Monday, 4 June 2012

Install MS Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook using Service Center Configuration Manager 2012 - part 1

I've been looking at using Service Center Configuration Manager 2012 to install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Outlook for the past few weeks as part of a project we're working on and I thought I would share my experiences here. 

The first thing I have to say is that this is by far the most complex product from Microsoft I have ever used, perhaps I'm used to Microsoft software needing little if any configuration, this isn't one of them. There is nothing wrong this, but it's not very common with Microsoft products, at least with the ones I've used.

Another point to mention, is that because our development/test environment does not have an internet connection and we are still running Windows XP on our work laptops, the tool to download the pre-requites would not work as it's a 64 bit tool, which meant that I had to download them from home.


In order to follow these instructions, you'll need to have two separate servers (2 GB of RAM, 30 GB of HDD space), running Windows 2008 R2, one for the database and another for SCCM 2012 itself and at least a Windows 7 machine to deploy software to, needless to say they can all be virtualized. 

The instructions below are not meant to be comprehensive but rather a general guide that assumes some previous knowledge of Windows, SQL Server and Microsoft products in general.

Database Server:

SCCM 2012 is very particular regarding which versions of SQL server it can use and these instructions are meant for SQL Server 2008 R2 only. Different versions of SQL require different patching levels.

These steps need to be carried out on the Database server.

  1. Install SQL 2008 R2. There are a few things that I'd like to comment on:

    • On the feature selection page, select the Database Engine Services and the Management Tools.
    • Use the default instance (If you use a named instance, ensure that you set it to use static ports. This can be done from SQL Server Configuration Manager | SQL Server Network Configuration | Protocols for InstanceName | TCP/IP)
    • On the Server Configuration page, ensure that you use the Network Service account for all services. This is NOT a best practice, but it makes life easier. If you use a domain account, ensure that you register SPNs for it.
    • On the Server Configuration  page (Collation tab), ensure that you set collation of the Database Engine to SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS as per screenshot below:

  2. Install SP1 for SQL 2008 R2:
    Download it from here
  3. Install CU6 for SQL 2008 R2 SP1 (For some reason this CU, which you are only supposed to use if affected by any of the issues that it solves, is needed for SCCM 2012):
    You can request the hotfix from here 
  4. Add the SCCM server account to the Local Administrator group.
  5. Create an account in SQL Server for the SCCM server account and give it the sysadmin role.
This concludes the database server preparation section.

Service Center Configuration Manager Server:

These steps need to be carried out on the SCCM server. Strictly speaking, step one does not need to be carried out from the SCCM server, in fact in our environment it can't be done.
  1. Download pre-requisites from a 64 bit Windows OS.
  2. Install the following System Features (Ensure that you install Required Role Services and Features if prompted) :

    1. .Net Framework 3.5.1 (Ensure that WCF Activation is installed too)
    2. BITS
    3. Remote Differential Compression

  3. Install the following Web Server features (IIS should have been installed by 2.1)

    • Windows Authentication
    • IIS6 WMI Compatibility

  4. Install .Net Framework 4.0 (This is part of the pre-requisites downloaded in step 1, so there is no need to download it again)
  5. You can now run the installer:

  6. Give Full Control rights on the System Management ( | System | System Management) container in AD to the SCCM server account.
There were a couple of issues that I found during the various installation attempts:
  1. The first attempt required me to manually start the BITS services before they were picked up by the installer checks.
  2. On the second install I had to change the static ports twice for the second instance, for some reason it refused to connect on the first port (14330) I assigned.
  3. The collation was wrongly identified and I had to restart the installer to make the error go away.

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