Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (BC) is marketed for use by either a small business or a big business. Therefore, it's feasible that people have been swayed into believing one or the other. In addition to this marketing you might have heard it's not possible BC can handle large customers. Well, let's put all these rumors to bed. BC is capable of handling large customers.
Microsoft's definition of a big business using Business Central
Currently, Microsoft does not define exactly what a big business is for BC. A large business could be defined by a lot of things such as number of users, size of their database, multiple software programs utilizing Microsoft API calls, the amount of Sales Orders posted per day, number of lines on a sales order, or really anything else. The key takeaway is it doesn't matter to Microsoft. All that matters is the amount of resources a business is using. Moreover, Microsoft understands that we like hard numbers and encourages partners to do more testing upfront if a customer meets or exceeds any of the following:
Records in Tables
1,000 User Table Records
800,000 Sales Invoice Header Tables
3,500,000 Item Ledger Entry Tables
17,000,000 G/L Entry Tables
400 GB or more
160 GB migrated from an on-premise environment to the cloud using the migration tool
Browser Interactions (such as opening a page, closing a page, opening a new tab, etc.)
23 per second
385,000 in one day
Web service calls (API, SOAP, OData)
5,700 in one minute
2,700,000 in one day
6,000 sales orders posted in one day.
3,300 lines on one Sales Order
How Microsoft handles a big business using Business Central
A big business (all businesses really) using Business Central get an Azure database at signup. Microsoft then creates a compute tier with a intelligent Load Balancer within this Azure database. The compute tier includes a cluster comprised of 5 virtual machines. As your BC program begins to utilize more resources from Microsoft the intelligent Load Balancer begins to balance the load and auto-scale BC.
What is an intelligent Load Balancer? The Load Balancer sees the request from BC for more resources, analyzes the CPU load usage of the virtual machines within the cluster, and then places your system into a virtual machine that has low usage. For example, Let's assume that your cluster has a single virtual machine for BC, Power BI, Microsoft 365, and D365 Sales. Let's also assume your cluster is running above Microsoft's recommended usage number. The Load Balancer recognizes this and immediately transfers BC (or a different software program) to another virtual machine within your cluster to decrease the previous virtual machines usage. This keeps the BC software in your cluster located in your compute tier running at peak performance greater than 99% of the time.
The Load Balancer begins the process of balancing the load through auto-scaling when the virtual machine reaches 60% of it's load usage. The 60% mark is relatively low for this process to begin because it's a seamless process that happens within seconds and is unnoticed by the BC user 99% of the time. That being said, I commend Microsoft for this 60% mark because it's assuring that the virtual machine will most likely never hit 100% usage.
What happens if all 5 virtual machines are at 60% or higher usage?
If a big business using Business Central has all 5 of the virtual machines within their cluster at 60% or higher usage, the Load Balancer will automatically create a 6th, 7th, or as many virtual machines needed to reduce the demand of usage to below 60%.
What if the compute tier is not the problem?
If the compute tier is not the issue Microsoft automatically looks to the Azure Database. All Azure databases have a certain capacity that Microsoft monitors. This capacity within the Azure database includes CPU, Data IO, Log Write, and Max Worker. If the database usage reaches 80% of the capacity, Microsoft considers this overloaded and automatically increases it's size. The result is lower database usage.
A big business that wants to use Business Central as their ERP software should have no more issues than a small business using BC as their ERP software. Microsoft does not differentiate between a 1 user business using BC and 1000 user business using BC. Their storage capabilities are exactly the same.