Microsoft to start previews of on-premises Dynamics 365 for Operations in April

Microsoft is providing three different deployment options -- including an on-premises/local one -- for its Dynamics 365 for Operations release.

Starting next month, Microsoft will begin offering a preview of an on-premises/local version of its Dynamics 365 for Operations ERP product.

Microsoft announced Dynamics 365 for Operations -- a rebranding of Dynamics AX 7 and part of the Enterprise version of its newly combined Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP application bundle -- in July 2016. At that time, officials said Microsoft would continue to offer on-premises versions of its Dynamics CRM and ERP products, but it didn't provide details.

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(Credit: Microsoft)

In November last year, Microsoft officials said users would be able to use Dynamics 365 for Operations in hybrid scenarios. Microsoft christened the on-premises nodes at the edge in this scenario "My Workplace" instances.

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In late February, Microsoft announced plans for another new deployment option, with local business data and processes running totally on-premises, meaning there would be no replication or synchronization of customer business data to the Microsoft cloud. This "off" sync setting also means users can't run embedded Power BI, aggregated views, Azure Machine Learning, or other cloud services against their data. (However, diagnostics, monitoring, usage, telemetry and updates, provided via Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services, still will be on, even if the no-sync option is selected.)

Microsoft's plan is to release both the hybrid and the on-premises versions of Dynamics 365 this summer. In order to obtain the on-premises/local version, customers will need a Dynamics 365 for Operations license with Software Assurance/Enhancement Plan or a subscription model.

Company officials are expected share more about the coming Dynamics 365 for Operations variants at this week's Dynamics 365 Tech Conference in Seattle, Wash.

Sri Srinivasan, general manager for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations, told me in an interview last week that My Workplace is "an appliance," with Microsoft providing all the software and managing it remotely through Lifecycle services.

To me, that sounded a lot like Microsoft's coming Azure Stack "cloud in a box" offering. Srinivasan said the comparison had some merit. He also noted "if a customer is running Azure Stack, we can put our appliance on it," though Windows Server is a requirement for My Workplace.

He said of all the Dynamics 365 modules, Operations is the one that had the most immediate requirements for a local/on-premises capability.

"This is definitely a blueprint for other modules of Dynamics 365," he said.

When Microsoft launched Dynamics AX last year, the latest AX release was a built-from-the-ground-up Azure cloud service. At the time of its launch, officials said any on-premises use of Dynamics AX would require Azure Stack.

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