Part 6: Multi-tenancy – What does it mean?

Since the 2015 version, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has had the ability to be deployed in a multi-tenanted version. Great! but for the user what does that actually mean?

Well as described in the second post of this series, most Dynamics NAV systems to date are made up of database that contain both a set of objects and the data you input. Multi-tenancy means that objects are in a separate database and are shared across multiple ‘data’ databases.

Each data database is used by a different organisation which can create as many companies as they like within that database as usual. Why the difference? Well when using cloud based Dynamics NAV this makes it much more efficient for the cloud service provider to manage and update multiple subscribers at one time.

So for you as the subscriber it makes no difference except that you share objects with other organisations. That means that they cannot be specifically customised for you so some of the flexibility you have with a classic implementation is gone.

Multi-tenancy is great where you are using an industry specific version of Dynamics that is perfect (or more likely good enough) for you. It means you will get faster updates when the solution publishing partner updates them without additional cost.

Just make sure that you have a option to migrate to a single tenancy solution because what’s right now may not be in five years time and remember once on Dynamics NAV you're in for life as moving off is not something you will want to contemplate! Companies growing out of a templated multi-tenancy solution is something I’ve already seen.

Make sure that your contract when you sign up gives you that option. That might be with a different partner so make sure you have the rights to extract all your data (usually there is a cost attached to this) and be able to use it where you want.

Other than that a multi-tenancy solution is a great way of especially smaller companies getting on a great platform that will sustain their growth up to almost infinite size.


This post is part of a 6-part series. A link to all the posts in this series are below;

Author: James Crowter

I’m passionate about how businesses can improve their efficiency by getting process optimal more of the time. For the last twenty five years I’ve worked to help organisations of all sizes and types implement the ERP & CRM software that typically they decide they need when things are going wrong. I’ve seen that work unbelievably well and enabled those organisations to rapidly grow but I’ve also had some hard projects over that time where it’s felt more like warfare at times. Since 1996 (and version 1.01) I’ve been working with a small Danish product called Navision that’s now become Microsoft’s Dynamics NAV and I’ve also been using and consulting around Microsoft CRM since 2005. As managing Director of one of the longest established first Navision and now Microsoft Dynamics partners I’ve been involved in the complete history including numerous product councils and system design reviews. It’s my privilege to know many of the key Microsoft executives and product designers and have insight into both where the products are now and their future direction. So colleagues & clients have asked me to start this blog to share some of the insight that both this knowledge (obviously where not restricted by NDA’s or client confidentiality) and experience can help. Specifically I want to concentrate not on the specifics of how (there are some great blogs already for that) but why. If any user helps their business make better decisions or consultant can give better advice then that will be objective achieved. I founded Technology Management in 1992 and have led from the front ever since. Helping clients use technology to grow their business is my passion through explaining technology in terms that everyone can understand. My interest in computing began at the age of eight, long before my school had the equipment to cope. Throughout school and university I developed software commercially. I hold many IT certifications, such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV (for over 17 years), Microsoft Dynamics CRM (for over 10 years), as well as Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange and SQL. In October 2015, I was awarded the title of Most Valuable Professional (MVP), a title given to a select few individuals (31 currently) across the world specifically for Dynamics NAV. After years of working with a range of distribution and manufacturing software for hundreds of organisations, I focus on understanding the business requirements of an organisation, what it will take to deliver the systems required to maximise their potential. Follow me online via my other social channels: - Twitter: @jamescrowter - LinkedIn: Or email me directly at james[.]crowter[@]

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