One of the biggest myths surrounding the cloud is that Dynamics ERP (Dynamics AX, GP, NAV or SL) will run slower, reports will take longer and overall performance will suffer, with systems running much slower than with their on premise applications. Despite these widespread fears it’s clear that, with the right configuration and tuning, Dynamics can run as fast and stable in the cloud as it does on premise.
It’s an all too common concern, but with good reason: think about the time your company wastes on computers, in general. Even small performance issues can add up to valuable wasted hours quickly. Thirty minutes a day of wait time equates to two and a half hours a week and 120 wasted hours in a year. How much is your time worth to your company? And, of course, are these issues emerging from your cloud connection? Is it slow? Does Dynamics ERP seems sluggish? Is printing crawling? Other performance issues?
If so, it’s time to assess your current needs, usage, and access—and to assess your cloud provider, in general. Start here:
Consider areas which impact performance
- Local Internet speed/Bandwidth – Most cloud connections are used through the internet and users can access it from any location without having to be connected to the office. The Internet speed at the user’s specific location has a direct impact on performance—think about activities such as loading webpages, accessing Google or watching videos online. In a lot of ways Internet connection is like a big pipe, connecting your location to digital ether—and every user in that shares the same pipe. It can get pretty crowded!If your company or local site has a lagging connection or small bandwidth, any online activities or processes will run slower than if users are directly connected to the server or network. A good example? Think about running cloud applications from home versus the office—chances are, it’s slower at home since the majority of home connections have smaller bandwidth (think about the pipe!) than offices.
- Number of users accessing from a single location - If a large number of users are trying to get out to the internet or cloud from one location, this can slow down performance. If you have low Internet speed or bandwidth, plus multiple people accessing it at once, your connection to the cloud will run slower. Have you ever been at home when a family member starts streaming video or music through their computer? Chances are, your connection slows down immediately, thanks to the bandwidth needed for audio and video—it’s clogging up the pipe and leaving less bandwidth for other connections.
- Internet/bandwidth speed in/out of the cloud environment’s location - There are many cloud providers and hosted data centers in the marketplace. Ask yourself—or your cloud provider—what’s the speed or bandwidth in and out to your cloud servers? Larger cloud providers can pay to have unlimited bandwidth while smaller cloud provider might pay to have a smaller bandwidth. If a cloud provider has hundreds of customers, for example, then that pipe has to be capable of supporting all users accessing their servers at once. If the cloud provider only has one location, all customers are likely sharing the same network into the cloud. Find out what your cloud provider’s bandwidth is, how much might be dedicated to customers and how much is shared by other factors, and ask yourself if these align with your specific business needs.
- Consider whether you’re in a multi-tenancy environment or a single tenancy environment. What does that mean and how can these environments impact your business?
- Multi-tenancy environment – shared servers and services for several companies with the application. The more companies that are on a server, the more shared resources it may need. If you are multi-tenancy and you have one company run a huge query, it could cause server usage to spike and impact all other companies in the environment. If the cloud provider has over-allocated the servers without enough resources, you will see performance issues.
- Single-tenancy – Often referred to as “Virtual Private Cloud,” this environment features servers that are dedicated to your company and your company alone. Performance tends to be faster as these VPNs are dedicated resources and environments. That said, resources still need proper planning based on the number of users connected and the functional requirements of the application.
Resource Intensive Processes
Another factor that could impact performance? Resource intensive processes. There are also three functions that can run slowly no matter what factors are involved—and these are solely factors on premise and not isolated to cloud computing.
- Running a large query or report - These require time to search through the database(s) and would run long whether on premise or in a cloud environment.
- Saving a large report or file to your local system or network - The data has to download to your local system and will take more time than if just running it or saving it in the cloud.
- Printing a larger report – A second or two of added time per page can add up. These issues can be addressed in several ways, which your cloud provider can review in more detail.
Check points for improving slow performance
Ask yourself or your provider how much memory and CPUs are dedicated to your servers. And, also important, is your SQL server separate from your application server? These resources can directly impact application performance. You need to work with your IT or cloud provider to ensure the servers running your applications have the proper resources for the number of people and functions associated.
It’s important to remember, here, that Dynamics (or any cloud application, for that matter) should run just as quickly as on premise. While starting the application might take an extra second or two, once Dynamics is up all processing is done in the cloud—and lags should be eliminated, at that point.
If you still have concerns, talk to your cloud provider. If they indicate slower performance is what you should expect, dig in for more specifics—here are a few to start with:
- Ask for performance reports of the servers. Ensure your cloud provider gives you CPU usage and memory usage for each server, specifically during times of day when applications are being used the most. Charts showing performance outside of normal or peak usage times can skew the numbers, as they likely focus on slower-than-average access, plus lower memory and CPU usage.
- If you see the usage of the CPU or memory at 75% or greater for a majority of the time, you may not have enough resources on the system
- See if there are peak times when the resources are higher than others. Look for a pattern and see if you can figure out what is happening during that time of day.
- Check with your ISP to see if there is any bottleneck with the internet. The local Internet Service Provider (ISP) can ensure sure your bandwidth is running at the level expected. Additionally, there are several tools in the marketplace that show bandwidth usage, and whether that’s the bottleneck.
- Check with your IT/IS department and see if they are blocking streaming audio or video. Most companies don’t have a need to run this during the day. If someone is watching YouTube or listening to streaming music, it can directly affect your company’s Internet bandwidth—and that’s a simple fix.
- Talk to your cloud provider about other options besides using the public Internet. There are other options like a dedicated VPN or multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) that make the cloud an extension of your company’s network.
Ask informed questions of your cloud provider to ensure you have optimal performance. Remember, your cloud provider is your partner!
After working with the cloud for several years, one thing I can tell you, performance should never suffer!
by Concerto Cloud Services