One of the best approaches to learn CRM is to have a sandbox. A lot of recommendations out there suggest having your IT administrator provide you with a CRM sandbox to play in. That is fine and is surely a good idea, but personally creating a sandbox will certainly give you the satisfaction of getting your hands dirty and will give you a little respect with your colleagues. So here we are going to look at getting a basic MS CRM 2011 up and running with Oracle’s VirtualBox.
So why VirtualBox?
So unless you have access to a server with Windows 2008 installed, VirtualBox is your best option for setting up a standalon virtual sandbox on your PC. Note that when Windows 8 is released, Microsoft will support Hyper-V on the desktop, so our recommendation may change at that time.
The steps included in this post should be applicable to setting up a standalone sandbox in "virtually" any other virtualization platform.
Performing the steps in order is very important to keep things easy. Here are the brief steps we are going to perform:
This guide will enable us to create a brand new CRM environment within less than 3 hours, but there are a few prerequisites that you will want to have downloaded:
Other tools needed:
I am only going point out the installation steps necessary to get a very basic CRM 2011 environment up and running. This means that if a step is not mentioned I used the default. If you are interested in adding features please do so, as the scope here is just the bare bones.
*IMPORTANT: Hardware virtualization must be enabled in the BIOS. This is an easy toggle and will not cause any issues to your system, but you will receive an error about VT-x/AMD-V and will not be able to boot Windows Server 2008 until this change is made. The setting lingo varies from Bios to Bios but a common word in all will be ‘virtualization’, so look for that.
Create a new VM host; in this case CRMDEMO2011 is the name. The defaults are fine for this example, but you may want to bump up the RAM if you are going to do some presenting or adding SharePoint, Outlook or Visual Studio. I also strongly recommend that you bump up the disk space to a minimum of 40gigs if you are going to use SharePoint, Outlook or VisualStudio. In any case, make sure you set the version of Windows to 8 (64 bit) or 2008 (64 bit). Both work, but the ‘8’ version automatically sets the RAM higher which is probably better.
1: Create VM Host
2: Mount Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO
We are going to use our mounting software from our host machine and mount the Windows Server 2008 R2 there. Make note of the drive that the mount is using, in this case ‘I:’.
3: Attach Drive with ISO to VM
The Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO is mapped on drive ‘I:’ from your host machine. Attach the ISO by going to Settings -> Storage -> IDE Controller -> select Empty or create a new controller and map it to Host Drive ‘I:’ or the drive you used for the Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO. When the VM starts the drive will be ‘D:’.
Summary: On host mount Windows Server 2008 R2 ISO on drive ‘I:’, on VM (CRMDEMO2011) the drive will be ‘D:’.
4: Start VM
Starting the VM with the Windows Server 2008 ISO attached to the ‘I:’ will start the install with ease because it is now a part of the boot sequence.
Installing a new Windows Server 2008 R2 is pretty straight forward. Go through all the defaults. You will want to add your product key here if you have one. You may want to allow all the updates to happen if you have a nice network connection. Once that is all done, it is not a bad idea to back up your CRMDEMO2011.VDI file. That way you have a nice blank server ready to go for future use.
Two things for VirtualBox:
1: After you are done with the server install, go ahead and install the guest additions, so you can get a nice full screen:
2: A very important VirtualBox command: [RIGHT CTRL] +Delete = CTRL+ALT+DELETE for the VM…probably the only one you really need to know. This will drive you nuts if you don’t know it…you will hate VitualBox if you don’t remember!
This step is in my opinion the most daunting. For many years I have be conditioned that installing a domain server is a one and done deal. That two domain server on the same network is really bad. Yes, having two or more domain controllers can be bad, but here we are going to set it up so we do not compromise our host network. Unless you really know what you are doing, DO NOT mess around with the AD settings or the VM network settings, especially while on your corporate network without the guidance from your local neighborhood IT guru. CRM requires a domain, and since we are going for a standalone installation, we have to promote the CRM server itself to the domain controller role. Additionally, promoting the server before we install SQL helps avoid additional configuration steps as a result of the server’s name and user accounts changing.
Promoting a domain controller is done from the commandline by running:
Seven tweaks are necessary:
1: Toggle: Create a new domain in a new forest
2: Name our network: CRM2011NET.local
3: Change forest function level to: Windows Server 2008 R2
You may get:
Selecting “Yes, the computer will use an IP…” is fine and keeps you from having to look at network settings.
You may also get:
Put in a password and you are done creating an Active Directory Domain Server…Congratulations! You will have to reboot after dcpromo has done its thing. The Domain we created is CRM2011NET, we will want to log back into the server using that domain.
4: Rename computer back to original name
Making the server a domain controller renames the computer to something weird, rename computer back to CRMDEMO2011 and reboot.
5: Create domain users
Create a few domain users is done from the commandline by running:
Create at least these users:
Put the users in the ‘Users’ CN:
Make the password the same for all users and make it so it never expires to make things easier:
6: Make CRMDEMOADMIN and CRMSQLADMIN the administrators of CRMDEMO2011
*IMPORTANT: Logout out as CRM2011NET/Administrator and log back in as CRM2011NET/CRMDEMOADMIN. Installing SQL and CRM as the domain administrator will cause strange installation errors.
1: Login to CRMDEMO2011 as CRM2011NET\CRMDEMOADMIN.
2: From the host machine unmount the Windows Server 2008 R2 and mount the SQL Server 2008 R2. When you mount SQL Server R2 from the host machine go to CRMDEMO2011 and run the SETUP.EXE from the ‘D:’ drive.
3: Install a new instance of SQL with a minimum of the following components selected:
4: Set the service accounts to the CRMSQLADMIN user:
5: Add CRMSQLADMIN as an administrator:
Installing IIS is accomplished by adding the Web server role to the server using the server management console. In addition to the IIS role we’ll need ASP.NET, which must be selected separately. Once these two things are selected, the installer will install them both simultaneously. Starting the Server Manager can be started from the commandline:
1: Select Web Server (IIS) by selecting Roles -> Add Roles:
Continue... Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Standalone on VirtualBox Part 2
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