FAQ about Migrating to Business Central Online from On-Premises Solutions

This section contains answers to frequently asked questions about migrating from on-premises solutions to Business Central online.

Tip

Check the tips in this article if your organization is not yet ready to migrate to Business Central online but are thinking hard about it. For more information about migration, see Migrate On-Premises Data to Business Central Online.

Which products and versions are supported?

You can use the built-in migration tools to migrate data to Business Central online from specific product versions. The on-premises solution must use SQL Server 2016 or a later version, and the database must have compatibility level 130 or higher. Currently, you can migrate to Business Central online from the following products:

  • Dynamics GP 2015 and later versions

  • Business Central on-premises

    Currently, you can migrate to Business Central online from the earlier versions 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18. For an indication of compatibility across minor versions, see here. You can also switch to online from the current version (19).

If you are currently on a version of Dynamics NAV, you must upgrade to Business Central on-premises, and then switch to Business Central online. For more information, see Upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Business Central online.

System requirements

To migrate to Business Central online, the on-premises solution must use SQL Server 2016 or a later version, and the database must have compatibility level 130 or higher. The on-premises solution must also be one of the supported versions.

For comparison, see the System Requirements for Dynamics 365 Business Central (on-premises) 2021 Release Wave 1 and subsequent versions.

How is my on-premises data migrated to my Business Central online tenant?

Data is migrated using an Azure service called Azure Data Factory (ADF). ADF is a service that is always running within the Business Central online service manager. When you start the cloud migration, a data pipeline is created in the ADF service so that data can flow from your on-premises solution to your Business Central online tenant. If your data source is a local SQL Server instance, you will also be asked to configure a self-hosted integration runtime (SHIR). The runtime is installed locally and manages the communication between the cloud services and your on-premises data without opening any ports or firewalls.

Are there any limits on the amount or type of data that will migrate?

There are no restrictions on the type of data that can be migrated. In the current version of Business Central, the migration tool is by default limited to migrate databases up to 80 GB. If your database is larger than 80 GB, we recommend that you reduce the number of companies that you are migrating data for. You can specify which companies to include in the migration in the assisted setup wizard.

If you want to add more companies after the first selection of companies, you can add additional companies in the Cloud Migration Management page in Business Central online. For more information, see Adding a tenant to an existing runtime service, or updating companies.

If you are looking at migrating databases larger than 80 GB, we recommend that you contact the support team and work with them to make sure that the migration is successful.

Is my SQL connection string required to set up the connection?

Yes. The SQL connection string is passed to Azure Data Factory, where it is encrypted and delivered to your Self-Hosted Integration Runtime. The connection string is used to communicate with your SQL Server instance during the data replication process. For more information, see How do I find my SQL connection string?.

How do I find my SQL connection string?

Find the connection string to your SQL database in SQL Management Studio or Visual Studio. The user name and password defined in the connection requires a SQL Authenticated user name/password. Your connection string will look something like this:

Server=tcp:{ServerName},1433;Initial Catalog={DatabaseName};Persist Security Info=False; User ID={UserName};Password={Password};MultipleActiveResultSets=False;Encrypt=True;TrustServerCertificate=True;Connection Timeout=30;

How do I find the Integration Runtime name?

Find the Integration Runtime name in the Microsoft Integration Runtime Manager, which you can find in your Windows system tray or by searching for the program. You must type the name. You will not be able to copy and paste the name.

I am a hosting partner - do I need to configure the Self-Hosted Runtime Service for each tenant?

No, there is no limit on the number of tenants that can be added to your Self-Hosted Integration Runtime. Each added tenant will have a dedicated pipeline created.

Will data from tables with code customizations migrate?

No, only tables that are available in both your on-premises solution and your Business Central online tenant will migrate. Any customization must be made into an extension and installed on both your on-premises solution and your Business Central online tenant to replicate.

Why are my permissions restricted in the Business Central online tenant?

When you connect your on-premises solution to Business Central online as part of the migration, all existing users are automatically added to the Intelligent Cloud user group, unless they have the SUPER permission set. In this configuration, your on-premises solution is the master where all business transactions take place. The Business Central online environment is read-only, and the data is used to generate intelligent business insights based on your on-premises data for you. We restrict permissions to prevent users from accidentally entering transactions or updating master records only to have that information overwritten and lost when data replication takes place. Once the migration is complete, you can assign the relevant permissions to all users and stop using your on-premises solution.

Can I pause the migration?

You can switch off your connection to the Business Central online environment at any point. At that point, your on-premises solution and Business Central online become independent of one another.

If you switch off the connection, and you want to use your Business Central online environment as your primary solution to run and manage your business, you must reassign permissions to provide read/write access to the relevant users.

For more information, see Managing Users and Permissions.

Will my on-premises users and permissions replicate?

No. Since you are not required to configure your on-premises solution with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), we cannot guarantee a mapping between on-premises users and users in your Business Central online tenant. Business Central online requires Azure AD accounts, and users must be manually added. All permissions must be granted in the Business Central tenant, independent from your on-premises permissions.

For more information, see Managing Users and Permissions.

Can I view intelligent insights from cloud services in my on-premises solution?

No.

Is the data replication only one way?

Yes, data is only replicated from the on-premises solution to your Business Central online tenant for the purposes of migration. Once you start using Business Central online, you must stop using your on-premises solution.

Why did my Role Center change after the migration?

To keep the Role Center experience as clean as possible and avoid permission errors, we automatically hide actions that would generate a permission error for the user.

Should I uninstall all my Business Central extensions?

Not necessarily. Most extensions will run without issues in the online environment. You may want to consider uninstalling extensions that send data to an external service to avoid potential duplicated calls to that service. It is a best practice to test any extension in a sandbox tenant configured for the Business Central online environment that you are connecting to.

See also

Running the Cloud Migration Tool
Troubleshooting Cloud Migration
Migrating On-Premises Data to Business Central Online