A Brief Guide to Business Central Data Integration in Azure Storage
It’s no surprise that datasets can get huge when you’re hosting in the cloud. You may already have large data repositories in your on-premises Business Central system or Dynamics NAV instances, and they may be getting a little too expensive to host there.
There are many moving parts to Business Central that you might not be familiar with. By combining them, Microsoft has created a powerful tool for running a business. By hosting your central business data into Azure storage, everyone gets the on-demand ability to access their Dynamics data whenever they want.
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is a cloud-based, all-in-one business management solution that combines finance, operations, sales, and customer service functions into a single package. Dynamics 365 Business Central is helping businesses streamline processes, enhance customer relationships, and achieve growth.
With Business Central, organizations get,
Unified Businesses – Using Business Central, you can combine tasks and automate workflows in familiar Microsoft applications such as Word, Outlook, and Excel.
Data-Driven Insights – It allows you to achieve more with connected data, business analytics, and guidance delivered by Microsoft’s intelligent technologies.
Evolving solutions – Ability to start, grow and adapt quickly with a flexible platform that lets you extend beyond Business Central as your business needs change.
Hosting Options Available for Dynamics 365 Business Central
As we know, Dynamics 365 Business Central is a business solution software that streamlines business functions and technology, working seamlessly together on a scalable platform. Organizations choose D365 Business Central for its uncomplicated integration platforms and accessible features, rich functionality, and vendor viability. Additionally, the user interface is similar to Microsoft Office 365 products, which are already familiar to most users. It makes it easy for growing organizations to adopt.
Suppose you’re considering moving to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. In that case, your company will need to consider a range of hosting options, licensing plans, and other tailored approaches to help you achieve your business goals.
There are three deployment models for Dynamics 365 Business Central. Each offers different properties, depending on your business needs, budget, and time frame.
Businesses can choose to keep their data and applications on-premises, meaning they will not have to rely on the internet to access and manage their server environments. With an on-premise solution, a company can license SQL instead of a cloud service, allowing it to access data if needed directly. Other benefits include perpetual or subscription licensing via named users or devices and maintenance and time-based upgrades. Suppose the business remains on older versions of the technology beyond the term of its intended product life. In that case, it will also incur the risk of losing product support from Microsoft.
Software-as-a-service (SAAS) solutions have several advantages. They require no server environment, and the software is upgraded twice a year, so you always have access to the latest version. The solution relies on reliable internet connectivity, which can cause delays or failure if issues arise with your connection. The Database must not exceed 80 GB in size before extra storage costs apply. This solution provides subscription licensing only, so the use of the application is limited to specific named users or devices.
Hybrid hosting offers a mix of on-prem and cloud solutions. For example, if you have a license for SQL Server on-premises, but some of your data is stored elsewhere in public cloud storage, hybrid hosting lets you manage these two separate environments from a single console.
If a business chooses to implement a hybrid solution, the company can control when D365 software upgrades or updates occur. However, this typically comes with higher costs than a SaaS solution for a server environment and maintenance. Besides, some businesses may find it easier to stick with older versions of the product, which can lead to a loss of support. Like SaaS, a hybrid solution relies on adequate internet access and speed.
Hosting Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Data on Azure Storage
If your organization runs Dynamics 365 Business Central or Dynamics NAV workloads on-premises and has a large amount of data, it may become too expensive to host it online. In addition, many organizations want to combine information from ERP systems with external data sources (such as IoT, AI, or machine learning capabilities) for more insights.
If you host Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central data on Azure storage, you have the liberty to,
- Have a less expensive data warehouse readied that can sync with production data.
- Run analytics on that data without interfering with the Business Central operations.
Guidelines to Configure Business Central Data into Azure Storage
You can configure or integrate Dynamics 365 Business Central Data into Azure storage using two comprehensive options,
- Use an Azure-hosted Business Central extension for pushing incremental data from the Database to Azure Storage.
- Reconstruct each increment, pushed by the extension into a full dataset using an Azure Synapse pipeline.
Configure the Business Central extension to export data from a specified database or database schema, and then determine which data to export. The Business Central extension exports inserts, updates, and facilitates deletions made to your data source since the last export in a container in the Azure data lake.
The Azure Synapse pipeline creates a replica data warehouse from multiple exports and assimilates the data into a Common Data Model format. The pipeline also creates entities in the data warehouse if they don’t already exist.
You can use the Azure Data Factory Export Wizard to export data from Business Central to your data lake. You can run a recurring export operation or a one-time export operation. You can also use the Azure Data Factory Import Wizard to periodically update your data in the data lake. You can configure the frequency of these operations according to your preferences.
You can configure Azure SQL Data Warehouse for saving deletion scenarios where you need to maintain historical data. It allows you to keep older information in the Azure SQL Data Warehouse even when it is removed from Business Central.
Decoupling Business Central data from the Azure Data Storage database allows the Database to focus on running operational workloads.
You can use the Common Data Model format to make Business Central data available to a wide range of analytics services, such as Power BI and Azure data services. Query your Business Central data in the cloud using familiar T-SQL syntax through Azure SQL Server endpoints.
Benefits of Hosting Dynamics 365 Business Central Data on Azure Storage
Azure Data Lake is a data integration service that allows customers to store and process any amount of data of any size, shape, and speed. It eliminates the complexities of ingesting and storing all data types while making it easier to get started with batch, streaming, and interactive analytics.
Azure Data Lake enables you to make the most of your data assets today and tomorrow with a service ready to meet your needs.
Here are some of the benefits of hosting Business Central Data on Azure storage,
- No Infrastructure Maintenance
When you deploy your Business Central data on Azure Storage, you can stop worrying about managing the servers and hardware that support your solution. All you need to access the solution is an internet connection. The infrastructure supporting your software is hosted in a secure location off-site.
- Disaster Recovery
Dynamics 365 Backup & Recovery comes with robust disaster recovery features, giving your business the tools to get back up and running after a service outage. You can set up a backup server to take over operations in the event of a failure on the primary server. Dynamics 365 Business Central offers SQL mirroring, which replicates your Database to an alternative server that can be brought online if necessary.
- Regular Backups
The need to back up data is often overlooked. Still, cloud deployment can help eliminate this problem by automatically backing up files so that users never have to worry about losing any information.
- Faster Implementation
Dynamics 365 Business Central is a service that eliminates the need to install software on individual machines. With Dynamics 365 in the cloud, you can deploy and configure it faster than traditional implementations.
EPC Group as Your Consulting Partner
Are your business processes running smoothly? Are you getting where you want to go? If not, we’re here to help. We’re experts in ERP, and we know what it takes to get you there. Let’s start with a quick conversation so that we can understand your goals and objectives. EPC Group can help you harness the power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. We offer expert-led training classes and host Dynamics 365 Business Central to Azure Storage. We can help you with implementation, upgrade/support, customization, and more.
Sas Chatterjee is a Senior Architect with EPC Group. His focus lies in making sure that the execution of each engagement is delivered in a forward compatible, best practices manner. Sas is an extremely devoted professional and takes each project he is assigned very seriously. During the project execution phase, Sas invests the time needed with his clients to gain a full understanding of their requirements and develops a roadmap for achieving their desired end goal.