TOP 10 FAQ about “One version” in the context of Dynamics 365 FO

When in July 2018 Microsoft announced a major change for Dynamics 365 F&O update procedures, many questions arose. It was an entirely new practice. Still even today, D365 users have a lot of questions about it.

The truth is that a “One Version” solution helps companies stay consistently, predictably and seamlessly current with their system updates. 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. Then, we asked GO-ERP Technical Lead Edgar Murasko to comment on them. Have a look at Edgar’s insights.  If you have any questions left, feel free to contact us.

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. Not only it will help customers to always stick to the latest version and update their systems more easily, it will also enhance D365 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, meaning the releases will be more stable. • Continuous delivery is not only a best practice, but it is made mandatory, meaning that customers will always have the latest improvements and features. Sounds wonderful! • Development of new customizations is encouraged to be done by a test-driven process. By following this process, customers will always be sure that their customizations work with the new release, resulting in less critical issues in the production environment.

3. What is the difference between “update” and “upgrade” processes?

An “upgrade” is a more difficult process of moving to a newer release which involves code and/or data upgrades to be done, while an “update” is a lightweight process which only requires the deployment of a new software package.

In general, upgrading an environment is more time-consuming, requires the help of a developer and has a higher downtime than updating.

With the release of “One Version”, Microsoft will be following an updates policy. Any major changes can only be released 2 times per year – in April and October.

4. What is the new role of updates/hotfixes?

In the previous versions of AX, although suggested by Microsoft, updates were often ignored by customers, as they usually required a lot of resources to implement. Meanwhile, hotfixes were intended only for specific issues and 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 (lcs.dynamics.com). Microsoft put a lot of effort into this functionality – there is always a tile on the environment page which shows how many and which updates are available for a specific environment.

What is even greater – all types of updates are now cumulative (just like Windows Updates!). It is a great innovation when comparing to previous versions of AX where single application updates could be applied independently, causing a lot of confusion when trying to prepare an environment which would have 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 it should be used carefully, as in the end updates will still be auto-applied, if a customer doesn’t set an appropriate time for this to happen. 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?

This has been a heavily discussed topic lately. Microsoft has developed an internal library of automatic regression tests, which includes a many unit/component tests and full process tests. Their purpose is to ensure that all the functionality still works as expected after each update. However, it is always possible that some things might break with a new release (especially in such a big system as AX), that is why it is a mandatory step to test all main business processes in the Sandbox environment and apply new release to Production only after it has been successfully validated. For any found issues in the new release, customers can log support tickets and Microsoft will do all they can to fix such issues ASAP.

8. How do I assure that my customizations will work with the new updates?

There is a different story with the customer’s customizations when comparing to standard functionality. Microsoft cannot assure that all customizations will work after an update, as they do not have the possibility to test them.

For this reason, Microsoft has released a regression testing framework for D365F&O and encourages customers to also write tests for their customizations. This is so they can check that the customizations still work as expected after an update and in the case when they do not – the customer would be already be aware about that and have time to amend their 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 which describe how to write automatic tests and how to organize them for maximum efficiency. So, if you are a D365 F&O customer who has some customizations in your system, we highly advise you to check up on this topic!

10. How can you join the “One version ”community?

To join the “One version” community, customers have to update their Dynamics 365 F&O systems to the latest 10.0 version, which was released in April 2019.

We hope that now it’s a lot 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.

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