Thursday, March 23, 2017
In this series of blog posts, we will dive deeper into the features that ensure a customer’s efficiency when using a NAV solution on Microsoft Azure. This blog will analyze the infrastructure backup processes by comparing two deployment alternatives.
Why Have Dynamics NAV on Azure Backups?
When a Dynamics NAV solution is deployed on Microsoft Azure, sufficient NAV backups are critically significant to ensure security of the data. There are four main purposes for Dynamics NAV backups:
- To recover data if it was corrupted. If a database was corrupted by implementing some code or data changes, database backup recovery would be used to find out the occurred error, the causes and the means to resolving the error.
- To recover data if it was lost or deleted. If the data was lost or somebody deleted the database by mistake, the database backup would be used to recover the NAV solution software database and code.
- To recover data from an earlier time. If something happens to the Dynamics NAV software data, or there is a need to look back at data from a certain time, the database backup would be used to identify the data state that was active during a specific time.
- To save long-term data. If company policies require that all the company transactions data should be accumulated for a period of time, company may face a constraint with the size of the database. Usually, if the detailed 10-year-old data is not needed, but the main indicators and data history must be kept, then the data is compressed. Before compressing the data, the backup of all the historical data is performed and secured.
Going It Alone: Building Your Own Infrastructure
If one chooses to go directly with Microsoft Azure and build its own infrastructure, it is very important to set adequate backup goals, strategy, monitoring and validation processes.
- Backup Objectives. Before defining the backup objectives, one should clarify the following questions: how important is your NAV database? How often should NAV backups be done and validated? How long should NAV backups be kept?
To answer to those questions, the most important task is to set a tolerable period of data loss. How much data loss would be tolerable, whether it would be tolerated to lose data for 1 month, for half of the day or for 5 minutes. There are many different options how database backup objectives can be set. For example, backups can be done once a day and saved for one week, etc.
By identifying the frequency of backups, it is very important to mention that the higher level of backups frequency influence the higher load on the NAV infrastructure. The risk is that there is a possibility of deteriorating NAV performance. For example, if one decided to perform a full database backup every 2 minutes, it should be considered that this might damage NAV performance dramatically.
- Backup process investment. It is also very important to think about the resources to invest in building a reliable backup processes. The financial costs have a direct cause/effect relationship on the decisions made about data loss tolerance and the frequency of backups. The more frequent backup processes are set; the more complex and more expensive backups will be. What is more, for the efficient backup procedures, it is highly recommended to automate backup processes as much as possible. However, backup automatization yields a high cost for initial investment, which should be also considered.
- Backup types. It is necessary to define whether database backups would be enough or virtual machine backups would be needed as well. Virtual machine backups require different tools, rules and tolerance comparing to database backup processes. Usually virtual machine backups are performed to ensure faster software recovery as well as to be prepared for the possible disaster recovery.
- Backup tools. When a certain back up strategy is set, the tools required to perform those backups should be specified and thoroughly tested. Which means, time, energy and funds must go into developing or purchasing tools to ensure the timeliness and quality of the database backups. The price of these tools highly depends on how much these tools automate backup processes, how quickly and effectively these tools make or restore data copies, as well as what kind of storage capabilities these tools provide.
- Backup storing location. There are some considerations around the NAV database backup storage location that you should keep in mind. Will you be using the same server for your backups that is used for running your NAV installation?
This is a very risky, as keeping the NAV database backups and its copies on the same server, means in the case of a hardware disaster all data will be lost. A quick solution to this dilemma are Microsoft Azure datacenters.
Microsoft's Azure datacenters are superior to today’s on premise servers because the NAV on Azure backups are kept in a total of six Microsoft Azure server locations. The Microsoft Azure datacenter where the database backup is stored, as standard, replicates into three server locations, while the other three copies of the NAV on Azure database backup are stored on another Microsoft Azure datacenter, which is placed at a distance not less than 400 miles away. Therefore, the probability that all the data backups be lost or damaged is very minimal. If something breaks down in one data center, the NAV on Azure database backup will be available in the another one.
- Backup verification processes. Finally, it is very important to check whether the backups can be restored. Such step is not an easy one, but it is one of the most significant tasks that should be performed periodically. If not done and monitored regularly, there is a possible risk to losing data if there is a serious problem with the NAV database and making the database recovery impossible because of poor backup monitoring processes.
Better Together: Collaboration with 1ClickFactory
For sufficient NAV solution deployments on Microsoft Azure datacenters processes, many companies prefer collaborating with a hosting provider as it enables them to respond more quickly to technology demands and avoid the associated risks of building their own cloud infrastructure. For the matter of fact, one of the risks is to ensure that back up processes on Microsoft Azure are managed properly.
If one decides to collaborate with an experienced hosting provider, then there is no need to worry about NAV on Azure backup strategy, monitoring and validation processes. The success of hosting vendors, including 1ClickFactory as well, who are providing Dynamics NAV on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, highly depends on ensuring that NAV on Azure data is secured, the solution is optimally performing and sufficient backup management processes are in place and checked regularly.
1ClickFactory offers a Self-Provisioning for NAV on Azure service, which is an automated platform that offers a subscription, fixed per-user-per month pricing, and allows quick and secure implementation of any Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution, with any customizations, on Microsoft Azure, all while minimizing risks associated with Azure’s utility billing.
Click here to find out more about the 1ClickFactory Self-Provisioning for NAV on Azure service or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 1ClickFactory Cloud team is ready to support you with any questions you may have!