Migrate to Business Central Online from Business Central On-premises

Your Business Central on-premises solution can have an identical twin in a Business Central online tenant. Use this twin to migrate to the cloud. The migration can be started quite easily from the assisted setup wizard in your on-premises solution.

The end-to-end process is described here. In this article, we talk about background information and things to take into consideration.

The migration from Business Central on-premises is in two separate steps:

  • Data replication

    This step starts when you run the Set up Cloud Migration assisted setup guide in Business Central online. At the end of the process, you have a copy of the on-premises data in the relevant environment in Business Central online so that you can verify if the migration went well or not. The migration task has the status Upgrade Pending in the Cloud Migration Management page, and you can re-run the migration multiple times if you want to.

    For example, you've run the assisted setup guide from a test company in a sandbox environment because you worry that a number of extensions might be problematic. Once the data has been replicated to the sandbox environment, you can use the troubleshooting tools in the Business Central administration center, for example.

  • Data upgrade

    This step starts when you choose the Run Data Upgrade Now action in the Cloud Migration Management page in Business Central online for the specific environment.

    Warning

    Depending on your specific solution, you may have to work with the upgrade tools for some time. Make sure that no one is using either the existing on-premises solution or the new online environment until the data upgrade is complete.

    Once you have chosen this action, both the Run Migration Now and the Run Data Upgrade Now action can no longer be used for this company in the environment. If the upgrade has failed, you must start over. You can start the cloud migration in another environment, or you can restore the current environment from a backup from a point in time before the data upgrade. Alternatively, delete all companies in the current environment and start the migration again.

    If you want to migrate more companies, disable the migration, and start the setup again.

Companies and data

The cloud migration capabilities are optimized to migrate data in batches of up to 10 companies. However, a Business Central on-premises or Dynamics NAV database often includes more companies. In some cases, the database contains several hundred companies.

In such cases, here are our recommendations for how to manage the migration:

  • Break the migration into batches.

  • If the companies include very large data sets, break the migration into smaller batches.

    For example, you're migrating 10 companies, but two companies include 50 GB each plus 30 GB shared data. In this example, we recommend that you migrate each of the large companies individually.

  • Be mindful of any extensions that might complicate the migration as described in the Migrate data from extensions section.

  • Check that the company names are valid. For more information, see Company names in the Troubleshooting article.

Migrate data from extensions

It is highly recommended that you test the impact of any extension in a sandbox environment before you install the extensions in your Business Central production environment to help avoid any data failures or unintended consequences.

Tip

The migration from Business Central on-premises is in two separate steps, which gives you better options to test the migration in a sandbox environment before you migrate to the final production environment.

In order to support data migration, tables and table extensions must specify if data from that table must be migrated or not. By default, the ReplicateData property is set to Yes so that, by default, any extension that is installed in the Business Central online environment will have all its tables migrated.

In certain circumstances, you may want to not migrate all data. Here are a few examples:

  • The extension is installed in the Business Central online environment but not in the Business Central on-premises solution

    In this case, Business Central will attempt to migrate the data but show a warning. Since the extension is not installed on-premises, any table related to that extension table will not migrate, and warning notifications will appear in the cloud migration status page.

    If you own the extension, we recommend that you set the ReplicateData property to No on the extension tables. If you do not, and if you want data to migrate, install the extension in both Business Central online and your on-premises solution. If you do not want data to migrate, uninstall the extension from the Business Central online environment.

  • The extension references a base table

    This can cause your base table to appear empty when you view data in your Business Central online tenant. If that happens, uninstall the extension from your Business Central online tenant, and then run the cloud migration process again.

Tip

Use the Cloud Migration Management page to verify that data migrated correctly. For example, an extension extends a table in the base application. In SQL Server, the table doesn't contain the data from the base app table for some reason. In this example, the Cloud Migration Management page shows the table as not migrated, and the page that renders the table is blank. The solution is to verify on-premises that the table with the table extension contains the same count of records as the table for the base app table.

For more information, see FAQ about Migrating to Business Central Online from On-Premises Solutions and Troubleshooting Cloud Migration.

Data that is not migrated

During the data migration process, Business Central does not migrate most system tables, users, and permissions.

Note

Currently, record links are not migrated because the links are associated with a user ID, and we do not migrate users from the on-premises environment to the online tenant. You can choose to upvote this feature suggestion.

Upgrading to a new version of Business Central

If you upgrade to a new version of Business Central on-premises, including a cumulative update, then you must update the extensions as well. Depending on your on-premises solution, your Business Central online environment contains different extensions for the cloud migration. For more information, see Business Central Cloud Migration Extensions.

See also

Run the assisted setup guide
Migration On-premises Data to Business Central online
ReplicateData Property
Intelligent Insights with Business Central Online
Migrate Legacy Help to the Dynamics 365 Business Central Format
Upgrading from Dynamics NAV to Business Central Online
Important Information and Considerations for Before Upgrading to Dynamics 365 Business Central Spring 2019