Overview: Microsoft Cloud, Azure services has given companies a new option of deploying and hosting their ERP services in the cloud. For those companies wishing to move off-premise, to either save money or improve reliability, this is a very good thing. There are still hurdles, as many companies’ financial departments are still somewhat reluctant to move key financial data outside the closed/secure walls of the corporation. There are some that have embraced this, and soon, as with other innovations, others will lose their reluctance and follow.
When you talk about Azure and Dynamics GP you need to talk about the main benefits. One of the main benefits is fast deployment. You can literally create and deploy custom servers from either canned Microsoft server images or your own server images, in under an hour. With this fast deployment, you also gain the advantage of high scalability. You can add RAM and processors to an existing server with minimal downtime, usually less than 30 minutes. This works well for load testing and heavy data integrations; you can ramp up the server for a short period and then move back to a prior state upon completion. Tying this all together is the fact it can reduce your costs. There are numerous payment options for Azure, but the key is that it is a pay as you use. This is a great option for building test servers or beefing up an existing server for a short period for your live production databases.
Deployment: What does the Azure solution look like; there are four basic components to this solution.
- Virtual Machines (the cloud servers)
- Virtual Networks (the cloud network)
- Storage (all data, virtual drives)
- Affinity Group (location of data, Virtual Machines and storage)
As mentioned above, a great thing about the Azure solution is that Microsoft has provided many server images in the Azure gallery; so your server can be built in a matter of minutes.
You can improve your Dynamics GP installation/environment by also deploying additional components such as: SharePoint, Management Reporter, Web Client, and SQL Server Reporting Services
Access/Use: Once you deploy your Azure components, how do you access them? You have many options depending on your companies’ needs and current infrastructure. One method is to extend your current company network to the cloud network, either through site to site connectivity or VPN into the cloud machines. If deploying with GP 2013 or GP 2015, you can also use the web client browser; this is also a gallery provided image from Microsoft. The Azure environment can also provide additional features that would be costly for an on premise deployment, things like load balancing and fast deployment or retirement of servers. Azure also can help with the reliability of sever backups by providing both locally redundant storage, at the primary Azure data center and geo-redundant storage, at a secondary data center.
Summary: What does all this mean? This will lead to improved flexibility in building and maintaining your infrastructure, more time developing tools to enhance your business process and less time building and maintaining an infrastructure. No more worries about your expensive on premise servers becoming dated and obsolete, requiring costly and timely replacements or just potentially failing. This all leads to a future of you running your business, not maintaining your business.
by OTT, Inc