Microsoft Azure is a cloud services platform from Microsoft that can host a wide variety of applications and databases, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV. For example, NAV 2013 R2 and NAV 2013 with Feature Pack 1 include Provisioning Tools that enable you to easily deploy to Azure. Additionally, it is also possible to migrate earlier versions of NAV with the general availability release of Windows Azure Infrastructure Service (WAIS) in 2013.
Microsoft Azure Deployment Options
Prior to the release of the provisioning tools for Dynamics NAV on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (WAIS), customers had two deployment options:
- On-premise infrastructure- Servers are located and maintained in-house. Businesses are responsible for funding both the hardware and software.
- Partner-hosted – A hosting offering where your solution would be hosted in a partner data center, either in a shared or dedicated environment.
Now, Microsoft Azure gives NAV customers that are considering moving to the cloud access to enterprise-class infrastructure at budget-friendly prices. (This infographic from Microsoft provides an overview of features, services, and common uses). Below are 3 reasons why hosting NAV on Azure makes strategic sense for your business.
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Why NAV on Microsoft Azure?
- More stable and secure infrastructure – backed by SLA (Service Level Agreements)
From Microsoft’s website:
“Cloud Services, Virtual Machines and Virtual Network:
- For Cloud Services, we guarantee that when you deploy two or more role instances in different fault and upgrade domains, your Internet facing roles will have external connectivity at least 99.95% of the time.
- For all Internet facing Virtual Machines that have two or more instances deployed in the same Availability Set, we guarantee you will have external connectivity at least 99.95% of the time.
- For Virtual Network, we guarantee a 99.9% Virtual Network Gateway availability.”
Typically for small to mid-market businesses, IT staffing is limited, and most companies would prefer to focus on key business objectives, rather than hardware issues. Through migrating infrastructure and Dynamics NAV to an enterprise-class platform like Windows Azure, this worry is reduced.
2. Low cost and a flexible subscription model
The model for Microsoft Azure is best described as “pay as you go.” There are no upfront investments and no monthly/yearly commitment. This means that you only pay for what you use, and as such, are charged by the minute. This is different from traditional server hosting which charges you by the instance with a fixed cost per month.
If you shut down and de-allocate the server, Microsoft won’t charge you anything. Just like using a light – if it isn’t on, it doesn’t cost you anything. While the Pay as You Go plan offers flexibility with no upfront costs and no long term commitment, Windows Azure also offers 6 and 12 month plans which save up to 32% (with a minimum commitment of $550 per month). You can use Microsoft’s pricing calculator to determine baseline costs for your engagement.
With Azure, you can scale up or down on demand. You can either run or stop the VM, change its size, attach or detach disks, and configure endpoints and load balancer settings.
3. Save time on new server deployment and migration
Other than no upfront cost and investment risk, Windows Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) makes it easier to deploy new servers, or migrate existing servers. You can quickly spin up a new server on Windows Azure within minutes from the server Image Gallery offered by Microsoft (including Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server etc.), or the pre-configured/customized server images uploaded by you.
If you have physical servers or VM running on VMWare or Hyper-V, you can migrate them to Azure and keep your application as is, either with little or no configuration changes required.
Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure
Thinking about moving your NAV system into the cloud? We’ve got some additional blog posts that may interest you! Namely:
- Upgrading NAV: Stay On-Premise or Move to the Cloud?
- NAV on Azure: Things to Consider
- How to Automate a Dynamics NAV Azure Migration
If you have any questions about Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure, please leave a comment below or get in touch with us here!