As the trend toward the cloud picks up steam, many partners and Dynamics users have been pushing hard to move their Microsoft Dynamics to a cloud environment. Some of the partners we work with have even reached a point where almost two-thirds of their business is now cloud-based rather than premise-based.
Once you decide to move your Microsoft Dynamics to the cloud, the next step is deciding what type of cloud offering will work best for your business. The choices can be boiled down to three basic options:
Work with a cloud hosting provider
Work with Azure
Build your own cloud
Some partners and Dynamics users we have spoken with have doubts about Azure’s reliability and performance, and that has been pushing them to consider the possibility of building their own cloud environment.
If that’s something you’re considering, let’s take a look at some of the key points you’ll want to keep in mind:
Data Security—You have to be prepared to implement data security provisions when building the infrastructure of your cloud. Ask yourself, is access to the area where those servers are secure? Can the servers be easily hacked? If you’re working with a partner who has built their own cloud, are the customer environments properly separated from one another? What are you going to do if someone in your shared environment gets a cyber attack? What if your cloud suffers from a cyber attack?
Redundancy—If you want to keep your customers or fellow users happy and productive, redundancy is critical. If you’re building a cloud of your own for Dynamics, do you have failover? Redundant internet connectivity? Backup electrical systems or generators? Proper cooling (keep in mind that most HVAC installations aren’t sufficient).
Environment—Lastly, if you’re going to get the most out of your equipment, you also have to take into consideration what kind of an environment those servers are living in. Those servers can cook if the room is too hot, and it’s easier than you think to spill a coffee on a rack. Is the area where your servers are ideal for equipment like that? Do you have the capacity to add more servers if your business grows?
It is possible to stack a couple of servers in a corner of your office and provision a house-made cloud environment through them, but it’s not typically a good idea from a security and reliability standpoint. Before you build your own cloud, ask yourself if you really want to invest resources into something that isn’t a part of your core business.
Building your own cloud can be tempting, but it’s complicated. By using a hosting provider, you reap the rewards of month-to-month billing cycles and avoid the day-to-day concerns associated with running a hosting environment.