Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Wrap Up
It's been fun trying to get Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client to run on Azure. The bottom line is Windows Azure offers a very compelling deployment case for organizations running their applications (SaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) in the cloud.
While many Azure platform features are still in Preview mode, I can say unequivocally that what's there works very well - too well, indeed. I had a few hiccups and I had to drop and recreate some VMs a few times, but I attribute that to the fact that I wasn't too aware of some of the feature settings. Also, a great deal had to do with the fact that my environment was running in free trial mode.
I also found that VMs tend to be a bit undersized on Azure. For example, a "Large" VM is 4 cores + 7GB in ram, which leads me to believe that the Azure platform is more geared towards lightweight applications than heavy, user-driven, business applications. Maybe I am making the wrong assumption here, but a decent size Dynamics GP deployment, involving 50+ users, may need up to 4 web servers and 4 session hosts to minimize any performance impact due to high user volume versus provisioned hardware capabilities.
Overall, the installation of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Web Client wasn't without its head scratching moments. For example, certificates need to be switched to server public DNS names. While I got the Web Client up and running with the private DNS names, making the switch to public DNS for the certificates proved to be a task requiring reinstallation of the Session Service portion of the web client on the session host machine - changing the certificate for the IIS web site proved fairly simple.
Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun working on this "mini-project" so I leave you with a link to each of the articles I wrote on the subject:
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Subscription Process
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: Provisioning Process
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 on Windows Azure: The Deployment Process
In closing notes, Azure provides a serious deployment option for middle market organizations looking for a serious infrastructure hosting partner. The deployment procedures for Microsoft Dynamics GP are no different than those for an on-premise or hosted network, however proper security planning goes a long way to ensure your financial data is highly secure. Still, more documentation on the Azure installation process is required, and I know it is being worked on as I type.
A big thank you goes out to Daryl Anderson, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft for all his guidance and assistance troubleshooting some of the difficulties I experienced during this effort. Daryl continues to work tirelessly to document the entire implementation process.
Until next post!
Mariano Gomez, MVP