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Microsoft Business Applications Summit: Best practices on database lifecycle management (self-service)

By Khalid Mohammed, Technical Services Manager, Arbela Technologies

Microsoft is working towards making huge changes in database lifecycle management for Dynamics 365 for Finance and operations. They have introduced us to a few cool features in LCS calling it 'self-service' at Microsoft Business Application Summit 2018. 

Features that were discussed and introduced were:

  1. Maintenance Mode
  2. Sandbox Refresh, Import and Export database as self-serve
  3. Pont in time restore, refresh sandbox with a point in time restore from production
  4. Scheduling database movement operations.

I found the sandbox Refresh, import, and export database as self-serve to be an interesting and most logical thing that is much needed for our many customers. In past, the database refresh from Production to sandbox environment was:

  1. Raise a Microsoft service request with 5 hours lead time.
  2. 1-hour downtime on Sandbox environment.

This means waiting for 6 hours to debug an production issue and we lose a lot of time and can be a huge impact for the customer. With this new feature that Microsoft has introduced for sandbox environment, wait time decreases to 1-hour. Let's look at the process with new 'Self-service' feature for Refreshing sandbox environment from Production environment.

Refresh Sandbox data from Production

  1. Login to
  2. Navigate to full details of your sandbox environment and go to Maintain section (follow the screenshot.)
  3. Select 'Refresh database'
  4. Next, select the Prod environment and read and acknowledge the terms and conditions.
  5. Refresh DB starts
  6. Voila!!! You will have your data ready in your sandbox environment in 1 hour. This feature is not available for the public yet but available for preview partners only. I have tested this feature today and found it really helpful to troubleshoot production support issues. Thank you Microsoft Dynamics team for putting together this feature.

Note: This is a preview feature and would be available for the public by August 2018.

Microsoft has published some timelines for the above called 'self-service' features: 

Self -service feature


Maintenance Mode

August 2018

Sandbox Refresh, Import and Export database as self-serve

August 2018

Pont in time restore, refresh sandbox with a point in time restore from production

September 2018

Scheduling database movement operations.


Features in detail:

  1. Import database – Ability to import the database into Sandbox (Tier-2) environment with One-click action.
  2. Export database – Ability to export the database from Sandbox(Tier-2) environment with One-click action.
  3. Refresh sandbox with a copy of production – One-click action as explained above.
  4. Point in time restore of sandbox – One-click action without service request.
  5. Refresh sandbox with a point in time restore a copy of production – This is not available right now but it would be available and can really help audit team for analysis.