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D365 FO Environments – Part 1

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This blog is the first in a series I am working on regarding the different environments and different hosting options. In part one I am going to talk about challenge to decide on exactly the right amount of environments to use, not too few and as well not too many.

Each and every implementation of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, FO, has its own flavor with its own needs and challenges. One of those needs are the different environments that will be needed through out the implementation. This need can then bring a bit of a challenge for the Technical Architect, TA, and the Solution Architect, SA, of the implementation. The challenge can also be bigger if during the sales process and in the final cost provided to the customer does not include all the environment needs. This creates a difficulty for the TA because the TA now needs to go back to the customer and telling them that more environments are needed and that it will add cost to the project.

Tip
If possible involving the TA’s and SA’s for part of the sales process can reduce the risk of ending in this scenario where what has been sold is not reflecting what is needed.

But back to the environments and the challenge of deciding the right amount of environments. In a perfect world we would simply deploy all the environments that we can think of and to be sure we have enough environments we would just deploy more if needed. But it is very unlikely anyone of us will ever work in a project where the customer that pays the bill at the end of the day would be on board with a strategy like this one.

Ok so we can’t have too few environments and we can neither have all the environments that we can think of. This is an impossible position for the TA and SA to be in, or is it? I say no far from it, we can sit down with the customer and talk about the environment strategy and why we need any given environment. Also before starting an implementation having decided how code release is handled will give the implementation team (including the customer) a very good overview of the environments and why they are needed.

When the TA and SA have a good overview of the implementation they can start to list the environments that will be needed and when doing that we can get a lot of information from Microsoft. Regarding the cost of the environments that is customer specific since each customer negotiates on the prices with Microsoft before starting the implementation.

The following diagram from Microsoft gives a good starting point on the environments. The TA has, or at least should have, a very good sense of the overall scope of the implementation. Based on that the TA can look at the following image from Microsoft and start to get a better picture of the environment need

This image is the property of Microsoft

In Part 2 I will talk about the different environments that are used in an implementations and briefly give a description about each of the environments I will mwntion.

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