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Insights from NAV Azure Migrations


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Microsoft Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an ideal platform to host your Dynamics NAV solution. Here are a few practical insights from recent on-premise to Azure migrations that will benefit anyone considering making the transition.

1. Before proceeding, consider the way your users should access NAV.  

Azure enables a broader range of accessibility for NAV, more easily than on-premise deployments with options including:

    • Windows Client > For example, using the thin client will provide the same Windows user experience as if you were using an on-premise deployment over the local network. Just fire up the desktop application and it communicates over the wide area network with Azure and exchanges data between the server and client just like you are running NAV locally.

 

    • Remote Desktop Session (RDP) > In a remote desktop session, users launch NAV within an isolated desktop experience. RDP sessions can be especially useful in cases where you have other corporate applications that may run alongside NAV in the same session, such as other line of business systems. The main benefit of running NAV in an RDP session is performance.

 

    • Web Client > Accessing NAV in a browser can really useful in certain cases particularly where remote or offsite access is a consideration, or where the operating system of the client device may not be within the control of corporate IT – for example on tablet computers or users’ home computers.

 

2. It’s easy to transfer entire server images from on-premise or hosted deployments to Azure. 

NAV Azure migrations are made easy by transferring a local server image to the cloud. There are few, if any, configuration changes required in NAV itself. All you need is an Azure subscription, Microsoft Azure PowerShell, and your NAV server stored in a .vhd file –

Multiple tools exist to create .vhd files. You can use a virtualization solution such as Hyper-V to create the .vhd file and install the operating system. Uploading the image is a simple 4-step process:

Step 1: Prepare the image to be uploaded

Step 2: Create a storage account in Azure

Step 3: Prepare the connection to Azure

Step 4: Upload the .vhd file

Detailed instructions are available here.

3. To maintain business continuity from a data perspective, you still need to do regular NAV backups and system maintenance. 

Having geo-redundant storage on Azure offers peace of mind for your NAV solution. Although Azure provides a lot of opportunities for you to reduce the amount of things you need to manage, your typical NAV system maintenance tasks are still important and do not go away when you are running NAV on hosted infrastructure. Ensure that you continue to have a plan for:
    • Daily backups (SQL backups, VHD backups)
    • Image backups exist, however, if there are data corruption issues, these need to be addressed.
    • You can store backups locally or in the cloud (depending on your preference)
    • Server patches, updates, hotfixes
    • These can be automated using PowerShell script

4. To prepare, make sure to take advantage of online training and documentation from Microsoft’s Azure management portal. 

We’ve found these educational resources very valuable, including:

by Catapult

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