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Dynamics on Azure – Running GP 2013 – A Microsoft Hosting Partner’s Perspective


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With the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 there has been a lot a noise about Dynamics on Azure.  Not a lot of people truly understand what that means. So as a long-standing hosting provider of Microsoft ERP and CRM solutions, here is our perspective on what hosting Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure really means:

  • Working with a partner who understands the product is essential.
  • Unlike Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-line which comes pre-installed, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 is NOT pre-installed by Microsoft.  All Microsoft is providing is the infrastructure to host this application.
  • You need to continue to monitor and apply service packs as needed.
  • There is not a 24/7/365 team managing your servers. You still need to do that.

A Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 deployment on Microsoft Azure focuses on 4 main components:

  1. Virtual Machines – The virtual machines are the Windows Servers that host the Microsoft Dynamics GP components, so in addition to the GP install you will need different virtual machines to run IIS web server, Web Client, and the GP traditional client (if not running the web client).  And of course SQL Server.
  2. Virtual Network – A virtual network provides a network in the cloud for cross-machine communication.  A VPN represents the secure site–to-site connectivity between the Windows Azure Virtual Network and your corporate network.
  3. Storage Account – A storage account stores the data disks and the virtual machine files.  Of course you need to consider how much storage you need.
  4. Affinity Group – An affinity group keeps the storage accounts and virtual machines in the same cluster of the data center for optimal performance.

These are the Microsoft Dynamics GP Components that can be deployed on Windows Azure. Since Windows Azure currently doesn’t have the ability to offer Session-Based Hosting (SBH) using Remote Desktop Services (RDS), the Microsoft Dynamics GP components that require (RDS) for end-user access will only be available using Remote Desktop for Administration.  (That means you really need to run Dynamics GP under the Web-client vs. the traditional classic client – for now).  Expect some announcements in July by Microsoft where this will no longer be an issue – you will need to purchases licenses for RDS to get past this issue. (Items below on the chart that currently say “limited” will be available.)

Here is a handy guide pulled from the great white paper (Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Window Azure)  written by Daryl Anderson, Senior Program Manager that could be found on PartnerSource (for those of you who have access).  For those who do not have access to PartnerSource, please refer to the following list for component availability.

Dynamics on Azure Component Availability

This gives you a quick overview on what is required to run Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure, but here is also a handy recap of how our Dynamics hosting services can be compared to hosting on Windows Azure.  And by the way, we are happy to host any client that would like to be on Azure, but we don’t recommend doing it yourself (DIY).

Dynamics on Azure Hosting Services

[1] The Microsoft Dynamics GP desktop client can be used for administrative purposes with Remote Desktop for Administration. Again, this will change in July so stay tuned.

[2] If the application that is using eConnect requires Remote Desktop Services, then the application can be used for administrative purposes with Remote Desktop for Administration.

[3] Excel reports connect directly to the Microsoft Dynamics GP databases. Typically the SQL Server is not exposed to the Internet, in which case the Excel reports must be run from a computer connected to the Windows Azure Virtual Network.

[4] Integration Manager can be used for administrative purposes with Remote Desktop for Administration.

[5] Analysis Cubes reports connect directly to the Microsoft Dynamics GP databases. Typically the SQL Server is not exposed to the Internet, in which case the Analysis Cubes reports must be run from a computer connected to the Windows Azure Virtual Network.

[6] The Management Reporter report designer and desktop viewer can be used for administrative purposes with Remote Desktop for Administration. The Web Viewer can be used by all end-users to view reports.

[7] ISV products must be evaluated on a product-by-product basis.

 

You can start a 30 day trial and try out the new GP 2013 Web Client here:

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by RoseASP

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