If you are in the Dynamics space, you probably know the investments Microsoft has been making in Common Data Service (Aka CDS) platform. All business applications under the Dynamics 365 umbrella are connected to a CDS environment by default and they make data available directly CDS in real time, except Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations (Also known as F&O). There was never an option to connect an F&O environment directly to a CDS environment until the release of Platform update 32. (Version 10.0.8).
The CDS platform earlier did provide options to configure connections sets and run data integration projects to connect a F&O environment to a CDS environment. This was actually available in early 2017. Refer to my earlier blog post where I explained how CDS, Data integration projects, connection sets etc. worked back then.
Even though the CDS platform allowed to connect an F&O environment to CDS using connection sets, data projects etc. earlier, the configurations were rather confusing(somewhat complex), time consuming and always felt like a disjoint admin process. Dual Write is the evolution of the CDS integration features such as Connection sets, Data integration projects and this is now natively built into the F&O app. The underlying complexity still exists, but Microsoft has now moved all the heavy lifting to happen behind the scenes and provided a intuitive , clean user interface, that is built within F&O app.
In simple terms, Dual Write is a mechanism to sync D365 F&O Data with CDS and vise-versa, which allows customers using other popular D365 apps such as D365 for Customer engagement(Sales/CRM) to connect and share data between with D365 F&O seamlessly, right out of the box. For example, Without Dual write, your customer accounts data in D365 CE/Sales are not readily available in D365 F&O for you to create and fulfil, orders or to do invoice. Dual write solves this problem and makes required data available across the D365 apps using the power of CDS, so that you can use the respective D365 apps to do what they do best and do not worry about the underlying data to be in sync. With Dual write the D365 F&O data is is very tightly coupled and is in near real time sync with CDS always, for the entities you enable for syncing. This also provides bi-directional data sync.
Starting the Platform Update 33 (Version 10.0.9) of D365 F&O, the Dual write feature is now a built-in embedded experience within the data management workspace of F&O. This means your administrators or integration folks do not have to login to a CDS environment to configure a dozen things to sync data
Microsoft ships several out of the box entity maps between F&O and CDS that you can use right of out of the gate. You can also tweak the out of the mapping to suite your needs. It does not stop there!! If you have custom data fields or custom entities built for your implementation, you can use those as well.You should see a new Tile named “Dual Write” under Data Management workspace if you have deployed 10.0.9 deployed.
Make sure you have the CDS environment deployed and ready under Power Platform admin center. For my testing purposes, I have also deployed sample data in my CDS environment, so that I can validate the data sync between F&O and CDS.Before you can link a F&O environment to CDS, you need to make sure the following configurations are in place.
- Make sure you have version 10.0.9 installed in the F&O environment.
- Install Dual Write Core solution from App Source in your CDS environment and enable the dual write entity map solution.
- Grant required accesses so that CDS and F&O can connect to each other.
- You can see the detailed documentation here.
Now you have to link the F&O environment to a CDS environment and enable entities for dual-write. From the Data management workspace of F&O, go to Dual-write and click “New link to environment“.You should see the list of CDS environments available in there. Select the one you want to use and click Next. Select the legal entities you want to connect to CDS and click Next. If all your required configurations and installs are correct, the health check of CDS connection should succeed and you should be able to proceed with viewing and enabling entity maps and turn them ON for sync with CDS.
I just wanted to share my initial thoughts and excitement, now that Dual write is generally available. Customers who are already using D365 F&O and D365 Customer engagement apps should look at leveraging this to sync data between the applications at all stages of the Prospect to Cash scenario.I am in the process of fully testing and validating this and I can’t wait to share my test results and additional details on the feature here soon. More to come soon!! Stay tuned.