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Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

  • 1.  Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 16 days ago
    Hello,
    My organization is having a meeting today to discuss whether we should go Online to 9.2, or upgrade to 9.0 On-Prem.
    We are currently on 2015 On-Prem.  We have Click Dimensions integrations and will soon be adding a data feed from a 3rd party credentialing software for medical providers/offices.  I feel we need to go Online. I have 10 years' experience in MS Dynamics and I've been online and On-Prem and I know Online is better (am I right?)   Please give me 1 reason why we should go either way.  I'm hoping to get some responses before 2 pm, I value this community and trust you more than anyone in my network.   Tell me why!?    IT needs to be convinced and I'm out of ammo. :)

    ------------------------------
    Tim Dailey
    Sr Marketing CRM Administrator
    Starkey Hearing Technologies
    The CRM Dude (freelance consultant)
    Eden Prairie MN
    ------------------------------
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  • 2.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    MICROSOFT MVP
    Posted 16 days ago
    Hello Tim,
    I would say go online - with online you have an access to latest features available and on-prem contains only the subset of features that were available a year ago.

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    Andrew Butenko
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  • 3.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 16 days ago
    I've administered both and like certain aspects of each. While Online does have benefits, here are some drawbacks in my opinion that should be considered.

    1. Online storage is expensive and ClickD can take up a lot of storage space
    2. Although you get frequent updates and new features, there have been many times where users report breakage and it's because we received a service update that had a new bug
    3. There have been times I've said, "if we were on prem I could..." (and I don't mean unsupported customizations). This is more around direct access to tables and querying and performance tuning.

    ------------------------------
    Andy Arndt
    Minitab, Inc.
    State College PA
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  • 4.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 16 days ago

    Andrew and Andy are both right – the decision of which environment to go to really depends on your risk tolerance AND whether you want to receive all the updates that online has available.  We chose online knowing full well that there is a risk of outage due to shared environment, performance challenges on a shared tenant, and the need to use fetchxml and apis to access any of our data in the cloud. We are a technology company with tens of thousands of servers – so infrastructure/DR/Business continuity weren't concerns (but the costs are always a factor in it).   The benefit of having on-prem is clearly the direct access to tables and the ability to use more advanced join capabilities that SQL offers – plus more ready access to critical information like audit tables.  Another aspect of online that needs factoring in is the tightening that Microsoft has recently embarked on for API limits per user – in a shop like ours where we have thousands of users and a lot of integrations this is about to cause real heartburn for us – something that isn't a factor in an on-prem. Start from the perspective of drawing out the key elements you want to achieve and what your risk tolerance is for each.  Best of luck in your analysis and decision – there is only 1 wrong way to go in this (and that is selecting a CRM other than Dynamics).

     

     

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  • 5.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 15 days ago
    Edited by Jenny Cuevas 15 days ago
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  • 6.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    D365UG/CRMUG ALL STAR
    Posted 15 days ago
    I like to tell people; "You buy electricity off the grid, you put your money in the bank, and computing belongs in the cloud."

    Companies typically don't generate their own electricity nor do they keep their money in a box in their office.  Yet some still seem OK with investing hundreds of thousands in hardware and maintenance, and in many cases still keep this expensive equipment holding millions of dollars worth of data in a closet in their office.  Most companies also don't have an army running security detail on this infrastructure 24/7 like the major cloud providers do.

    In my mind, its a case of when, not if.  I personally have not worked on an on-premise Dynamics CRM project in almost 2 years, and I likely never will again.  Microsoft is releasing an on-premise update next year, but likely will be a few years when they do another.  These releases only have a fraction of features of what is available online.  Last night I spent 20 minutes setting up a virtual agent and added it to a portal.  It would take me days or weeks to do this with on-premise systems.  The future is online.

    I realize there is a mindset shift that needs to happen and a lot don't have that comfort level.  We could easily debate this topic all day.  I think ongoing education and even starting off in hybrid scenarios is a good way to start.

    Check out one my blog posts from last summer on this topic:
    https://readyxrm.blog/2019/06/20/the-microsoft-cloud-briefly-went-down-a-good-reminder-of-why-the-cloud-is-good-thing/

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers
    Nick



    ------------------------------
    Nick Doelman
    Microsoft MVP
    Dynamics 365 Specialist
    Nick Doelman Co.
    ottawa ON
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  • 7.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Tim _ here is our perspective on this as a Microsoft ISV. We provide the Dynamics 365 All-Channel Communications Solution and we do it using Microsoft's Channel Integration Framework (CIF). CIF is only available to D365 Online 9.1 and above and allows us to present the solution seamlessly in  the browser once the user logs into D365. CIF is not available for on-premise. We originally supported our D365 on-premise customers using the integration with our softphone but we no longer support this as the solution delivered using CIF is light years ahead and a much better user experience. So we don't work with any on-premise customers anymore, Microsoft want us to only focus on D365 online. I believe lots of ISV focus has gone the same way so something to consider. thanks Ed

