Cloud or On-Premise

Dynamics 365 was released as a Cloud solution in November 2016 in the US and January 2017 in the UK. It was initially launched as a follow on to Dynamics AX7 and CRM 2016, both offering Cloud based solutions.

However not all customers want on-premise and some still want to manage their own infrastructure, either in-house or at their own SaaS solution provider. Microsoft have announced that there will be two options for the future, a hybrid cloud and on-premise model and a full release of the old Dynamics AX in the new 365 format but on-premise.

The Hybrid

Businesses require uninterrupted execution of some of their mission critical business processes. A manufacturing facility where workers need to keep the production line humming and avoid production delays, especially in lean manufacturing scenarios. Industries rely on expensive machines to produce goods; these machines are highly automated, working on inputs from the ERP systems and provide critical output signals that are used for overall management of the production facility. In such scenarios, it is desirable to run these processes locally while leveraging the power of the cloud to maximize efficiency. Also, some geographies require that transactions and personal information be captured and stored locally.

In 2016 Microsoft announced the plans for a hybrid cloud deployment meant to accommodate these specific scenarios, so that organisations can combine the best of both worlds. Dynamics 365 for Operations plans to enable organisations to run their business processes from application servers at the edges, meaning that transactions are supported by local application services and business data is stored locally. Each such facility running at the edge is called “My Workplace”. The central cloud node provides a single view of the business across distributed ”My Workplace” instances while utilising the power of the Microsoft cloud for embedded intelligence in business processes.

The Microsoft cloud connection ensures data aggregation, financial reporting, intelligence, and more. The cloud instance also provides the local installation with data failover in the Microsoft cloud, automated deployment and continuous updates, and elastic compute capacity to infuse “intelligence” into the business process when needed. This hybrid cloud deployment model scales out through federation of the on-premises nodes (My Workplaces), federated in the Microsoft cloud for a single, global enterprise view, which is a first for business applications. By summer 2017, Microsoft have said they will support a single “My Workplace”, followed by federation of “My Workplace” instances in releases beyond. They are excited to offer this deployment option, “cloud and edge”, a true differentiated option that combines the power of cloud and on-premises in a unique way to offer scale, continuity, and intelligence.

Full On-Premise

Meanwhile, some organisations simply are not ready to store their company’s mission critical data in the cloud. This requirement, in many cases, is due to industry regulations, country or geographic cloud adoption, recent data center investments, or an organisation’s enterprise standards. For these customers, we are excited to announce a new deployment option that will not require their business data to be stored in the cloud. This deployment option, “local business data,” will support running your business processes on-premises, supporting local transactions and storage of local business data, without replication of your business data to the Microsoft cloud. In these cases, the typical replication of business data in the Microsoft cloud (referenced in the cloud and edge scenario) is simply switched off. Cloud synchronisation of data enables us to embed intelligence into business processes – embedded analytics, machine learning, and a vast range of capabilities are best served from the Microsoft cloud. With this option, customers now have choice – an option to turn ON or turn OFF cloud synchronisation of their business data. If customers turn OFF cloud synchronisation, no business data leaves their trustee’s boundaries. Also, functions like, embedded Power BI, Aggregated Views and Azure Machine Learning services based efficiencies are not available when Cloud Data synchronisation is turned OFF. Customers can choose to take advantage of the embedded intelligence functions by simply turning ON data synchronisation to the cloud.

Our cloud-based Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) functions, including diagnostics, monitoring, usage telemetry, and production updates, are provided through Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS). LCS is required for efficient upkeep and operation of your Dynamics 365 for Operations solutions in all our deployment options. In nearly a year of operating the cloud service, we have seen that LCS based management leads to more predictable deployments and provides customers with a much better support and service experience. All deployment options for Dynamics 365 for Operations require LCS for their operation.

For the “local business data” deployment scenario, the application servers and SQL database will run in a customer’s (or its partner’s) data center. Customers and partners will manage the application lifecycle through LCS in the Microsoft Cloud, including designing the business processes, creating and deploying the software image to deploy onto the on-premises nodes, monitoring the on-premises nodes in a system health dashboard, and keeping up with innovation from Microsoft.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the planned scenarios, including use cases, components, and strengths:

Dynamics 365 for Operations Deployment Scenarios

The scenarios “cloud and edge” and “local business data” are planned for release in the summer of 2017. While MS are working on these new deployment scenarios, they plan to disclose more details about them in March’17. You can read further details about their exciting plans for Dynamics 365 for Operations on their roadmap site.

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