The end of Tier-1 Microsoft-managed build VMs is near, and this will leave us without the capacity to synchronize the DB or run tests in a pipeline, unless we deploy a new build VM in our, or our customer’s, Azure subscription. Of course, there might be a cost concern with it, and there’s where Azure DevTest Labs can help us!
If you receive the LCS email notifications for your projects you already know this: all Tier 1 virtual machines from Microsoft’s subscription will be gone as early as 1 December!
This is what the emails say:
As communicated previously, Microsoft is removing the use of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to access environments managed by Microsoft. As RDP access is required for development, going forward customers will be required to develop using a Cloud Hosted Environment or download a local “Virtual Hard Disk” (VHD) within Lifecycle Services. Cloud Hosted Environments will allow customers to manage the compute, size, and cost of these environments. This infrastructure change will ensure that customers decouple development tools from any running environment.
In addition, effective November 1, Tier 1 environments will not be included in the purchase of Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, Dynamics 365 Project Operations, or Dynamics 365 Commerce apps. The ability to purchase additional Add-On tier 1 environments will also be removed at this time. Beginning December 1, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access for the existing Tier 1 Developer environments, managed by Microsoft, will be removed and decommissioned. Customers will need to preserve or move data within these environments by this date. See the FAQ below with links to existing documentation.
Microsoft will continue to invest in development tools and processes to allow customers to extend the rich capabilities available within Dynamics 365. Learn about one of these key investments, which allows for build automation that uses Microsoft-hosted agents and Azure Pipelines. This approach helps customers avoid the setup, maintenance, and cost of deploying build virtual machines (VMs). It also reuses the existing setup of build agents to run other .Net build automation.
Azure credits will be provided for qualifying customers to use for deploying Tier 1’s using Cloud Hosted Environments. Complete this survey to submit your request.
Sincerely, it’s been a bit of a surprise. We had already been informed of the RDP removal as the email says, and the removal of build VMs has been a rumor for, at least, 2 years. But this is pretty drastic and with such short notice! December is less than two months away!
But wait… instead of speculating, Evaldas Landauskas has asked Microsoft and it looks like the virtual machines won’t be immediately deleted on the 1st but progressively:
Tonight we’ve got a new email from LCS with detailed and updated dates. So finally the dates have been pushed a bit and this is the schedule:
November 1, 2020: no more Tier 1 add-on purchases or deployments. Empty slots will be removed.
December 1, 2020: RDP access will be removed.
January 30, 2021: notices will be sent regarding deallocation and deletion of Tier 1 VMs.
What to do now?
That depends on which use you’re making of that VM and if you have add-on Tier 1 environments. And another thing to ask will probably be the cost of replacing that VM.
I only use it as a build server
If you only have one Tier 1 VM and use it as the build server you have two options:
You will need a VM if you’re running tests or DB sync as a part of your build process. This is the only way. Regarding costs: you could deploy a B8MS VM with 2 128GB Premium SSD disks for around 280€ (330$) per month. You could even try with a B4MS for about 160€/month (190$).
If you don’t need that, or want to have a CI build to just compile the code you can just set up the Azure-hosted builds. And if you need extra agents they’re cheaper than any build VM
I use it as a dev VM
If you’re using add-on Microsoft managed VMs for development you need to deploy a new VM in your (or your customer’s) subscription.
Concerned about the extra cost? Don’t be, if you deploy a DS12 V2 VM, with 3 128GB Premium SSD disks, and use it for 8 hours a day, and 20 days per month, you’ll pay around 120€ (140$) per month.
In both cases and if you read the email you’ll see that Microsoft will give out Azure credits in exchange for these VMs, but how many credits is not known yet. I hope this eases the transition but I’m sure there’ll be plenty of complaining 😂
I bet that most of us have had to develop some .NET class library to solve something in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. You create a C# project, build it, and add the DLL as a reference in your FnO project. Don’t do that anymore! You can add the .NET project to source control, build it in your pipeline, and the DLL gets added to the deployable package!
I’ve been trying this during the last days after a conversation on Yammer, and while I’ve managed to build .NET and X++ code in the same pipeline, I’ve found some issues or limitations.
If you want to know more about builds, releases, and the Dev ALM of Dynamics 365 you can read my full guide on MSDyn365 & Azure DevOps ALM.
Since Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations version 10.0.12 we’ve been able to use FnO (public) data entities as Dataverse Virtual Entities. This will allow us to create model-driven Power Apps for Finance and Operations entities without having to copy data between Finance and Operations and Dataverse. This opens a lot of scenarios and new ways of integrating MSDyn365FO with Customer Engagement.
If you want to learn more about setting up the Virtual Entities for FnO you can:
After waiting for it for a long time it’s here! If any of your customers has self-service sandbox environments you’ve been doing this by hand. We’ve been on self-service for over a year and a half with a customer, since the private preview, and we’ve REALLY missed this feature in Azure DevOps.
Some time ago I published the first version of ISV License Generator to help us generate a license for a Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations ISV solution, using a CSP cryptographic USB token instead of a software certificate.
With the new ISV License Generator version 0.2 I’ve implemented support for SHA-2/SHA-256 while keeping support for SHA-1 until it’s deprecated.
It’s one of the most common requirements from a customer: the need to integrate Dynamics 365 with other systems. With the (back in the day) new AX7 we got a new way of integrating using the OData REST endpoint and the exposed Data Entities.
But integrations using the OData endpoints have low performance and for high-volume integrations, it’s better to use the Data management package REST API. A (not so) high volume usage of the OData REST API will translate into performance issues.