Updated: Oct 1, 2019
In this week's podcast we discuss Microsoft Azure and popular bells and whistles associated with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure is a cloud computing service.
What is Cloud Computing?
Well, in previous years businesses would host their own infrastructure. They would purchase a web server or email server that was on its own hardware. If the business was growing and needed more power they would have to purchase more server hardware. Not only was/is the hardware costly businesses would then have to pay someone to administer that hardware and someone to setup a solid internet connection. Cloud computing works differently because you are paying a monthly fee to use some specific hardware in someone else’s data center such as Microsoft. By doing this you can host web servers, email servers, file storage systems, databases, virtual machines, and basically anything that you want. For us, for example, a lot of our customers are using Microsoft Azure to host Microsoft Dynamics NAV in a private cloud environment.
What’s the Point?
Well, up-front costs a lot less when using cloud computing because your initial investment doesn’t include having to build your own data center. So you save by not having to purchase hardware and staff for it.
There’s no worry of whether or not you bought enough hardware or spent extra money on too much hardware.
This is because with Azure you can scale up or down the amount of power you need as your need it. So if you are a summertime business that scales down say 90% in winter you can decrease your cloud computing consumption and save money.
What Services Does Microsoft Azure Provide?
Microsoft Azure provides hundreds of servers. Everything from backups to virtual machines to Dynamics NAV hosting to file storage. Check out the Azure website for a directory of everything provided.
Is there anything Microsoft Azure Can’t Do?
Simply put, not really. If there’s something Azure doesn’t offer you can setup a Linux or Windows virtual machine that hosts the software you want to use.
How many Data Centers does Microsoft Have?
Currently they have 36 with a couple more in the process of opening and I believe Microsoft will be the first organization to have a Data Center in Africa.
Top 3 Reasons to Make the Change to Azure (In No Particular Order)
Flexibility – The ability to scale your needs up or down.
Cost – No upfront costs for in house data centers.
Disaster Recovery – Information is stored at multiple Microsoft Data Centers that are highly secured.
What’s New Segment
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Container Sandbox Environment
Business Central has a very interesting hidden feature that you can find by running the Sandbox Environment (Container). From here you can setup a container-based sandbox that can be Azure hosted or locally hosted. This will allow you to develop with Visual Studio Code and AL connected to your computer.
Most Popular Bells and Whistles
Allows you to accept payments from all your sales channels.
Favorite Product: Chargelogic Payments – which is a credit card and payment processing software that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics.
Jet Reports [Link to Podcast]
Fast, Flexible Business Intelligence and Reporting Solutions Inside of Excel.
Favorite Product: Jet Enterprise
Microsoft Power BI
Favorite Product: Visual Dashboards – ability to see your data in a visual way that is second to none.
Provides the tools for your business to increase operational productivity.
Favorite Product: Shop Floor Data Collection – This gives you barcoded time capture, time and attendance, and employee time management.
Integrated eCommerce Solutions
Favorite Product: eShop for NAV – 100 integrated with NAV tools to deliver consistent, attractive and personalized shopping and service experiences on each and every device.
Software to help you escape from paper-based processes.
Favorite Product: Zetadocs for NAV – Manage travel and business expenses, automate delivery of documents such as invoices or statements, and enable quick and easy document capture, storage and retrieval using Office 365 or network folder archives.
Ability to add fields in Dynamics 365 for Financials
Ability to customize the role center layout in Dynamics 365 for Financials