For companies looking to migrate their Dynamics NAV solution to the cloud, popular notions of what this word actually means will have an impact on their decision — both positive and negative. In a recent presentation for NAVUG, I helped debunk a few of the more common cloud myths in order to help companies better assess their options for moving their NAV systems to the cloud, with emphasis on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
Check out the top 5 cloud myths, debunked, below:
Cloud Myth #1: It Isn’t Secure or Private
In actuality, your data is likely to be more secure on cloud infrastructure. The best cloud providers have invested in offering solid, highly standardized design and operational rigor which prioritize security. In fact, many providers are certified by information security standards (for e.g. here are Azure’s compliance framework), including ISO 27001, or what we like to call the “good housekeeping seal of approval.”
In addition to these certifications, most cloud providers have dedicated expert teams that are assigned to maintain and monitor these data centers.
As for privacy, contrary to some beliefs, your data isn’t “mixed up” with others.’ Instead, it exists within a separate physical instance. In addition, your data can’t be mined or sold to 3rd parties for marketing or other purposes.
When compared with the risks associated with local infrastructure (including fire/flood, break-in, and so on), there is actually more of a guarantee of privacy because your information is under the supervision of trained professionals whose primary job is to ensure the security and stability of your solutions.
Cloud Myth #2: It’s Not Reliable
Whether you’re in the cloud or hosting your solution yourself, no system will have 100% uptime. However, the majority of contracts with cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure include Service Level Agreements (SLAs), many of which guarantee 99%+ uptime. The ability of datacenters to scale up means that there are high levels of redundancy and availability. This means that if there is a failure and you are paying for a geo-redundant hosting solution, it’s highly likely that you won’t experience any interruption.
In short, the cloud actually enables a higher level of reliability at a fraction of the cost.
Cloud Myth #3: Performance is Weak
A response to this claim depends on the particular use case. For example, if you’re a company that operates in a remote location with limited bandwidth and an unreliable internet connection, the cloud may not be a viable solution for your Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation.
Ultimately, cloud performance is driven by available capacity and scalability so performance may be less in some cases. There are some applications that may not perform as well in the cloud. For example, some 2-tier architecture database applications where the business logic is executed in the thick client tier require data to be transferred back and forth between the server and the client over the network. As a result, the network has a significant impact on the application performance due to the network latency and bandwidth limitation.
To mitigate risk, individual applications should be benchmarked in the cloud. When the applications leverage the elastic scaling of the cloud architecture and make good use of the cloud resources, they perform even better than running on premises.
Cloud Myth #4: It’s Expensive
A major sticking point for many companies is the fact that cloud economics requires businesses to transfer infrastructure from a capital expense into an operating expense and this can sometimes be a challenge for businesses to justify at the outset.
One major benefit is that you pay for only what you use. In addition, it’s possible that software licensing may be included or bundled in with your Cloud services pricing (e.g. SQL, Windows Server). Beyond the value that stems from paying for only what you use, there is something to be said for the fact that cloud economies of scale are massive and actually get passed on to the consumer.
Another common concern voiced by clients is that they do not like the idea of “paying indefinitely” for something when they can own it instead. However, the costs associated with infrastructure ownership – a dedicated team, maintenance, business risks associated with downtime, and so on – are still an ongoing investment for companies with local infrastructure.
As your organization continues to grow, the fact will remain that local infrastructure is less scalable (either to accommodate additional storage or better performance) and it is a challenge to keep up with technology advances. The Cloud enables companies to adopt solutions on their own terms.
Cloud Myth #5: It’s All or Nothing
There is no requirement to move everything to the cloud.
As mentioned previously, not all applications are suitable for cloud computing. In fact, cloud solutions can complement on-premise and traditionally hosted deployments. Most enterprise software is built on Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) meaning it is possible to integrate with on-premise and hosted solutions fairly seamlessly. For example, we’ve seen a customer host NAV on Azure and integrate with a host of SaaS-based solutions, including a point of sale and eCommerce solution.
For further reading on this topic, the following posts provide more insights into how NAV can be leveraged on Microsoft’s cloud, Azure: