I’ve enjoyed attending Microsoft’s 2012 Convergence Conference, and one action item for me is to take another look at Dynamics CRM Online. Now, one reason that I spend more time playing with Salesforce.com instead of Dynamics CRM Online is because Salesforce.com has a free tier, and Dynamics CRM Online only has a 30 day trial. They really need to change that. Regardless, I’ve also focused more on Salesforce.com because of their market leading position and the perceived immaturity of Microsoft’s business solutions cloud. After attending a few different sessions here, I have to revisit that opinion.
I sat through a really fascinating breakout session about how Microsoft operates its (Dynamics) cloud business. The speaker sprinkled various statistics throughout his presentation, so I gathered them all up and have included them here.
30,000. Number of engineers at Microsoft doing cloud-related work.
2,000. Number of people managing Microsoft online services.
1,000. Number of servers that power Dynamics CRM Online.
99.9%. Guaranteed uptime per month (44 minutes of downtime allowed). Worst case, there is 5-15 minutes worth of data loss (RPO).
41. Number of global markets in which CRM Online is available for use.
40+. Number of different cloud services managed by Microsoft Global Foundation Services (GFS). The GFS site says “200 online services and web portal”, but maybe they use different math.
30. Number of days that the free trial lasts. Seriously, fix this.
19. Number of servers in each rack that make up “pod.” Each “scale group” (which contains all the items needed for a CRM instance) is striped across server racks, and multiple scale groups are collected into pods. While CRM app/web servers may be multi-tenet, each customer’s database is uniquely provisioned and not shared.
8. Number of months it took the CRM Online team to devise and deliver a site failover solution that requires a single command. Impressive. They make heavy use of SQL Server 2012 “always on” capabilities for their high availability and disaster recovery strategy.
5. Copies of data that exist for a given customer. You have (1) your primary organization database, (2) a synchronous snapshot database (which is updated at the same time as the primary), (3)(4) asynchronous copies made in the alternate data center (for a given region), and finally, (5) a daily backup to an offsite location. Whew!
6. Number of data centers that have CRM Online available (California, Virginia, Dublin, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Singapore).
0. Amount of downtime necessary to perform all the upgrades in the environment. These include daily RFCs, 0-3 out-of-band releases per month, monthly security patches, bi-monthly update rollups, password changes every 70 days, and twice-yearly service updates. It sounds pretty darn complicated to handle both backwards and forwards compatibility while keeping customers online during upgrades, but it sounds like they pull it off.
Overall? That’s pretty hearty stuff. Recent releases are starting to bring CRM Online within shouting distance of its competitors and for some scenarios, it may even be a better choice that Salesforce.com. Either way, I have a newfound understanding about the robustness of the platform and will look to incorporate CRM Online into a few more of my upcoming demos.