I recently came across an interesting discussion on NAVUG regarding which hardware to buy when upgrading NAV to 2013R2. Since upgrades represent a great opportunity to re-evaluate your NAV solution’s underlying infrastructure, exploring a cloud strategy might make a lot of sense. This is especially the case for companies that are positioned for further, potentially rapid, growth.
Review the benefits of Azure here.
So, what should you consider when deciding if moving from on-premise infrastructure to cloud infrastructure (IaaS) makes sense?
- Hardware scalability and performance
- Stability and bandwidth of office internet connection
Q: How important is it for you to save on upfront cost?
A: Deploying NAV 2013 R2 on Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, saves upfront cost because you don’t need to purchase hardware which also results in reduced deployment effort from IT staff. In fact, if you have an MSDN subscription, you can fire up a fully functional and ready to use NAV 2013 R2 VM on Azure in just half an hour.
Q: I need a test environment for my upgrade but I won’t need it after go-live. What is the most affordable way to do this?
A: Most of the time, on-premise testing environments aren’t fully utilized. Often, we see 10-20% utilization which represents a significant waste of resources. For deployment, you can setup a completely separate environment on Azure for production and testing. Once your testing is done, you may shut it down to save the cost, and spin it up whenever you need it again.
2. Hardware Scalability and Performance
Q: I need to run an application that has certain performance specifications. Comparing Azure with an on-premise solution, how do I ensure that the application will run smoothly and be able to handle the volume of transactions that my organization requires?
A: For growing businesses, there is an added element of risk when it comes to predicting hardware needs based on projections. You can budget a server for 3-5 years, however, your business may not grow according to your predictions – or it may grow faster than you expect.
Typically, the bottleneck is on the RAM and hard disk. Azure can perform well (or better) if configured properly. Since NAV 2013 R2 runs on SQL Server, disk IO bottleneck doesn’t seem to be uncommon to SQL Server applications. By following the best practices for setting up a SQL Server VM on Azure, you can get a decent IOPS and bandwidth in multiple data disk configurations. According to the test results on Azure, the aggregated throughput and bandwidth across 16 data disks, the sequential IO can reach up to 300MB/s.
Compared with on-premises bare metal servers, the virtual machines configured on Azure are a lot easier to scale up or down according to your needs. What this means is that you don’t have to worry about over or under sizing in the beginning.
Q: Do I have to choose one or the other? I’m not married to being just on-premise or in the cloud. What does a hybrid model look like?
A: Some people may think that hosting on Azure is an isolated environment from the on-premises infrastructure. Actually, with the secure site to site VPN tunnel, you can extend your Active Directory and private network to Azure, and treat it as your corporate infrastructure extension in the cloud. From an end-user perspective, you can access the VMs on premises or on Azure the same way, and you won’t even notice the difference.
4. Stability and Bandwidth of Office Internet Connection
Q: Does my office internet connection meet the requirements (bandwidth, stability) for cloud deployment?
A: For running NAV in the cloud, unlike on-premise scenarios, it’s important that your office internet connection meets the necessary requirements. The ‘sweet spot’ of your internet connection latency is under 100 milliseconds, and the bandwidth per user is 2 Mbps for download and 0.5 Mbps for upload or higher.
If losing access due to insufficient connectivity is a deal breaker– it’s necessary for you to improve your office’s connection in order to be cloud ready.