What are Dynamics 365 PQU (Proactive Quality Updates)?

Discover what these new Microsoft D365 updates are, how they differ from traditional service updates and what you need to do to stay up-to-date.
James Feuerborn

James Feuerborn

Introduction

As Microsoft has been progressing their vision for the Dynamics 365 One Version update initiative, they’ve made some recent changes that your organization should be aware of. As you may have already seen, starting last year they reduced the number of annual Dynamics 365 updates from eight to seven. Now, they are rolling out a new initiative called PQUs (Proactive Quality updates).

In this article, we’ll explain what these updates are, how they’re going to be applied, what you need to do, and a few other points about them.

What are Proactive Quality Updates (PQU)?

Proactive Quality Updates are incremental updates released by Microsoft per their standard release schedule. Unlike normal Service Updates, these do not include new features. Rather Proactive Quality updates are more like Dynamics 365 maintenance, they only issue fixes and improvements.

In this article, we’ll explain what these updates are, how they’re going to be applied, what you need to do, and a few other points about them.

Learn More: One Version

Interested in learning more about One Version updates within Dynamics 365 Finance? Read the blog post.

How are these updates applied?

These Dynamics 365 updates are applied automatically during the planned maintenance window (aka “dark hours”). Similarly to standard D365 Service Updates, the sandbox environment will be targeted first, with the production environment targeted after. Unfortunately, unlike a normal One Version service update, the proactive quality updates cannot be delayed, rescheduled, or paused (except in specific cases for FDA-regulated organizations).
In terms of timing, Microsoft provides a 4-day timeframe wherein these updates may be installed in your environment, occurring within the aforementioned region-specific planned maintenance window. These updates are engineered to have a low risk of regression or issues and should provide near zero downtime.

How do I know what is changing?

Microsoft has provided a mechanism to view a summary of changes coming in each quality update payload, so your admin teams can review ahead of time for any potential impact. To do so, follow the process as outlined by Microsoft below:
screenshot of PQU notifications

What do I need to do?

In short, no intervention should be required. As mentioned previously the D365 updates should apply automatically during the planned maintenance window, with little to no downtime. However, as per standard best practices, it is recommended that the update be reviewed using the process outlined above before the update installs. Additionally, after the update is applied to your sandbox environment, some basic testing should be conducted to ensure that no major issues are found. This may help uncover any issues prior to the update being applied to production.

Trouble shooting

On that note, if you experience any issues after the update is applied, there are two potential scenarios that may be occurring:
The first scenario: This would be a wide-spread issue that is causing multiple customers to have a degraded experience with one or more Microsoft services. This is known as a critical issue or regression. This may consist of performance degradation, interference with service management, or downtime. If a significant number of customers is impacted, this may result in Microsoft halting the rollout of the update until the issue can be addressed, or potentially rolling back the update. Thus, your first step when troubleshooting the issue should be to check with the Microsoft Service Status to verify if this issue has been identified already.

The second scenario: This would be if you experience any issue that is only impacting your organization. In this case, you will need to open a support ticket with Microsoft to report the issue and engage in troubleshooting. Depending on the specific issue, they can halt the quality update to the other environments in the project until the issue is resolved.

Additional Info: D365 Proactive Updates

Here are a couple other noteworthy mentions relating to the proactive quality updates:

Quality Update / Service Update Overlap

It should be noted that Microsoft has sought to address potential complications related to the intersection of the Proactive Quality Updates and the normal Service Updates. Specifically, this is done by instituting a policy where if a production environment is scheduled to receive a service update within one week of when the quality update is supposed to happen, the quality update won’t be applied.

Proactive Installation

One additional note to make is that Microsoft has begun to allow customers to proactively install the quality updates ahead of the build schedule. As per normal process, this will cause the update to be skipped if the environment’s current build version is equal to or higher than the quality update in question. This should allow your organization additional time to execute proactive testing, further reducing the risk of any potential disruption.

Closing

Dynamics 365 Proactive Quality Updates represent a new way for Microsoft to continuously improve the platform and provide customers with a better experience. By automating the update process and releasing updates on a regular basis, Microsoft can quickly address customer pain points and improve the platform based on real-world feedback.
With Dynamics 365 Proactive Quality Updates, customers can take advantage of improvements without having to take any action themselves. This makes it easier for customers to stay up-to-date and enjoy a better experience when using the Dynamics 365 platform.
Hopefully this article has been a helpful overview of some of the main points you should be aware of related to the new Proactive Quality Updates. However, as you can probably tell, there is quite a bit more nuance that we simply don’t have time to fully expound on here.

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