The Path to the Cloud: Why It Might Be Time to Migrate Dynamics GP or Dynamics NAV to Azure
There has never been a better time to host Dynamics GP or Dynamics NAV in Azure or consider upgrading to a cloud-based ERP system.
In Part 1 of this two-part series, we focused on where to start when considering moving your GP environment to the cloud and how Microsoft and Stoneridge Software can help you get there. In Part 2, we will focus on explaining why it’s time to make the move or seriously start considering it.
“How Will Hosting Dynamics GP or Dynamics NAV in Azure Help My Business?”
At the end of the day, this is the main question you should consider, and there are several great reasons:
- Upcoming server replacements or hardware failures – Moving to the cloud eliminates these worries, especially if your servers are already failing or need to be replaced
- Variables vs Fixed Server Costs – Are you interested in a big up-front cost of purchasing physical servers or being on a payment plan that charges interest? Or would it be easier for you to pay a fixed monthly cost by hosting in Azure? Think about what makes sense for your business financially
- Future expansion – Azure is instantly scalable if you decide to hire more staff, expand your environment, or make your drive work faster. It eliminates the need for buying new servers or hard drives and it's scalable back down if you need it to be. The kicker is you can utilize this scalability with the click of a button
- Modern Platform Enablement – Hosting in Azure gives you access to cloud applications that let you integrate your ERP system with outside solutions with the click of a button. This process that could take weeks or months if you are hosting GP/NAV on-premise
- Data Backup and Disaster Recovery – Azure stores your data in a secure environment and will restore automatically if the worst-case scenario happens. This means you don’t need to backup your data on multiple physical servers or have to call IT and go through a lengthy manual restoring process. Additionally, Stoneridge Software’s Technology Services department will test your backups regularly and report on how they are working
It's important to remember, it’s OK to take baby steps. You don’t have to make a big move all at once.
Moving to the Cloud Ensures Sustained Support
Microsoft is shifting on-premise Dynamics GP to a Modern Lifecycle policy for support and service. Despite some rumors to the contrary, GP isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider upgrading.
Your version of Dynamics GP has a support plan for 10 years from its go-to-market release date. The first five years are known as “Mainstream Support”. You can submit support tickets, use new features developed by the product team, and have access to new products and patching. The second five years are known as “Secondary Support.” During this stage, you can still submit support tickets, but the products team will no longer provide any new features or hotfixes. At the end of the 10 years, you will be off of support.
Determine the Stage of Support Your Dynamics GP or Dynamics NAV is At
If you are using GP 2013, 2015, or 2016, you are well into your Secondary Support stage and should be thinking about an upgrade to Dynamics 365 Business Central or moving your GP environment to Azure right away.
If you are using GP 2018, Mainstream Support ends in 2023, so an upgrade or move to the cloud is something to consider over the next few months.
All versions of GP will be on Secondary Support soon, which means upgrading or hosting it on Azure are two options you should be considering.
For Dynamics NAV, all versions are off mainstream support with the exception of NAV 2018, which ends on January 10, 2023. While some remain on extended support for the foreseeable future, switching to the cloud or upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central ensures you are supported for a very long time.
Physical Servers: The Elephant in the Room
Bulky servers take up valuable space in your office that could be used as more desk space for new employees, or perhaps a new and modern break room where your staff can take a break from the stress of work. Regardless of what you could do with the space, your servers follow an identical lifecycle policy and need to be replaced at some point.
Windows and Microsoft SQL servers are the two main servers our clients use. Please reference the information below to see what kind of support you are on.
- Windows 2008 – You are out of Mainstream and Extended Support
- Windows 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017 - You’re in Extended Support and should be thinking about an upgrade
- Windows 2019 – Mainstream Support ends in January 2024, so you should be thinking about an upgrade sooner rather than later
Microsoft SQL Server:
- SQL 2008 – You are out of Mainstream and Extended Support
- SQL 2012 or 2016 – You are in Extended Support and should be thinking about an upgrade
At the end of the day, moving Dynamics GP or Dynamics NAV to Azure or upgrading to a cloud-based system like D365 Business Central will help your organization grow. It’s important to ensure your users are involved in creating an environment and situation that is good for them. Plus, they might have some great ideas on how to optimize your solutions.
If you want to start the conversation about moving to the cloud, please contact us about getting a copy of the Azure Migration Questionnaire and get in touch with us! We are excited to help you on your path to the cloud.