    ------------------------------
    Edward Grant
    COO
    Solgari
    dublin
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  • 8.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    Posted 15 days ago
    We're currently On Prem as well running v8.2, and after Summit last month I really started wondering if we should look at going Online.  After talking to our manager and discussing with our team though I don't foresee us making the leap anytime soon.  Here are the reasons if any of these apply to you:
    • We also use Click Dimensions, and the data stored for it is massive. If you're charged based on this data online then it could get costly - not sure how that works online, but on prem it's not a concern.
    • We have well over 2000 users, so moving online would be a huge licensing hit.
    • Currently we have lots of customizations that hinge on being unsupported, and though we'll have to revamp to move up to v9 either way I like the flexibility we have with on prem to make such customizations as needed to satisfy business needs.  We try to avoid these catches mind you.
    • I came into CRM as a seasoned DBA, so having access to the MS SQL database is something I really don't want to give up.  We never update the CRM database mind you, but I am rather good at troubleshooting our Organization using the various tables plus I have a slew of scripts to help me administer our environment.  I'd hate to loose these though I'm sure I could in time find alternatives if we went online.
    • We still use SSRS, though not heavily it's still there.  
    • Again coming into this as a DBA we've already built a solid and redundant infrastructure for our On Prem environment with four web servers (2 front and 2 back), three SQL Servers (Always On AG), two Report servers (Scale out), two SSIS Servers, etc.  Also we've tested this environment for years in DR testing with great success. 

    To be honest I would love for us to eventually move Online, I think it's inevitable, and I'm sure most partners would have wonderful alternatives to all the above bullet points if we did move online.  For us though On Prem has worked for us, there are few if any pain points, and moving online at least for the near future would bring more issues than I think it would fix.  Everyone's mileage varies and not all these are applicable to all shops...

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    Sam Alexander
    Lead DBA Applications Analyst
    Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
    Waco TX
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  • 9.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    MICROSOFT MVP
    Posted 15 days ago
    @Sam Alexander -- that sounds like an impressive infrastructure you've set up. One single point of failure I would be concerned about is: you. Many organisations don't have such a talented DBA on staff. But what's going to happen if you provide two weeks' notice. Are there three other people in your team who know how everything works?

    I haven't worked with an on-premise deployment since 2014. The infrastructure skills are getting harder to find. Retaining talented staff to maintain older versions of the software is a real challenge for many CIOs.

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    Neil Benson, MVP
    Customery
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    https://customery.com/blog
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  • 10.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    Posted 13 days ago
    @Neil Benson ... In our organization if you create a Venn diagram ​of our group I'd fall into the intersection between our DBA team and our Development team.  I came on as a DBA but moved to the Development side with a focus on integration and CRM which I've slowly learned over the last 6 years.  We have a great team of DBA's and Developers to help support our infrastructure, so if the "hit by a bus" scenario were to happen to me our team would definitely have the skill to keep moving forward.  All of our changes get checked into source control whether it be Services interacting with Dynamics 365, plugins, custom workflows, SSIS processes, UI customization, etc so all the code could be pulled out easily enough.  We also maintain a group in Teams with documentation I try to keep up to date.  This is one big reason why us going online isn't really on the table at the moment as we do have the manpower to maintain what we've built, and with our team having gone through numerous upgrades since we started on CRM v4 I feel like we've got good documentation of pain points and a good cadence for when we're ready to make the jump to the latest and greatest.  For v9 after attending Summit to be honest I did question whether it's worth us maintaining what we have, but after more discussions with our team I think on prem suits us very well which I agree might not be so for smaller shops with a limited IT department.

    ------------------------------
    Sam Alexander
    Lead DBA Applications Analyst
    Texas Farm Bureau Insurance
    Waco TX
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  • 11.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 10 days ago
    A couple of other things to consider....

    1. Functionality - depending what you're looking for, there are some features that are only available online, not on prem. For instance, the new business card scanner, a lot of the new A.I. tools, etc.
    2. Integration Points - We're finding that compared to online, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to integrate on prem installs with other platforms. It requires a lot more time and effort to jump through the hoops with on prem. With CDS in place now, the online world has become very straightforward when it comes to integration.
    3. The upkeep of the infrastructure alone is a headache. We've only got a couple of clients on premise now and speaking from experience, they spend a lot of dollars setting those environments up and keeping them up. We spend no less than two weeks every time we go through an upgrade to stand up new servers, get CRM installed, work out the security kinks, etc. That time and those dollars could've been spent on new features rather than hardware and man hours to get them set up.

    Hope those last few thoughts help!

