About the cloud

Along time ago (nov 2011) I wrote a 5 parts blog post about the cloud, now reading that again, I can’t find something to change my point of view. Cloud is a very expensive way of work, maybe because the cloud is not my computer, is another guy computer.

A few months ago, one of the projects is going to go live and the customer´s technical leader and I made a technical design for the new deployment. We´re talking about 70 -75 concurrent users with at least 5 remote offices, 15 companies with purchase, warehouse, assembly, sales and financial transactions. We are going to deploy Dynamics NAV 2015 with SQL 2014.

Somebody talks something about the “cloud” and everything goes to a new level, a “cloud & azure” partner comes to the scene. It was very funny to see what followed.

That partner sends their “deployment” proposal:

  • AD Server on Azure A2 3.5 GB RAM
  • 1 NAV server on Azure A3 7 GB RAM
  • 1 SQL server on Azure A4 14 GB RAM

They talked about VPNs from physical sites to servers, 20×100,000 storage transactions and 500 GB for data transfer

We laugh a lot and we commented that if he could make a little more realistic scenario.

After that he send a new proposal:

  • AD Server on Azure A2 3.5 GB RAM
  • 1 NAV server on Azure A4 14 GB RAM
  • 1 SQL server on Azure D4 28 GB RAM

As you can see, the proposal only changes a little. Next he sends the third version:

  • AD Server on Azure A2 3.5 GB RAM
  • 1 NAV server on Azure A4 14 GB RAM
  • 1 SQL server on Azure D3 28 GB RAM

And they talked about a growth of 30 users in 2 years (we have 70 users license so we going to have 70 users in the go live, not in 2 years).

When we talked with the partner about our concerns, they say, “everything is going to run fast because we are going to us the NAV server as Remote Desktop Server to give the users the best experience”. More and more laughs. I asked them about the printing problem, the delay when you print, the problem with the UPD of windows server, they had an answer “don’t worry, we can use citrix”, the customer responds “and who is gonna pay for the citrix licenses?”. An awkward silence on the line.

Finally, the customer says thanks and throw the papers in the trash can.

What we finally install??

  • A Dell Server with 256 GB RAM
  • 6 Virtual servers with Hyper V
  • AD Server, electronic invoicing.
  • 1 SQL server with 64 GB RAM and 8 Cores
  • 2 NAV server with 64 GB RAM and 2 cores each (runs LAN instances with windows auth and certificate auth for external access).
  • The SQL has 4 partitions (OS, SQL, Datafile, logfile) all in SSD.
  • 1 backup server with SQL and NAV
  • And in an old physical server a secondary domain controller with a copy of the SQL for backup too.

The server cost was around the half of the azure investment for 2 years and the sizing was designed for 5 years.

There is no complains of slowness by the users.

We have access to NAV with certificates and now we can run in NAV Client, Web Client and Tablet Client.

There are no printing problems (we only use terminal server to manage the servers).

I scheduled a daily maintenance in the SQL server.

What we can learn from this?

  1. Look for a partner who has real experience deploying Dynamics NAV. Not all the azure and cloud partners has the experience or the knowledge to make this well.
  2. Remember and always remember, talking about NAV, SQL and memory, more and bigger it´s better.
  3. Like with the doctor, always look for a second opinion.
  4. Read the small letters (storage transactions ans data transfer).
  5. Learn about new Dynamics NAV technologies (Certificates, webclient, phone client).
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