Let us start with a common question:
“When a customer is not considering going with Business Central SaaS, what are the options to move to the cloud?”
Dynamics 365 Business Central has a clear advantage against competitor ERP solutions that do not offer and on-premises or hybrid solution. When we talk about deployment choices, we are really referring to two elements:
- Business Central Service Tier(s)
- SQL Server database
Most non-SaaS deployments are often split into three configurations:
- Fully on-premises
- Azure VM hosted (Service Tiers) & tenanted SQL database (PaaS)
- Azure VM hosted (Service Tiers & SQL Server)
Each of these common configurations has its own advantages and disadvantages. There is clearly not a right or wrong configuration here. It is ultimately all down to what requirements customers have.
Whilst the three options above are the snapshot of a complete Business Central deployment, we need to pay particular attention to the database and where it is hosted!
When deciding on where the database should reside, the options are:
- Install SQL Server on-premises
- Install SQL Server on an Azure VM
- Use Azure SQL Database (PaaS)
When you decide to adopt options 1 and 2, there is a high level of maintenance involved. This often falls entirely or partially with the Dynamics partner, certainly with many SMB customers deployments, where they do not have a dedicated IT department.
Option 3, on the other hand, offers the capabilities of SQL Server in a PaaS configuration. This means that the maintenance (patching, security, etc.) fall entirely on the service provider, in this case, Microsoft Operations.
Contrary to general belief, SQL Server (on-premises/Azure-hosted version) and Azure SQL, differ in design. The latter is specifically architected for cloud computing, performance, and scalability. Some additional features such as geo-replication and geo-redundancy, are only available with Azure SQL.
What’s the difference between Azure SQL and SQL Server?
When comparing the performance of Azure SQL database and a SQL Server deployed to a virtual machine, we need to consider a few intrinsic “differences”:
- Azure SQL Database is a high-availability database.
- Azure SQL Database is a scalable and intelligent service that includes features such as high-availability, backups, automatic index tuning, security vulnerability assessment, and advanced threat detection. When choosing a pricing tier for running your production database, make sure that you compare this to a similar setup for SQL Server on a virtual machine (including the cost of administration and maintenance).
- The performance of an Azure SQL database is correlated to the price you pay for usage, and new pricing models evolve over time. Use the scalability options within the service to change the database performance tier for your installation as your workload changes over time.
So why is it recommended for Business Central?
You can deploy a Business Central database to Azure SQL Database. Azure SQL Database is a cloud service that provides data storage as a part of the Azure Services Platform.
To optimize performance, Microsoft recommends that the Business Central Server instance that connects to the database is also deployed on a virtual machine in Azure. Additionally, the virtual machine and SQL Database must be in the same Azure region.
For development and maintenance work on Business Central applications. If the Dynamics NAV Development Environment is installed on the same virtual machine in Azure as the Business Central Server, then you can connect to the Azure SQL database from the development environment.
Does QBS Group offer any training for my technical resources on this specific topic?
Of course, we do! Our very own Jan Veenendaal, Partner Technical Strategist, has developed a unique “hands-on” workshop only available from QBS Group to educate our Partners about this topic. Here you will find the full details of the workshop: Learn more about Workshop Azure SQL on our Training page.