After speaking with the rest of the UK CRM team and some of our CRM support folks, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding Microsoft CRM 3.0 product license keys, and in particular when and where to use the 90-day trial keys, MSDN development/test keys and Volume License keys.
After answering variations on this question several times over, I figured I would save some time and post my thoughts on this subject.
First of all let's take a look at the 90-trial keys that came with the Early Access Program (pre-release) version of Microsoft CRM 3.0. At the end of October 2005 we published CRM 3.0 (v3.0.5295.0) on http://www.mscrmearlyaccess.com for customers and partners to start testing before the final version became available. We also provided two 90-day trial keys, one for Small Business Edition and one for Professional Edition:
Now it just so happened that when the RTM (Release To Manufacturing) version of CRM 3.0 (v3.0.5300.0) became available on 1st December, customers and partners could use these keys quite happily. This was great as it enabled a number of trial projects to kick of before customers had to commit to buying full licences.
On January 31st 2006 we issued new 90-day trial keys for customers and partners to use:
These are the officially sanctioned trial license keys, and everyone should be using these instead of the Early Access Program keys. The benefit of these trial keys is that anytime during the 90-day period, you can simply upgrade to a full license key using the Microsoft CRM Deployment Manager tool. No re-installation is required.
This brings me on to the keys available to MSDN Universal subscribers. As part of an MSDN Universal subscription (http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/licensing/default.aspx), you get access to virtually all Microsoft software for the purposes of development, test & demonstration only. As most Microsoft software requires a license key of some sort, your subscription also provides you with a set of keys, and we provided two, 10-user, perpetual (i.e. there is no expiry date) CRM 3.0 keys, one for Small Business Edition and one for Professional Edition.
Although, I can't provide you with the complete keys here as you need to buy an MSDN Universal subscription in order to receive them, I will give you the first and last 5-digits so you can check in Microsoft CRM Deployment Manager if you are using these keys:
Now here's the important point. You cannot upgrade these to a full license key, Deployment Manager simply won't let you. I have spoken with several partners who have used these keys as part of a proof of concept, but have had to completely re-install CRM (and any data they had migrated) for the production environment.
I cannot stress this enough. If you think you will need to upgrade you CRM test/pilot/proof-of-concept system to a production system, then use the 90-day trial key and not the MSDN key.
One other important point to note is that you cannot upgrade from the Small Business Edition 90-day trial key to a full Professional Edition key or vice-versa. Again, you need to plan ahead to avoid a complete re-installation.
The final point I would like to make surround the issue of license keys and volume licensing. If you buy Microsoft CRM 3.0 through a volume licensing program such as "Open", "Select" or an "Enterprise Agreement (EA)", then you will only receive a single, 25-digit license key for an unlimited number of users (in the case of Microsoft CRM 3.0 unlimited = 100,000 users). "Open" customers will receive this license key on the media they get when they first order Microsoft CRM whereas "Select" and "EA" customers get the key as part of their monthly box of Microsoft media.
Customers can then use any number of user licenses, and declare this to Microsoft who update their licensing agreement to reflect the new number, No new media or keys are required.
Hopefully this will help you understand which keys you should use and when to use them. If you have any comments, please feel free to add them below, and I will keep this posting up to date with any relevant information.
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.
Forcing the new license though the MMC didn't help anybody. It cannot be done.
So we created the CRM License Explorer. Take a look at it here - http://microsoftcrmforum.com/forums/post/27.aspx
Thanks for this post... a few questions:
* The URL http://microsoftcrmforum.com/forums/post/27.aspx is not working anymore
* How you can setup a dev environment (with the proper keys) and update it with production data and configuration? particulary if they are in different domains?