Working with Microsoft to deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Operations in the cloud requires that you understand the environment and subscription that you are deploying to, who can perform which tasks, and the data and customizations that you need to manage. We recommend that you sign up for the Full Microsoft FastTrack for Dynamics 365 to help speed your deployment and implementation - it's a program that provides training and consulting to help you realize business value faster. For more information, see Microsoft FastTrack for Dynamics 365 overview. If you choose to use the Essentials FastTrack program instead, you will be using the Implementation Project Methodology in Lifecycle Services (LCS) to help you manage your implementaiton project.
Customer lifecycle, subscriptions, and deployment topologies
Microsoft assumes that all customers will follow a lifecycle similar to the following for all cloud deployments, and therefore need different environment topologies at each phase.
- Develop customizations, if needed
- Install and test customizations and partner solutions on a tier-1 sandbox (Development or test environment)
- Test customizations, partner solutions and data configuration on a tier-2 sandbox environment
- Deploy customizations and data configurations to a production environment with high availability
At some phases of a project, you may have all of the environments live at once. For more information, about the default licenses and tiers that are available, see the Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide.
You may hear the terms, Customer, Partner, and Microsoft subscriptions. A customer or partner subscription means that the customer or partner brings their own Azure subscription and deploys Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations environments to it, for evaluation and development purposes only. The customer or partner pays for the resources deployed to their Azure subscription based on the Azure price list. A Microsoft subscription means that the customer purchases Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations licenses which will then allow them to deploy environments to an Azure subscription which is managed by Microsoft, therefore, the customer has no separate Azure billing. With each Enterprise offer, three environments are included by default.
- One Tier-1 sandbox which is a development or build environment.
- One Tier-2 sandbox (multi-box environment) for user acceptance testing (UAT).
- One production environment with High Availability (HA). This environment is managed and operated by Microsoft.
Additional environments may be purchased as add-ons. For information about licensing and what is included in Microsoft Dynamics 365, see the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise edition licensing guide.
Here's how the lifecycle maps to the available environments.
|Evaluation and analysis||Demo, one-box||Customer or partner subscription.|
|Customize||Dev/build, one-box||Microsoft subscription, partner/customer subscription, or local VM|
|User acceptance testing (UAT)||Tier-2 sandbox, multi-box environment||Microsoft subscription|
|Go live||Production, High Availability multi-box environment||Microsoft subscription|
Features of the Finance and Operations production instance
The Finance and Operations application production instance has the following capabilities.
Security and compliance
Dynamics 365 for Operations is PA-DSS 3.1 certified which means that all communications between components are secured out-of-the-box.
All Dynamics 365 for Operations front-end virtual machines in Microsoft Azure are configured during deployment to only accept TLS 1.2.
Customers who have administrator access to Microsoft-managed sandboxes, including any add-on sandboxes purchased, must follow these guidelines:
- By default, automatic Windows update is enabled for all Tier 1 - 5 sandboxes and should NOT be disabled. This ensures that any time that Microsoft pushes security or critical infrastructure updates to your environment, your environment receives the latest set of updates and is updated each month with the operating system fixes that Microsoft releases.
- Admin passwords on these environments should NOT be changed. Environments that have admin passwords changed will be flagged by Microsoft. Microsoft reserves the right to, and will reset the admin password.
- Adding new user accounts to the VMs is NOT supported. Microsoft reserves the right to, and will remove the newly added user accounts.
The guaranteed uptime for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is 99.5%. Planned downtime occurs once a month and lasts no longer than eight hours. Because the work completed during the downtime doesn’t always take eight hours, we will always communicate the estimated amount of time that your environments will be down. Find support for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition and Dynamics Lifecycle Services.
To ensure service availability, all production environments are protected by using default Azure high availability (HA) features. HA functionality provides ways to avoid downtime caused by the failure of a single node within a datacenter, and DR features protect against outages broadly impacting an entire datacenter. Dynamics 365 for Operations cloud architecture uses Azure availability sets for the compute tier to prevent single-point-of-failure events. For more information about Azure availability sets, see [Azure availability sets guidelines for Windows VMs]/azure/virtual-machines/windows/infrastructure-availability-sets-guidelines). High availability for databases is supported through Azure SQL. For more information, see Overview of business continuity with Azure SQL Database.
Disaster recovery features
Finance and Operations production environments are configured with Azure disaster recovery support that includes the following:
- Azure SQL active-geo replication for primary databases, with a Recovery Point Estimate (RPO) of < 5 seconds. For more information, see Overview: Failover groups and active geo-replication.
- Geo-redundant copies of Azure blob storage (containing document attachments) in other Azure regions. For more information, see Geo-redundant storage.
- Same secondary region for the Azure SQL and Azure blog storage replication.
Only primary data stores are supported by replication. This means that some Finance and Operations application components, such as Management Reporter, and Entity store, which use transformed data from the primary database, must be generated after the recovery site has been set up and the service has started. Customer code artifacts and recovered data stores are used to re-deploy the site, with a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of 10 hours and a Recovery Point Objective of 5 minutes. For more information, see Azure SQL Database Point in Time Restore.
Finance and Operations can be deployed into different Microsoft Azure datacenters using Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS). Azure is generally available in datacenters and geographical locations around the world. With Finance and Operations, customers can specify the region or datacenter where their customer data will be stored. Microsoft may replicate data to other regions for data durability, but we will not replicate or move customer data outside the geographical location.
Important: Regardless of where customer data is stored, Microsoft does not control or limit the locations from which customers or their end-users may access it. For more information, see Where your Finance and Operations data is stored.
Frequently asked questions
How do I deploy a demo environment
A demo environment includes only Microsoft demo data. You can use a demo environment to explore default features and functionality. For more information, see Deploy a demo environment.
How do I move my customizations between environments?
To move customizations from a development to a sandbox or production environment, see Create a deployable package of your models in order to apply it to a runtime environment
Can I request a copy of my production database?
A customer can request a copy of their Finance and Operations production database to be installed on their tier-2 sandbox environment. This request is completed by DSE.
Can I bring my own domain name?
You can bring your own domain name if it is running Azure Active Directory (AAD), and the administrator of your AAD instance has enabled the Finance and Operations application within their AAD. This is usually done through the office email, after you buy a license. When you click the link to acccept the offer, AAD is set up for you.
Can I add guest AAD accounts as Finance and Operations users?
You can add guest AAD accounts if you have correctly configured them within Azure Active Directory, and enabled the Finance and Operations application within your AAD.