NAV’s Freedom-of-Choice Approach
There’s a great deal of debate these days about whether companies should move their computing to the cloud or remain on-premise. As usual, there are pluses and minuses to each approach, depending on your situation.
Fortunately, Dynamics NAV offers you the freedom to choose from any of the following hosting options:
A Hybrid Model (which is any combination of the above).
The following sections describe the strengths and weaknesses of each.
This is the traditional model, where your computer servers are on-site and completely under your control (or, optionally, remotely maintained by your partner).
The advantages of this approach are that you know where your data is and who has access to it (which, depending on your business, may be a regulatory or legal requirement). Through investment in the proper equipment/network, you can ensure fast response times for all your users. And while interruptions in internet service may still cause you problems in some areas, such as e-commerce, they won’t shut down your entire ERP system.
The main disadvantage of this option is that it takes more upfront money to pay for all your on-site hardware and the resources required to configure and maintain it.
Hosting By Your Partner
This option is like a first step toward the cloud, where all the server equipment resides in your partner’s facility, and the partner takes care of all the configuration/maintenance/backup issues (as well as the resources needed to support those functions).
The advantages of this approach are that you can trade a high initial investment for a monthly fee, you don’t have to worry about hiring/retaining staff with server skills, and yet you’re still limiting the exposure of your site to a trusted partner who probably has access to all your ERP data anyways.
The main disadvantage of this option is that you still need a connection of some kind to your partner’s facility, and while there are communications options you can choose that would be far more robust than a general internet connection, if you lose that connection, you will still be unable to access your ERP.
Hosting In The Cloud
Many of the same benefits as with partner hosting, except you benefit from the economy of scale of large cloud hosting services such as Microsoft Azure, thus further lowering your monthly costs.
You also introduce greater dependency on the internet, in that, should the internet go down, you will not be able to access your ERP system. Although most cloud advocates will minimize this as an issue, it should be noted that Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and Sony all suffered major cloud outages in 2011, with some lasting more than a week.
Data security is another concern. Although all cloud providers assure their clients of absolute data safety, so, too, do financial services firms, yet credit card and account information was hacked at numerous financial services companies in 2011.
To be fair, on-premise solutions can be hacked and suffer outages, too. The determining factor is whether you’re comfortable outsourcing responsibility for these issues.
This model calls for a mix of the preceding three models – generally a mix between the cloud and one of the other two, but there are no strict limitations on how the models are combined.
This model holds significant appeal. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), for example, has been tremendously successful in the cloud. This isn’t surprising when you think about it, because sales reps travelling remotely are dependent on external communications systems regardless of the hosting model in use. Thus, having CRM hosted on a system that offers economy of scale (as well as added robustness) makes sense.
Other services, such as payment processing, e-commerce, etc., also seem to be a natural fit with the cloud. But if you have a manufacturing plant with 200 employees and millions of dollars of equipment that is dependent on shop-floor computer systems for efficient operation, it may not make sense to introduce additional vulnerabilities, such as the state of the internet, into that system.
Ask Your Partner For Help
Uncertain about the right hosting approach? Don’t hesitate to ask your partner to help. A well-informed partner should be able to provide advice on the hosting options best suited for your company, as well as to provide detailed pricing comparisons between those options.