3 Reasons to Use Your Free Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sandbox Instance

by | Microsoft Dynamics 365

3 Reasons to Use Your Free Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sandbox Instance

by | Jan 10, 2018 | Microsoft Dynamics 365

A sandbox is more valuable than many realize

Did you know that your Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales subscription includes a free sandbox instance? [Editor’s note: this is still true with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement!] 

A sandbox instance is a non-production instance of Dynamics 365. Because sandbox instances are separate from your production instances, they are extremely useful for both training and development purposes.

Sandbox instances begin as mirror images of some or all of your production instance, but can be modified independently. Your sandbox instance also offers some unique functionalities that you don’t have in your production instance:

  • Copy Instance copies some or all data from production to sandbox or vice versa
  • Reset Instance restores the sandbox instance to default settings
  • Administrator Mode prevents users without System Administrator or System Customizer security roles from signing in to the sandbox instance

Here’s 3 simple ways you can use sandbox instances to do more with your Dynamics 365 CRM:


1) Test changes to your production instance

Once your CRM is live and your adoption is complete, your team will be dependent on CRM for many of their sales and service activities. The last thing you want to do is disrupt their workflows when testing changes to your CRM setup! 

Using a sandbox instance to test changes before they go live means fewer problems both during and after testing, as your testing environment is totally separate from the working environment.

You can use Copy Instance to create your sandbox instance. Administrator Mode also allows you to lock out anyone who is not involved in the testing process to ensure that nobody accidentally interferes with your work. And if you need a clean slate, you can reset the instance and start fresh.


2) Develop and test solutions and add-ons

One of the major selling points of Dynamics 365 for Sales is its customizability. Many companies develop solutions in-house, or purchase third-party add-ons and solutions, and what better place to develop or test a solution than a copy of your live production instance?

You can use Copy Instance to create as large a sandbox as you need to see exactly how your new solution will interact with your database. Once your solution is ready, you can use a partial Copy Instance to transfer the solution back to your production instance.


3) Train new users

When training new CRM users, it’s important to give them a chance to navigate through and tinker with the system. But the last thing you want is for a bunch of CRM rookies wrecking your production instance. So give them free run of the sandbox instance instead!

Copy Instance allows you to control the size of the training sandbox. You can give new users access to a full copy, or limit them to specific corners of the database at first depending on your training preferences. Even if a new user manages to mess up your sandbox instance, there will be no harm done to your production instance, and you can easily reset your sandbox and give that user a chance to learn from the experience.

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David Marincic is Partner Experience Manager at Azamba. He also manages and edits Azamba publications and social media channels.

David believes in the importance of good planning, sound practice, effective communication, and continued education in order to get the most from any technology solution.

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