In a previous post, we did a top-level comparison of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, MSDYN365BC, Cloud & On-premise versions. In this new post, we’ll take a deeper look at the features available in each version.

Not sure what will suit your business requirements?  While we recommend the Cloud, or SaaS version of Business Central, understanding the core differences will help you make the right decision for your business.

Feature Comparison – MSDYN365BC Cloud vs On-premise

The table below is designed to help businesses understand some of the key differences between cloud and on-premise Business Central.

Feature On-Premise Cloud / SaaS
Software Installation Deployed and accessed locally via individual workstation web browsers Access your Business Central instance via a web browser
Hosting Environment On-premise, local hardware, or hosted hardware required for install onto a server Hosted by Microsoft on the Azure Cloud – no need to install software on a server
Software Updates Updates are not automatic, they need to be installed, tested, then deployed by your support partner Automatic updates allow you to have the latest version available. Work with your support partner to schedule
Scalability Bespoke development and 3rd party addons available for most business processes Designed to scale with your business, apps very easily added via Microsoft AppSource
Product Lifecycle Manual upgrades required periodically Automatic upgrades, the system is never out of date.
Connection\Internet Fast interaction with the software as it is run on a local server Cloud deployment is reliant on internet speed
Costs CapEx at initial install is higher as an investment in hardware, installation, and perpetual licences required. Optional subscription payments Initial installation and onboarding costs. Ongoing per user, per month subscription cost, includes hosting, security, updates, etc.
Licence Type Essential, Premium, and Team Member Essential, Premium, and Team Member
Team Member Licence Create sales orders, timesheet entry, and read other basic data Users can only create a quotation – not sales orders, timesheet entry,  and read other basic data
Client Access Web URL connects to the on-premises server. Users can also use the Outlook Client and Business Central APP to access the software Web URL connects to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Users can also use the Outlook Client and Business Central APP to access the software
Storage Storage database size is based on the server or hosted services. Standard database storage is 80 GB. Option to purchase additional database capacity is available
SQL Server No more SQL Server Runtime – Only SQL Standard or best version Not required
Power BI Built-in Power BI reports are not available but BC data can be used in an external instance of Power BI Free lite Power BI basic licences available. Fully integrated with Business Central SaaS

Whether your new to Business Central or looking to upgrade Dynamics NAV, our consultants will discuss all options with you and can advise on what the pro’s and cons are of each to allow you to choose the right solution for your business.


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Post by Sooz Kinsella

Sooz has worked at the core of innovation in software technology for over 20 years. Her passion lies in delivering great customer journeys and automating processes.