When it comes to commercial software, there’s often times a difference between what the engineering department calls their product versions and how the marketing department decides to label the product for the end customers. For example, after Windows 3.1 the commercial name of the product changed to “Windows XP” while the underlying version number progressed to 4.00. After various changes in both product and naming strategy of the OS, we’re now using a product called “Windows 8.1″ when its actual technical version number is 6.3…
Just like with Windows, Dynamics CRM also has version numbers that are different from the names you’ll see in marketing materials and end user documentation. These numbers are relevant to anyone who needs to either maintain and administer a Dynamics CRM environment or customize and develop solutions for the product, since you need to be aware of the changes introduced by various updates to Dynamics CRM.
Before CRM 2013 there wasn’t a convenient way through which you could have determined the installed updates by just looking at the version number, since each Update Rollup just had a seemingly random four digit build number assigned to it. Luckily the latest releases have made the version numbers much more user friendly, by starting to follow the standard “major.minor.update.build” pattern. There’s still a few CRM specific things you need to be aware of, especially with the very latest releases, which is why I thought now’s a good time to draw some attention to the topic.
Starting with CRM 2013, the version numbering scheme follows a pattern like this (notice the bold numbers):
- Major Release
- Name: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
- Version number: 6.0.0.xxxx
- Service Pack:
- Name: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1
- Version number: 6.1.0.xxxx
- Update Rollup:
- Name: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Update Rollup 1
- Version number: 6.0.1.xxxx
The build numbers are of course not “xxxx” in reality but I left them out since they’re not something you should actively need to remember. Just bookmark this page and reference it whenever you need to know the detailed number of a particular release: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2011 Update Rollups and Service Packs: Release Dates, Build Numbers, and Collateral.
I’ll go through these levels in a reversed order, since I think that makes up for a more exciting story line here. Also, I think it’s more likely to resemble the real life process via which you’ll encounter each of these versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM after your initial deployment. You’ll certainly need to be aware of the different versions even prior to setting up your very first demo/test/development environment, but keeping up with the Dynamics CRM releases is a job that never ends!
These are collections of hotfixes to existing product functionality. When you open a support ticket with Microsoft for an issue you’ve encountered with the software, sometimes you might receive an individual hotfix package from them that fixes your specific issue (and nothing else). Normally you wouldn’t need to install each and every hotfix separately, however, as most of these fixes will eventually be released in an Update Rollup package. You’ll see a list of “issues that are resolved” in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article of each Update Rollup, which is normally your best indication of whether the software bug you’ve encountered has been squashed.
<rant>Since the official name of these releases is “Update Rollup”, the official acronym for them would logically be “UR”. However, some people seem to happily forget about the first word and instead call them “RU”, presumably as a shorthand from “RollUp”. Fine, call them whatever you want, even give each of the releases your very own pet names if you wish, but you’ll never, ever see me use anything but “UR” on my blog.</rant>
At the time of writing, the latest released version for CRM 2013 is Update Rollup 3, version number 6.0.3.0106. It was released on July 15th and contains over 200 hotfixes as listed on the KB article. Normally there would be a UR3 package released for all the server and client components, but this time there’s no Outlook version available, since apparently none of the hotfixes required the client bits to be updated. Update Rollups are usually cumulative, so CRM 2013 UR3 also contains the fixes from UR1 and UR2.
If you don’t manually download and install the UR’s, they will also be distributed via Windows Update later on once Microsoft makes them available via this channel. Since you should always test the effects of each UR prior to production deployment, it’s usually never a good idea to just let things run on autopilot. For example, letting your Outlook clients get the UR’s via the Windows Update schedule without keeping your server components up to date will soon land you in unsupported territory.
During it’s first 11 years of existence, there weren’t any official Service Packs released for Dynamics CRM, unlike many other Microsoft products. This changed a couple of months ago when CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 was released on May 28th. Even though MS is mostly referring to it by the name Spring ’14 release in their marketing messages, based on the naming policy of CRM Online, the SP1 version is essentially Spring ’14 for on-premises customers and the Outlook client components (even for CRM Online customers).
While the CRM 2013 SP1 KB article looks like any UR article we’ve come to know, with a list of resolved issues, this isn’t just a collection of hotfixes. Service Packs are the delivery mechanism for new product features as well as changes to existing functionality of the product. An example of this would be the case creation and routing features introduced in SP1. For a more complete list of SP1 contents, refer to the “What’s New” page on CRM Customer Center. Note that in order to access some of the new features, you’ll not only need to install the SP1 bits onto the server but also go to the CRM organization’s settings menu and apply “Install Product Updates” from there.
Service Packs are cumulative in the sense that they contain the previously released Update Rollup hotfixes. So, while CRM 2013 UR1 and UR2 were released prior to SP1, you don’t need to install them separately when setting up a new Dynamics CRM 2013 environment. Just grab the Service Pack and you’re all patched up to that point.
Update Rollups for Service Packs
Now this is where it really gets interesting. Remember that latest CRM 2013 Update Rollup 3 I linked to a few paragraphs earlier? Based on our discussion so far, would you assume it to contain all the fixes, updates and new features released for CRM 2013 so far? I see quite a number of nodding heads out there and I’m not at all surprised if your initial assumption would be “of course”. The correct answer, however, is “no”. Due to the counter-intuitive nature of this situation for any Dynamics CRM veterans, an explanation is surely in order here. (more…)