Cloud vs. Azure & Multi-Tenacy

Ok, so if you've landed on this page, I asume that you have read my previous two blog posts about Azure and CfMD. If not, please do so, since it will clarify the reason of this post.

Microsoft annouced earlier this year that all of its ERP product will be cloud enabled in the next major release.

And they did. It works.

Or no... they did not, it does not work as they prommised it would work. Microsoft also promissed it would be Multi-Tenacy.

"The next major releases of Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL will be developed to run on Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud development platform that's been available for a year, Tatarinov said, beginning with the next version of Dynamics NAV that's due in 2012. The applications will support multi-tenancy, he said."

So I confused you. I did, didn't I. Well, I would be confused if these terms were unfamiliar. So let's talk about these terms and hopefully you understand what I mean and the difference in impact for Dynamics NAV customers and partners.

Cloud vs. Azure

Ok, so I asume that you all heard about the cloud. This "thing" that replaces your local hard drives and allows you so save data "somewhere" and use application without them residing on your system. This is the cloud as it is offered by Google, Amazon and loads of other smaller and local it infrastructure businesses.

In the cloud you can also "rent" a virtual machine. This is an online alternative for buying a server and install it localy in your office. You get the same functionality without the hassle of the physical machine.

Microsoft also offers this on Azure. Or so they will since it seems not to be released yet.

But Azure is more than just a Virtual Machine on the internet. Azure is an amazing technology about scalability.

I heard about Azure and its possibilities first when I visited TechDays Sweden some years ago with Waldo. Azure allows you to run online services that have their own communication protocols and scalability technology.

This is based on webroles and workerroles.

The webrole listens to the user requests that are processed by workerroles. The cool thing about this and what makes it different from normal windows services is that they scale automatically.

The most commonly used example about azure by Microsoft is a ticketing system. Let's say for example an event like NavTechDays starts selling tickets tomorrow morning at 8am. We have 600 tickets available. We expect them to be sold out within one hour. In a normal situation we would need to install hardware that can handle this level of requests just for one hour. Azure will handle this for you and scale out when nessesairy and slow down when not needed. You only pay for what you need and you don't worry about the HW.


Ok, so that was an extreme crash course on Azure. Now let's talk Multi Tenacy. This is what Wiki says:

"Multitenancy refers to a principle in software architecture where a single instance of the software runs on a server, serving multiple client organizations (tenants). Multitenancy is contrasted with a multi-instance architecture where separate software instances (or hardware systems) are set up for different client organizations. With a multitenant architecture, a software application is designed to virtually partition its data and configuration, and each client organization works with a customized virtual application instance."

Reading this definition hopefully explains why the entire ERP world suddenly started to watch the next release of Dynamics NAV. In NAV words this means running more than one customer on one solution and one database.

Having read my previous article about CfMD and listening to our PRS presentations, this is definately not something that the NAV partners are ready for. AT ALL!!


Imagine, just imagine, what this would do from a repeatability viewpoint. Allowing a customer to just hop on in an existing infrastructure environment. No installation, no discussion about customisations. However this means that the application must be solid and reusable.


No doubt the opportunities of a technology like this is gigantic. Customers who nowadays cannot afford an ERP solution like NAV because of infrastructure and implementation costs are suddenly potential buyers.

Cloud Enabled

So what do we have in NAV 2013?

NAV 2013 is, just like NAV2009R2, completely cloud enabled, meaning you can run it on a hosted solution outside of your active directory (Which is something you don't have in the cloud).

In NAV2013 we also have a great WebClient that makes it even easier to run NAV in the cloud and you can use Google ID for example to authenticate. We also have the possibilty to use the good old NAV Users like we had in the classic client.

Azure & Multi-Tenacy

This is something we did not get (yet I hope).

However, even if we did, I doubt that NAV partners are ready for it. With so many registered "solutions" I doubt that partners are ready for repeatable solutions. 


I should have known better, but I was naive. My very short blog post was blown up within a day and all over the internet. It does not contain any secrets but in my opinion it definately needed clarifying.

Hopefully this blog post did. I'm looking forward to a bright repeatable future and trust that partners after this are more prepared for it than ever.

Comment List
  • in NAV 2013 cloud deployment, can the database backups be copied to a local server that is not on the cloud?

  • in NAV 2013 cloud deployment, can the database backups be copied to a local server that is not on the cloud?

  • so..

    NAV7 is or isn't ready to have the services on AzureVM(yes) and his SQL on AzureSQL?. We stopped here.

    to have a domain with NAV (webclient and services and sql) on AzureVM is ok, but it isn't the goal.

  • Tarek, thank you for sharing your opinion. With PRS we have been pushing Microsoft into this direction for the last 12 months. We even had the opportunity to share our ideas at MDCC in Vedbaek.

    Let's see where this leads us.

  • In order to enable "repeatability"  I guess that Microsoft will need to provide an architecture for handling NAV PlugIn, It's going to be the only way to provide reliable, easily reusable Plug&Play Addon.

    There will be a lot of technical challenge to overcome,

    ie : many add-on require modification of the base Application (ie : Table36, 37, CU80)

    Currently a merge is needed to get the whole she-bang working.

    That's why I guess Microsoft might go the PlugIn route :

  • Thank you, a very good conclusion to the current situation!