Wednesday, May 09, 2007

MS CRM, from a database perspective

Some time ago, I was appointed as the database dude for our customized MicroSoft CRM 3.0 implementation. The project had already been put into production, but there was a major concern about the performance of the application, mainly on the database. And that was the time when I came into the picture.

We started the cleanup with resolving some major issues in the custom code. That code was written by rather inexperienced developers with little supervision on their creations. That resulted in some very interesting behavior on our production environment from time to time, at least if you're in for a challenge. The problems can be roughly categorized into two groups: locking issues and suboptimal plan usage, mostly due to wrong datatype usage.

After the resolution of the most urgent issues on the customization, I got the chance to take a look on the actual MSCRM database. And it isn't always a pretty sight. Sure, the system of a controlling Metabase and a generic customizable CRM database are pretty neat, but the statements that I see passing in the profiler traces are often quite unmanageable. In exchange, the application itself offers very flexible functionality, but it doesn't always seem to scale that well to the data volumes we are handling in our company.

Well, working with MS CRM 3.0 is proving to be an enriching experience. You actually shouldn't have to look at the database and you should definitely not temper with it, but Sql Server 2005 offers very interesting features to pinpoint the culprits and to help the engine a little in the right direction. More to come in hopefully a little more technical posts ;-).

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