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North52 Data Packager is an add-on for North52 Business Process Activities which enables you to easily move data from one instance to another.  User's simply select the records they would like to package up and North52 Data Packager adds the data to a data package sheet, ready for export. Moving the records to another instance requires the package solution to be imported and 'unpacked' on the target instance. Note that the North52 Data Packager is designed for transporting configuration data and not large scale data migrations.

North52 Data Packager is ideal for:

  • Moving/copying Dynamics records (configuration data)
  • Moving/copying Dynamics Portal records
  • Distributing demonstration data

North52 Data Packager solves many common problems inherent in moving Dynamics records from one instance to another:

  • Resolving lookup references
  • Many to many relationships
  • Moving attachments
  • Post record creation updates

North52 Data Packager utilizes the North52 Business Process Activities rules engine and has access to over 450 functions which can be used to transform or change data as part of the import process. For example, for demo data you can add functions to calculate dates so that your demo data remains fresh.

Benefits of the North52 Data Packager

  • Makes it easy to import configuration data
  • Quicker than creating custom SSIS packages
  • Able to preserve the existing record ID/GUID 
  • Ability to replace all or selected GUIDs with new ones
  • Transport data that is not possible via Export to Excel/import, such as Activity Attachments
  • Easy to select and import many-to-many (N:N) relationships
  • Option set matching like Status and Status Reason based on number, not label
  • Control the order that the entities are imported by changing position of Data Package sheet
  • Parent-child references are automatically handled - e.g. Primary Contact on Account - Account record is created, then Contact record, then the primary Contact field is updated on the Account record
  • Self-referencing entities are automatically handled - e.g. web form next steps
  • Deactivate specific plugins and processes prior to import and reactivate post import
  • Ability to execute data packages as part of a DevOps process

North52 BPA Data Packager vs. Configuration Migration tool

What are the differences between the North52 BPA Data Packager and the Configuration Migration tool provided by Microsoft?

Like the Configuration Migration tool, North52's Data Packager is not meant to be a solution for a full data migration or continuous data integration, however there are some important differences:

  • Data can be selectively added to a Data Package using a searchable and intuitive data records tree
    • A schema does not have to be defined up front, the 'schema' is created as records are added to the Data Package sheet
  • Data can be added via a FetchXml query
    • You can parameterize the fetch query to filter all queries with the same parameter e.g. Modified on Last X Days
  • Only attributes that contain data will be added to the Data Package sheet (a list of ignore fields are defined and can be added/removed)
  • Once data is added to the Data Package sheet a user can manipulate the data:
    • Add North52 functions to add logic on import e.g. manipulate dates
    • Replace lookup field GUIDs with text names so the lookup will resolve using the text instead of a GUID (useful where lookup fields need to reference existing records on the target instance)
    • Remove unwanted fields 
  • Import rule can be set to either create and update (if record already exists) or create only (do nothing if record exists)
  • Data Packager will work if  the Schema is different between environments
    •  If you have an extra field in the target solution this is OK, with the Configuration Migration tool it will not work
  • Data is transported as part of a Solution file, using the standard Dynamics export and import solutions functionality
  • All interaction with the Data Packager is done via the web browser, no application to install on a local computer

Data Packager licensing

To use the North52 Data Packager functionality you need to install the North52 Business Process Activities solution (v572 or higher) on both the source and target instances and have a valid license. Contact sales@north52.com for further information.

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