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Microsoft Lets Partners Deploy Dynamics ERP on Windows Azure

Two of Microsoft's enterprise resource planning (ERP) products, Dynamics GP 2013 and Dynamics NAV 2013, can now be purchased as Windows Azure-hosted services through partners.

"[S]tarting today Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV customers can take advantage of easy-to-use, quick-to-implement business solutions from Microsoft with the added benefit of knowing their solution is hosted on secure, enterprise-class cloud infrastructure from a trusted provider," wrote Microsoft Dynamics ERP Senior Director Paul White in a blog post Tuesday.

Microsoft first announced its intent to enable cloud-hosted versions of its Dynamics ERP products, starting with NAV 2013, in its 2011 Convergence conference. However, NAV 2013 was released last fall without the Windows Azure-hosted version; at the time, Microsoft said it was still "fine-tuning deployment scenarios and creating prescriptive guidance for deploying NAV on Windows Azure."

At its most recent Convergence conference in March, Microsoft told attendees that it would make Windows Azure-hosted versions of GP and NAV available through partners in June, followed eventually by Dynamics AX.

The announcement on Tuesday means Microsoft's Dynamics partners can deploy cloud-based GP and NAV for their customers via Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, which launched in April, bringing long-promised Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities to Microsoft's public cloud platform.

"This means your solution can now be hosted in a secure, private cloud on a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. End users can access the solution using Web or desktop clients, either from the office or on the go using mobile devices," White said.

White emphasized that Microsoft is not bypassing partners and switching to a direct-sales model by enabling Windows Azure-hosted versions of its Dynamics line.

"Microsoft Dynamics GP and NAV continue to be available only through our partners, and not direct from Microsoft," he wrote. "This is because we remain deeply committed to the industry and regional expertise our partners bring to every customer engagement, and to giving our customers the broadest possible range of choices in terms of partner selection, pricing and licensing, deployment options, hosting providers and more."

According to White, Microsoft has been working with both partners and end user customers "over the past several months" to test the Windows Azure-deployed versions.

One early-adopter partner is Denmark-based Abakion, a Microsoft CRM and Dynamics NAV consulting firm. In a blog post on Microsoft's Dynamics ERP blog, Abakion CEO and Founder Kenneth Kryger Gram reported "some very positive results" for his company and its customers since Abakion began hosting NAV on Windows Azure. Customers experienced improved scalability, faster deployments and up to 70 percent lower operational costs, he said.

The next Dynamics ERP product to be enabled for Windows Azure hosting will be AX, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

"The company expects to deliver the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics AX in the cloud on Windows Azure and on-premises with early adoption programs commencing in 2014," according to the spokesperson. An update for Dynamics AX 2012 is also expected later this year, though based on Microsoft's statements at Convergence, that update will mainly be focused on delivering new mobile device apps.

Microsoft did not give a timeframe for when Dynamics SL will get Windows Azure-hosting capabilities.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the Senior Site Producer for RCPmag.com.

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