In today’s blog, we’re discussing Microsoft’s Patch/Clone Solution and describing how it is an advantageous approach compared to traditional project management methodologies. We hope you enjoy!

“Traditional” Approach to Solution Deployment

Following Agile methodologies allows clients to navigate and explore deliverables while they are in development, always in a release that has a number, description, and dedicated instance. Pushing these releases means continuous deployment across different instances, while sustaining the ability to roll back any undesired releases.

With more projects choosing Agile practices in implementing Dynamics 365, Solution Deployment is being highlighted more. And with enterprise businesses adopting Microsoft Dynamics 365 as their profile management solution, maintaining communication with stakeholders and identifying newly-deployed solutions have become more important than ever before – necessitating a smoother deployment process.

The need for an easier deployment process for Dynamics 365 solutions is not unique to Agile projects. In Waterfall projects, as well, governing solution deployment before and after GO LIVE is a key success factor.

Traditionally, pushing solutions from source to a destination instance requires either:

  • Exporting all solutions as one solution and then importing it into the destination instance.
  • A configuration plan being in place based on the size of the project, as well as a list of solutions being created every time a new update on a solution is done; then, it will be exported into new solution from one instance and imported into destination instance.

One of the main disadvantages of this approach is that over time there develops a long list of solutions that need to be maintained across different instances: Development, QA, Staging, UAT, and Production. This raises the risk ratio of issues and mistakes, as well as more overhead on cost and effort when considering deployment governance.

“Patch/Clone” Approach to Solution Deployment

Microsoft introduced the Patch/Clone Solution back in the CRM 2016 update (online and on-prem). When comparing to the traditional export/import solutions, this feature simplifies and accelerates maintenance of solutions, communicating them from Development through QA to End-user testing, and pushing them to production.

  • Patch Solution allows the creation of a child solution and links it to a parent solution. This provides a better control on the solution among different developers and maintains one parent (approved) solution, which is a best practice when each developer is developing a different component of the solution. The parent Solution cannot be updated or edited while a child solution (Patch) is created.
  • Clone Solution is the next step in the process. When a child solution is approved by QA or End user, it will be rolled up and merged into the parent solution, mandating to increment the version of the parent solution. 
  • From here, the process is like the traditional one: export the new version of parent solution from source instance and import it into destination instance. However, this feature allows you to either override the current solution or stage it as another solution. 

The new process improves the communication between stakeholders of a project and makes it more efficient. It is easier to access the changes in the release, simplifies version control of the solution, and provides sustainable maintenance of solutions in different instances. Overall, it delivers better governance on the deployment process.

The benefits of a Patch/Clone Solution Deployment are clear. We hope you’ll give it a shot. Be sure to subscribe to our blog for more tips and tricks.

Happy Dynamics 365’ing!

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Joe D365

Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.