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At PowerObjects, we work with a variety of clients who encounter Dynamics CRM 2011 performance issues. (In fact, CRM 2011 includes several performance counters that can help you monitor your components.) The approach you take to resolve the issues will make all the difference between success and failure, and having a happy CRM user or a frustrated user.


Performance is relative, and a strategic approach is critical to drive troubleshooting efforts. CRM 2011 performance issues must be approached meticulously to eliminate variables and isolate source of issue.

1. Ask the right questions

It is vital to ask the right questions to the right person before beginning to troubleshoot performance issues. More often than not, performance issues drag on and on due to people making assumptions and a lack of complete and accurate information about the issue at hand.

Poor performance typically equates to having responses to an action much slower than expected.

  • What specific action?
  • What is the expectation?

Examples of questions to ask:

(Q) What is the problem?

With this question, what you really want to know is exactly what the issue you need to tackle is. Simply stating ‘poor performance’ will not suffice.

(A) It takes 30 seconds to open a contact record

(Q) How many users are having this problem?

Here you want to determine if the issue is user specific or system wide. From there, focus on either the entire CRM deployment or individual users/machines.

(A) All the users in the sales team are seeing this issue, but for the IT team, it takes 3 seconds to open the same contact record.

2. Define a scope:

Defining a clear, tangible and concise scope is paramount to resolving performance issues.

An example of a good scope:

Identify the cause and find a resolution to reduce the time it takes for sales people to open a contact record from taking 30 seconds to about 3 seconds, similar to the time it takes IT staff of open the same records.

3. Isolate the source of the issue

In order to fix an issue, you must first be able to isolate the source of the issue. Ask the right questions, define the scope and gain understanding of the scenario.

A perquisite to isolating the source of the issue and devising a clear action plan to resolve it, is having a clear understanding of the CRM architecture and the interaction.

CRM 2011 performance troubleshooting

Client Tier:

This is how the end user interacts with the Dynamics CRM application. Components include:

  • CRM Outlook client
  • Web client
  • Mobile Express

The Application Tier:

This includes components that lie in between the end users at the client tier and the data itself.

  • Networking
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
    • Front End – Web servers
    • Back End – Async service
    • Deployment administration
  • Reporting Services
  • Windows Server
  • Microsoft .Net
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)

The Data Tier:

The storage and direct retrieval of data from the application tier pieces to be served up to the client tier, including:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • CRM Databases
  • Microsoft CRM E-mail Router or Microsoft Exchange

More on this can be found in the whitepaper Optimizing and Maintaining the Performance of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server Infrastructure.

4. Use the appropriate tools to diagnose and resolve the issue

Now that you have asked the right questions, narrowed down the scope, isolated the source of the issue, use the appropriate troubleshooting tools to diagnose and resolve the issue.

Sample tools:

  • IE Hang/Crash dumps
  • CRM Diagnostic Tool
  • CRM Client Diagnostics
  • PSSDiag, SQLDiag, PSS Perf Wait Stats Codeplex.com/SQLNexus
  • Codeplex.com/Pal

Hopefully this can help your organization approach CRM 2011 performance issues more methodically, setting you up for success in resolving the issues…and ultimately resulting in happy end users!

Happy CRM’ing!

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Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.