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Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Cloud, what it all means and how it applies to Microsoft Dynamics AX

The ERP world is changing rapidly due to to cloud implementations as there are big differences in implementing and running the business in the cloud versus on-premise.

There is a lot of talk about what IaaS, PaaS and SaaS can offer a company, but these are never well described, and I have seen a lot of people being confused about what each of these actually means / does for a company.

Today I read a nice short description of the benefits you get with applying IaaS, PaaS, SaaS that I wanted to share:

  • IaaS - Infrastructure as a service. This allows for the sharing of raw computing power and storage, including such pieces as databases, rules engines, processing power and other infrastructure capabilities. With cloud these can be accessed and leveraged on an “as needed” basis. Similar to the power grid, you pay for what you use. IaaS is what the corporate IT department needs to enable your day-to-day tools to operate with reliable and fast response
  • PaaS - Platform as a service. This allows developers to access tools to create their own applications. The building blocks are made available by the software vendors to provide a jump start on development. PaaS is what your supply chain IT support or third party consultants use to create customized workflows or tools specific to your needs
  • SaaS - Software as a service. The business process application (“solution” in vendor-speak) layer in the cloud. Users can rent applications on a per use basis to tackle specific business issues. SaaS is what you log on to use without any customization.

The current version of AX, released under the codename "AX 7", provides infrastructure and platform as a service, and you could say software as a service for many of the small and medium businesses. Partners have been active filling the gap with their custom solutions available through the Microsoft AppStore.

Note Historically AX has been a favored development platform so many would buy it with the purpose of customizing the logic to match the exact needs of the business, instead of attempting to configure it "the right way" and adjust their business processes. In my opinion that hinders the adoption of AX 7 a bit, as it made it a bit more difficult to re-tailor it as they see fit.

With future releases of AX, I'd expect to see Microsoft converge more and more into providing a rich business SaaS offering. I am excited to see how much closer the release of Dynamics 365 will bring us to this goal.

What's your opinion? Do you agree with the definitions above and how they apply to AX?

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