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Migration to Business Central cloud

A major area of focus for many companies running an on-premise version of Business Central and Dynamics NAV is moving to Business Central Online. Microsoft has developed a number of migration tools that make the process both easier and faster.

Migrating to the cloud

For the many companies that currently run their financial system on-premise, that is a local installation, but who want to move their solution to the cloud, it is fortunately relatively easy to migrate to Business Central online.

By making the switch and moving to the cloud, Business Central users achieves a wide range of benefits by integrating with other cloud apps such as Machine Learning, Power BI, Power Automate.

Business Central has a built-in cloud migration tool that supports migration from specific versions of NAV/BC of specific software.

Upgrade or migration

If you want to upgrade your current version of Business Central online, it is your current solution of Business Central / Dynamics NAV that decides which way to go. Due to the nature of online services, in many cases, it will not be actual upgrades but instead just merely migrations, but it all depends on which version you upgrade from.

The basic approach to an upgrade is to import all the existing data into an empty business in a Business Central online tenant.

Data migration

Data migration is the process of securely migrating data from your local SQL Server-instance to your Business Central online tenant. In the migration process, Azure Data Factory (ADF) is used to directly migrate the data between the databases. This means that no permissions are considered within the applications between which you transfer data, only SQL permissions.

Initiation of data migration
In order to be able to migrate your data, it is first and foremost necessary that you complete the guide to assisted setup of Cloud Migration Setup in your Business Central online tenant. Once the wizard is completed and finished, and data migration is enabled, an initial data migration is initiated at the scheduled time. Alternatively, you can initiate the data migration process manually.

Migration on pr. table basis
Your data is migrated between the two systems at per. table basis, and the result, whether it is a success and failure, are tracked for each table. Should the migration of one table fail, the error is captured and the migration is subsequently moved on to the next table until it is completed. If a table cannot be found, it will not be migrated. The same applies if the table does not match the cloud tables and the locally placed tables.

Initial data migration time
The actual initial time of the data migration process can vary depending on a number of different factors, such as your connection speeds, your SQL Server configuration and not least of course the amount of data to be migrated.

Since all data is migrated in the initial part of the migration process, it is also this part of the process that takes the longest time to complete. Once this part of the data transfer is over, only changes in data are migrated and therefore the whole thing should go much faster. It is not necessary to run the migration process more than once, but if you choose to run the migration while users are still using the on-premise system, you must run at least one more migration to ensure that all data has been moved up to the cloud before your online tenant is put into operation.

Upgrade to Business Central from Dynamics NAV

The process of upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Business Central Online is fully supported by Microsoft, but there are a number of factors to consider.

Depending on which version of Dynamics NAV you are upgrading from, and to what extent your solution differs from the standard version, you can prepare your solution for the upgrade in certain areas.

It is only possible to upgrade directly from Dynamics NAV to Business Central from supported versions of Dynamics NAV On-premise and this presupposes that the application customizations are handled by Extensions. Data from tables that are customized with code cannot be transferred from NAV to Business Central.

The process:

  • Upgrade from Dynamics NAV to Business Central using the upgrade tools Microsoft has developed for the purpose
  • Convert all specially designed non-standard functionality and customizations to apps and Extensions
  • Run Microsoft's cloud migration tool. Now you are done and ready to run Business Central Online from now on.

Things to keep in mind when upgrading from Dynamics NAV

Codeunit 1 has been phased out and replaced

Codeunit 1 ApplicationManagement was included in Dynamics NAV. In Business Central, this codeunit has been withdrawn and taken out of service, and new 'system' codeunits have been introduced.

V1 Extensions are discontinued

Extensions V1 are not supported on Business Central On premise. Therefore, all custom V1 Extensions must be converted to V2 Extensions in the old environment before being upgraded to Business Central.

MenuSuite is no longer to be used for page and report search

With Business Central, MenuSuite is no longer used to check whether a page or report can be found in the search function of the web client. This is now determined by specific properties of the page and the report objects. As part of the application code upgrade process, you will need to change these properties on the existing pages and reports used by MenuSuite. This way you ensure that they can still be searched through the web client.


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