to all people trying to nail the certificate!

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB