Extend data storage for Dynamics 365 Business Central
Mike Ehrenberg - Microsoft Technical Fellow | CTO, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Operations Applications
Each Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central cloud instance comes with 80 GB of database storage, which is more than ample for most organizations. Some businesses have unique scenarios that may require additional storage. For those organizations that need more space, we’ve introduced a new add-on SKU that provides additional storage capacity, available now by contacting your Microsoft representative.
While providing additional storage capacity as needed, our goal continues to be to have most customers operate without any requirement for additional storage. To meet the needs of even more customers with the basic 80 GB allocation, we are planning a set of investments over upcoming releases to more efficiently use database capacity—limiting the need for additional storage. Roadmap content and timing are subject to change, but examples of planned capabilities include:
- SQL Compression—this is a simple technique that we’ve leveraged across other Microsoft Dynamics 365 cloud services to both reduce database size and improve performance. Business Central databases have patterns that generally do very well with compression. SQL Compression will begin rolling out in the coming months, prior to the 2020 release wave 2. We expect it to materially reduce database storage sizes.
- Automated Log File Management—looking at usage today in Business Central SaaS databases, tables used for diagnostic logging from both the base application and ISV solutions are frequently among the largest tables in any given database. Capabilities to configure and manage a maximum size for these log tables are planned, with the system providing automatic purging of older entries for both improved performance and reduced storage size.
- Alerting on rapid database growth—when we examined the largest Business Central databases, we observed cases where the growth was due to an error condition and not normal usage. Service functionality is planned to alert tenant administrators to unexpected database growth, along with tools to identify the involved tables. This is key to catching issues leading to unanticipated and unnecessary storage use.
- Attachments in File Storage—for on-premises systems, keeping attachments such as PDF documents, images, or Excel spreadsheets that relate to business data in the application’s SQL database is often the preferred solution to simplify data management. For now, we will exclude binary file storage from the calculation of database storage usage. In a future update, we plan to move binary attachments to lower priced file storage.
- Archiving—another key driver for database storage usage is historical growth. Investments are planned to allow archiving of historical data out of the primary database while still retaining the ability to access required information. This will contribute to both maintaining system performance and managing database storage size requirements.
To help customers migrating from Dynamics NAV understand their storage requirements in Business Central, a utility will be provided to estimate the size of the database once migrated to Business Central with the above capabilities. We are validating the utility today with a few sample databases and expect to make it available this quarter.
To help customers manage and plan their storage costs on an ongoing basis, Business Central admin dashboards will provide visibility of total storage usage along with details on the top tables by size. Customers should be aware that exceeding the paid storage limit will not interrupt transaction processing. Beginning with the 2020 release wave 2, we plan to block administrative actions that create additional database copies when paid storage limits are exceeded; details will be provided in the release plan for wave 2 when it is published in July 2020.