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    Tricia Desso-Cox
    Managing Director
    C5 Insight
    Charlotte NC
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  • 12.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    D365UG/CRMUG ALL STAR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Hi Tim! I'm seeing this 2 days after your post.... so clearly I've missed weighing in prior to the 2pm meeting. I'm curious - how did it go? Some organizations have some strict on-premise requirements for systems beyond just CRM. Those are typically the ones I see who stay on premise. Also, re: ClickDimensions data - it's always a best practice to set up some sort of data archiving with the data that accumulates (in the form of moving it from CRM to a data warehouse or sorts OR bulk deleting when appropriate).

    ------------------------------
    Heidi Neuhauser
    Director, CRM Projects
    Reenhanced
    Green Lane PA
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  • 13.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Hello all,
    UPDATE:
    We decided to approve our partner's recommendation to go Online!! IT has agreed this is the best choice.
    Thank you all for your input - some points I want to reply to:

    @Heidi Neuhauser - for CD data, I already do bulk deletes on visitors/page views/etc - we will need to add more bulk delete jobs I'm sure.

    @Neil Benson - I agree with your comment about the DBA role being heavily involved, although my IT group wasn't involved with our On-Prem setup, they are curious about Online and wanted to be involved in the upgrade process as I think they are starting to see the move towards cloud makes sense too.

    @Nick Doelman - I'd have to say I will use your quote anytime I hear any dispute against On-Prem from now on, very good!

    @Sam Alexander - thank you - 2,000 users would be a huge licensing hit, but I wonder what savings would be incurred from hardware/staffing to run that machine​​​​. Fortunately our user count is lower than most.

    @Edward Grant - Interesting that you choose not to work with On-Prem orgs - that is very good to know, thank you.​​​

    Again, thank you all for your input. I'm hoping this post gets used in the future for others in the same situation.

    Cheers! - and to the cloud we go!!
    Tim

    ------------------------------
    Tim Dailey
    Sr Marketing CRM Administrator
    Starkey Hearing Technologies
    The CRM Dude (freelance consultant)
    Eden Prairie MN
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  • 14.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    D365UG/CRMUG ALL STAR
    Posted 14 days ago
    WOOHOO! Glad you got the online go ahead! :)

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    Heidi Neuhauser
    Director, CRM Projects
    Reenhanced
    Green Lane PA
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  • 15.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    I see you just got the go-ahead so this is obviously after the fact.  Our Company is most lilely going on-line as well as we embrace "Digital Transformation".  This is going to result in countless hours of code change since we have a very mature development structure in place.

    I like the On-Prem delay because we have more time to prepare for the inevitable "breakage" that will happen with the latest and greatest CRM.

    I am also going to sorely miss running SQL Queries to quickly assess issues within D365.  I probably write 10 to 15 Queries a day to grab chunks of Data from CRM or to define the scope of a problem,  Our team of 7 Developers probably writes 50 to 60 Queries a day.  We also have saved SQL Queries for on-going tests and some of them update CRM through the Sdk on a Daily basis.  Some of these I have already replaced with User Views, and though the "Advanced Find" is getting better, it is still using Fetch for the underlying Queries.  And Fetch has its own limitations.  For instance, you cannot create temporary tables and merge them into your Queries.

    Yes, there will be many cool features we can use, but updates often dump Core Tables and re-create them leaving many of our Customizations "in the dust."  We can work around many of these, I am sure.  But I will no doubt miss what I can do On-Prem.

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    Gerry Yurko
    CRM Developer
    Lightower Fiber Networks
    Boxborough MA
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  • 16.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    MICROSOFT MVP
    Posted 14 days ago
    Moving from on-premise to online, is a great opportunity not just to refactor your code, but redesign legacy parts of your system. Are those features still needed? Could you design them in a better, simpler way? Could you replace those features with a new feature such as a virtual entity, business process flow, PCF component or a canvas app? And when you are looking at the code, ask whether it could be redeveloped as an Azure function or logic app instead of just updating the code to ensure its compliant with the latest CRM SDK.

    And if you love tinkering with the SQL, then I highly recommend deploying the Data Export Service. It'll give you a near real-time replica of your CRM data in a SQL database (or Azure SQL or SQL Server in an Azure VM). This is a good strategy to support business intelligence and archiving your older records from CRM (especially if you generate a high volume of low-value transactional records from ClickDimensions).
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/replicate-data-microsoft-azure-sql-database

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    Neil Benson, MVP
    Customery
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    https://customery.com/blog
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  • 17.  RE: Quick Poll: Online vs. On-Prem

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted 14 days ago
    Tim,
    We currently are On-prem 8.2.7 and will update to On-prem 9 next year. I like the new features offered in Online and I know Microsoft is turning its back on On-prem. However there are reasons we may not go Online (at least any time soon):
    1. Pricing advantage with licensing model for On-prem
    2. Our instance is highly customized with custom entities and in-house built integrations.
    3. When you go Online, you're handing over the steering wheel to Microsoft. You're going where they're going. And if you don't like it, you'd better get out of the car. :)


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    Allison Briden
    Business Systems Analyst
    Energy Trust of Oregon
    Portland OR
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