The Great Migration: Part 2e, The Project Management System


This system – which desperately needs a better name, suggestions in the comments please – mostly acts as ‘glue’ between several others to allow centralised reporting and one place to find most of the information users need on a day-to-day basis.  Well, it will when its finished, right now its just ‘glue’.

Project Management System - Current

The changes required to this are quite simple, we just need to change it to use the new Web APIs and point to the new Dynamics CRM Online tenancy so that the result look like this:

Project Management System - vNext (1)

We’ll look at some of the actual code changes in a later post.

The Great Migration: Part 2d, SharePoint


This is used to manage images related to the custom entities that feed Explore.  Each record in CRM has a folder on SharePoint to hold its files and an iFrame allows users to view these in CRM.

SharePoint? iFrame? what is this, a cheese fuelled nightmare?!  I’m afraid not, it gets worse too, its SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on an underpowered and overworked VMware virtual server;  oh, and it started life as Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

Its got to go. Not because its SharePoint, but because it doesn’t work.  Users can see images that have been added but to add or delete them they have to right click on the page and select ‘open in an new window’ to go to the full site or the buttons don’t work.

So what to replace it with?  The first question of course is do we even still need this?  And the answer to that one is a resounding yes as the images are used to power the results in visitbirmingham.com/explore-birmingham/.

Given the available infrastructure we have three obvious choices to replace this with

Azure File Storage

We currently use 919MB for storing the images we will assume that this will triple over the next three years and add in some contingency, so we’ll guess that we need 3GB of space.

We also know that there are 2498 files, each accessed a minimum of 12 times a month, with around 10 new files added each month.

From that we can estimate that Azure File Storage will cost ~£30 per month or ~£1000 over the three years.

We would also need to develop an interface in CRM for users to work with the files.

OneDrive for Business

As we will have Office 365 E3, this option carries no additional cost.  However, we would still need to develop an interface in CRM for users to work with the files.

SharePoint Online

Again, there is no cost attached to this as included with the Office 365 E3 plan is 1TB + 0.5GB per user.

This also has existing integration options with CRM Online out of the box so we don’t need to develop an interface ourselves.

There are a few gotcha’s to watch out for though, notably the 5000 list item limit and the 2GB upload limit.  the upload limit isn’t going to affect us as the files are all small Jpegs.  The item limit could though so we will have to consider that.

And the winner is…

SharePoint, unsurprisingly.  With the zero cost and zero development requirements, plus the users familiarity removing the need to training and fear of new this should be an easy integration to achieve.