Thursday, March 28, 2019

Dynamics 365 Business Central April Upgrade Scheduling - Important Notes!

By Steve Endow

If you haven't read the post on the Business Central for Partners blog about "Scheduling your April 2019 Upgrade for Business Central", I recommend reading it thoroughly.

It has several very valuable points about enhancements to the Business Central version upgrade process.

Some of the key points are:

Beginning with the April '19 release, we will also send notifications for preview version availability, upgrade scheduling, extension validation, and upgrade failures.

Make sure that you have at least one person or a distribution group setup as a notification recipient in the Business Central Admin Center to receive these notifications.

For the semiannual major upgrades, you will now have the option to schedule the upgrade for each Business Central environment on a date that works best for you, within a defined date range. The upgrade date range will vary, but will typically be about a month.

The April 2019 release will provide you with the ability to have some control over the upgrade date, within a certain date range.

You have the option to create a new sandbox on a preview of the next release of Business Central. When an early build of the next release is ready, we’ll make it available in preview. Then, when creating a new sandbox environment in the Business Central Admin Center, you will have the option to create the sandbox on either the current production version, or on the preview version of the next release.
The preview version is typically made available for sandbox environments about two weeks prior to the beginning of upgrades rolling out to production environments. 

The "Upgrade Preview" feature with sandbox environments is very valuable, allowing you to test and review new features.

But note the following limitation with production copies:

Sandbox environments created as a copy of your production environment will continue to be created on the same version as the production environment being copied.

The April 2019 release will add support for multiple named sandboxes:

You can now have up to three sandbox environments at a time per tenant, each of which can be given a unique name. Note that the sandbox functionality itself is still in preview, and there is currently no additional charge for creating and using sandbox environments. However, when we have finalized sandbox functionality, there will be a yet-to-be-determined subscription plan for the use of sandbox environments in the tenant.
Also note that the ability to create multiple named sandboxes is functionality available in the April release. You will only be able to create a named sandbox if the environment is being created on version 14.0 or greater, for example, on a preview version of the next release. Once all of your environments have been upgraded to the April release, you will have full access to the multiple sandbox functionality.

Note that sandboxes will eventually require an additional subscription plan, so be on the lookout for a future announcement about those costs.

And last, the post includes several important notes about Extensions.  One key point is a new Extension Validation service:

We’ve created an automated extension validation service that compares dependencies of installed extensions to the schema of the next version. If there are any elements that cause the extension to be incompatible with the next release, you’ll receive a notification letting you know the incompatible extension, and the details of what needs to be changed for the extension to upgrade successfully.

These are great enhancements to the Dynamics 365 Business Central upgrade process.  Definitely check out the full post to see all of the changes:

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