In July 2018 Microsoft announced a major change for Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations update procedures. As One Version is an entirely new practice, many questions arose. Even today, Dynamics 365 users have a lot of questions about it.
The truth is that One Version helps companies stay consistently, predictably and seamlessly current with their system updates. Although, partners and end-users have to learn how to work with it. They must adapt.
We have collected the TOP 10 questions on One Version from our customers. Edgar Murasko, GO-ERP Technical Lead, comments them. Have a look at Edgar’s insights. And, if you have any questions left, feel free to contact us.
1. Why is One Version so important?
It’s a major transformation on how updating and deployment are seen in the world of Microsoft business solutions. It will help customers to always stick to the latest version. It enables them to update their systems more easily. Also, it will enhance Dynamics 365 with new capabilities and bring the role of testing to the next level!
2. How does One Version change the game for ERP?
- Updates are applied fast, easily and (most often) don’t require the help of a developer. It allows customers to always stay with the latest version without any big investments.
- All customers have the same version and the same updates applied to their systems. It simplifies the work for Microsoft as there are less different update combinations to test and validate. This said the releases will be more stable.
- Continuous delivery is not only a best practice. It is made mandatory, meaning that customers will always have the latest improvements and features. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
- Development of new customizations is encouraged to be done by a test-driven process. Following this process, customers will always be sure that their customizations work with the new release. As a result, less critical issues will occur in the production environment.
3. What is the difference between “update” and “upgrade” processes?
An “update” is a lightweight process which only requires the deployment of a new software package. Meanwhile, an “upgrade” is a more difficult process of moving to a newer release. That involves code and/or data upgrades to be done.
In general, upgrading an environment is more time-consuming and requires the help of a developer. Usually, it has a higher downtime than updating.
With the release of One Version, Microsoft will be following an updates policy. Particularly, any major changes can only be released 2 times per year – in April and October. You can read more details in Microsoft overview.
4. What is the new role of updates/hotfixes?
In the previous versions of AX, updates were often ignored by customers despite Microsoft recommendations. The most common reason was that they usually required a lot of resources to implement. Meanwhile, hotfixes were intended only for specific issues. Thus, Microsoft recommended to install them only when these issues were affecting a customer’s system.
With the release of One Version, updates and hotfixes have a new role. Now they are both mandatory and intended for everyone (as always – for no additional cost)!
5. How are updates applied?
All updates are applied through the Lifecycle Services. Microsoft put a lot of effort into this functionality. There is always a tile on the environment page showing how many and which updates are available for a specific environment.
Even greater, all types of updates are now cumulative just like Windows Updates! It is a smart innovation when comparing to previous versions of AX. To compare, single application updates could be applied independently. This could cause a lot of confusion when trying to prepare an environment of the same version.
6. Can I pause an update?
In cloud implementations, you are given the ability to pause an update for some time. But use it carefully. In the end, the updates will still be auto-applied if a customer doesn’t set an appropriate time for this.
In on-premise implementations the situation is slightly different. Microsoft cannot force an update deployment to the customer’s infrastructure. So. it is left as the customer’s responsibility to always apply new updates on a periodic schedule. Microsoft will not support customers with an outdated version.
7. How can I be sure that the updates won’t break my system?
Lately, this has been a heavily discussed topic. Microsoft has developed an internal library of automatic regression tests. It includes multiple unit/component and full process tests. They ensure that all the functionality still works as expected after each update.
However, it is always possible that something might break with a new release, especially in such a big system as AX. So, it is mandatory to test all main business processes in the Sandbox environment. Finally, you can apply a new release to production only after it has been successfully validated.
For any found issues in the new release, customers can log support tickets. Microsoft will do their best to fix such issues asap.
8. How do I assure that my customizations will work with the new updates?
Compared to standard functionality, customer’s customizations are a different story. Microsoft cannot assure that all customizations will work after an update as they have no possibility to test them.
For this reason, Microsoft has released a regression testing framework for Dynamics 365 FFO. Also, it encourages customers to write tests for their customizations. This enables to check if the customizations still work after an update. In case they don’t, the customer would be aware of that. Thus, he will have time to amend the customization before deploying the updates to the Production environment.
9. Is there any help for end-users with customized systems?
Yes, there are already some best-practices and guides published. They describe how to write automatic tests and how to organize them for maximum efficiency. So, if you are a Dynamics 365 FFO customer with any customizations in your system, we highly advise you to check up on this topic! Ask us for advice.
10. How can you join the One Version community?
To join the One Version community, customers have to update their Dynamics 365 FFO systems to the 10.0 version released in April 2019.
We hope that now it’s a bit easier to digest the meaning of One Version. However, if you still have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help you.