Herein this article, we are going to cover what are the deployment options for Finance and Operations apps as it relates to cloud options, geographies, and data residency.
Before you can even deploy Finance and Operations apps, you will have to use lifecycle (LCS) services. We won’t go deep into what LCS is but will spend some time on some of the key elements in LCS that you should keep in mind.
The first comes the concept of projects. For pre-production sandbox and production environments, you need what is called an implementation project. It holds the production environment and the one standard acceptance test environment that comes with the product license.
The first time you open LCS with a valid licensing, an implementation project gets created automatically through some very simple initial steps – so you don’t have to think about that.
However, it is good to know that there is an implementation project concept. This means that if you need multiple production environments – you will need multiple implementation projects, one for each production environment. And that is assuming you will need to run all of them on the same Azure AD tenant.
Currently, LCS lets teams have multiple implementation projects. But, it is expected teams be responsible for the governance and the management of these projects.
You also need to add users to the projects, and these are normally not only from the customer’s own Azure AD but also from the extended implementation team. For example, a partner who helps with the implementation.
Different users can be invited to different projects, and it is the organization that is responsible for governing and managing what users are invited to the projects and what kind of access they have.
It has already been mentioned that each project comes with one production environment and one standard acceptance test environment. Nevertheless, you can also procure additional sandbox environments to sustain your implementation activities. If you have additional sandboxes, these will show up as available environment slots in the implementation project.
Finally, assets. In LCS, there are several work streams where you use assets: it could be package deployments, customizations, or updates. It could also be deployed as it’s related to your commerce customizations. It could be that you are doing some database exports and/or imports.
While you have project assets specific to a given project, you can also copy assets between projects by using the shared asset library.
Now, taking into consideration that we have previously discussed data residency, the files that you upload into LCS will be stored in the geography where LCS is running.
So, lifecycle services, portals, and endpoints – what are these? Well,l if you have been using LCS, you most likely navigated to lcs.dynamics.com, operating on the projects there. You could deploy environments and place them in many different geographies like the United States, UK, India, Japan, Australia, etc.
We call this the global cloud – the traditional place to deploy in all the available geographies and regions where finance and operations apps are available in Azure infrastructure.
A lot of teams have implemented Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Apps and have been using lcs.dynamics.com to be hosted in the United States. This has been working fine for years as the MS team ensured its smooth work to support all the customers around the world.
However, some years back MS team deployed additional LCS endpoints, which really are separate LCS instances running in other geographies. They divided these additional options into local, cloud, and sovereign cloud.
And here is why.
Local Cloud means LCS endpoints to ensure all customer data is stored at rest within a specific geography. LCS will be using the worldwide public infrastructure to run, but the customer data is stored in the geo of that LCS endpoint.
So what is a sovereign cloud, then?
The sovereign cloud is optimized to use infrastructure, networking, telemetry, computing, and all the customer data, all self-contained within the boundaries of sovereign geo with minimal to no reliance on worldwide infrastructure.
Sovereign cloud also comes with more comprehensive personal requirements and access limitations.
Now, if we start looking at the low local cloud, what do we have?
We have LCS endpoint in the EU, more specifically running out of West and North Europe Azure regions. It has its Azure regions in two different countries, although both are part of the European Union. There is France which was announced back in October 2019. Then, there are the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) and South Africa, which were made available a little bit later. There is also Switzerland, which was made available not that long ago. And recently, Norway was added to the list.
On the sovereign cloud offerings, we have two available options: one is the US government community cloud, and the second one is run by 21 variants operating in China. As explained, these are especially isolated and restricted, and the deployment in these has very strong security measures.