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Depending on your business environment and workloads, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Server can be deployed either as a full server installation, in which all the server roles are on just one server or as a multiple server deployment by installing the server roles individually on separate servers.

It is advisable for a customer to evaluate the requirements and environment before deciding on how large the Dynamics 365 deployment will be during the project scoping and planning.


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What Are Server Roles?

Server roles are established by a set of programs that, when properly installed and configured, allow a computer to perform a specific function for multiple users or other computers within a network.

Dynamics 365 is designed to work using server roles that install components and services to provide specific server functionality. Server roles offer a bit of flexibility by controlling what components of the solution run on each server.

For example, customers who have larger user bases can install the front-end server role on two or more servers that run Internet Information Services (IIS) to increase the overall performance for users.

In Dynamics 365, there are four vital server role groups. They are:
  • Full Server – All 365 roles on a single server
  • Front-end Server- All server roles that deal with client applications
  • Back-end Server – Includes the server roles that handle processing of asynchronous events, such as workflows and all roles not exposed to the Internet.
  • Deployment Administration Server- tools or components to manage the deployment.


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What Are the Deployment Options Available?

  1. Full Server(Single Server) Deployment
  2. Multiple Server Deployment
  • Full Server Deployment

    The basic deployment in Dynamics 365 is the full server deployment. A single server deployment is useful when you want a deployment for product evaluation or demonstration, a small-scale deployment, or a development environment or test environment.

    This server role group installs all the server roles that are required to run Microsoft Dynamics 365. Ideally, a full server deployment is meant to run with 25 or fewer users concurrently. If the need arises for more users, then it is much better to scale up to a multiple server deployment.

  • Multiple Server Deployment

    A multiple server deployment is recommended primarily for production environments. Installing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Server roles (components) across multiple servers helps a lot in addressing performance issues.

    The different server roles on dedicated hardware offer a healthier approach to managing performance and capacity within the application with the server roles well spread out. It also provides better options for scaling out the infrastructure as the need arises.

    Although you can choose to install one or more front-end server and back-end server roles when the need arises, the language pack must be installed on the computer that has the front-end server role. Also, all server roles must be running in your organization’s network to provide a fully functioning system.


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When Do You Need to Scale to a Multiple Server Deployment?

Any organization hoping to attract more customers must have plans and be ready to execute them when the growth initiatives succeed.

Here are some of the reasons:
  • When the number of concurrent users that require access to the 365 increases, the additional tasks increase the workload. Separating the back-end from the front-end server allows faster processing of end user requests.
  • When you have a high amount of processing being handled by the async service and the service runs on the same machine as the web application, there will be competition for server resources between the web application and the async service. This can result in slower response time as the web application fights for resources.
  • When you have multiple organizations running on the deployment, focusing the different server roles on dedicated hardware can provide a better option for data management within the application.
  • When your Dynamics 365 includes a lot of integration with other systems that make heavy use of the network, having a separate web server eliminates potential network loops or jams in the 365 server.
  • When the load and demand for SQL Server Reporting Services is increasing, performance can be improved by having a dedicated server for it.


How to Change Your Deployment Option?

Moving from full server to multiple server deployment does not require re-installing the current 365 server. As Dynamics 365 is scalable, new servers can be added to a deployment at any time.

To change your deployment and install server roles, use one of the following options:
  • Run the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Server Setup Wizard to select one or more server role groups or one or more individual server roles.
  • If Microsoft Dynamics 365 Server is already installed, you can use “Programs and Features” in the control panel to add or remove server roles.

Note: you should install new server roles before removing old ones from the existing server.


If you aren’t sure that you need to split out the server roles, then don’t.  You can start with a single server running all the roles (full server).  Then, over time, monitor the server and determine if you need to separate the server role groups.

As mentioned earlier, it is easy to reconfigure your deployment to switch to a multiple server deployment without incurring any downtime, all it takes is a little planning. You can also add additional servers to the deployment later, when you decide to scale out the various components.

Every successful deployment starts with planning. So do your planning and decide on the deployment option that best suits your needs.
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Written by Alexandre Painchaud Content Marketing Specialist @ Sherweb

Alex is always searching for new ways to help partners crush their marketing and sales goals. Previously a marketing content specialist at Sherweb, he’s well-versed in how to engage both existing partners and their potential clients in products, tools and solutions to help them succeed. When he’s not in the office planning new initiatives to drive partner revenue, Alex enjoys playing basketball and listening to true crime podcasts.