Automatic Business Central Upgrades: Bad Information in the Wind

I got an email from Microsoft the other day about a Business Central upgrade for one of our clients. Part of the email read as follows:

Your Business Central environment could not be updated to version 19.0 because one or more of the installed extensions failed to update successfully. Review the error information below and complete the recommended actions to resolve the issue before the update can be attempted again.

The extension identified was an extension from Microsoft AppSource, and is key to the client’s business. The email contained a laundry list of errors that were preventing the upgrade. Since we don’t have access to the source code, we couldn’t fix any of them.

Business Central Upgrade Troubleshooting Process

Here is the process we followed:

  • Created a sandbox with an exact copy of the customer’s data (this takes a couple of clicks).
  • Upgraded the app to the newest version using the App Management panel in admin.
  • Rescheduled an update for the sandbox.

The result? We got the same list of errors. An email to the vendor resulted in this suggestion (from the vendor’s tech support):

To be able to proceed without errors, you will have to uninstall the [vendor name removed] app, do the update, and then reinstall the app as workakround. [sic]

So I’ve uninstalled the app in the sandbox I created. Now we wait to see if it upgrades. [A quick aside: to do this in production would mean that the app was not available when the upgrade was done. If the app proves incompatible after the upgrade, we would not be able to reinstall it. That would be a problem.]

Reloading the App from AppSource

While I was waiting, I verified that I could install an AppSource App in a sandbox. I found some documentation that suggested that it was possible, but nothing with a set of detailed instructions. I also found some blog posts that suggested that it was not possible (see below for why I don’t trust blog posts completely).

Frustrated Employee during ERP implementation photoIn the course of all of this, I ran across the following statement on a site. It is accompanied by a video of what appears to be an experienced man stating–emphatically–that AppSource apps update automatically, and are required to be compatible in advance of the release of a new version. The problem is…I had an email from Microsoft proving just the opposite. Here’s the statement from the website and video:

The benefit of using apps is that Microsoft will update your Business Central every month – and you don’t have to do anything. No cost. No tasks. No upgrading project.

Here’s my pet peeve: this site is selling itself as a training site and it is completely, totally, and dangerously wrong! If the app version you have loaded isn’t compatible with the upgrade, Microsoft will eventually upgrade and delete the app. The data will still be there, but you may have an anxious client while you reload the app.

Microsoft Documentation on AppSource App Upgrades

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the first paragraph of the documentation on Upgrading Apps from Microsoft:

When an updated version of an AppSource app becomes the active version in the Dynamics 365 Business Central service, tenants do not automatically get this updated version. This upgrade must be done manually by getting the latest version of the app in AppSource.

Ok. All the advice you get in the marketplace from “experts” isn’t good advice: not by a long shot. Now that that rant is out there, back to verifying that I can load an AppSource App in a Sandbox.

If you need some help with or information on a Business Central Upgrade or Dynamics NAV upgrade, contact us with an overview of your situation or schedule a chat.