Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: Cloud vs. On-Premise

What is Best for Your Food and Beverage Business? 

Selecting the right ERP system is a critical decision for any food and beverage business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers a powerful solution with both cloud and on-premise deployment options. Each option has its own benefits, but for many businesses, the cloud version often proves to be the more practical choice. Let’s dive into the key differences to help you determine the best fit for your organization. 

Understanding the Differences 

Costs and SetupThe cloud deployment operates on a subscription model, offering lower initial costs and reduced maintenance expenses. On the other hand, the on-premise version requires a substantial upfront investment for hardware and licensing, along with ongoing IT maintenance costs. 

Data Ownership and Management – With the cloud version, data is stored securely on Microsoft Azure servers, and updates are automatic, ensuring you always have the latest features. The on-premise deployment offers full control over your data, but it requires manual updates and an in-house IT team for maintenance. 

Mobility and Scalability  – Cloud deployment provides the flexibility to access your system from anywhere with internet connectivity and can easily scale as your business grows. Conversely, the on-premise version only offers local access and is less flexible and harder to scale quickly due to the need for additional hardware investments. 

Integrations and Applications The cloud version excels in integrating with other Microsoft products like Power BI, Power Automate, and Teams. Additionally, it can extend functionality via apps from Microsoft AppSource, which offers specialized apps designed to add food and beverage functions to the system. The on-premise version requires far more effort for integrations and does not support AppSource apps directly. 

Artificial IntelligenceThe cloud deployment of Business Central offers advanced AI capabilities through its CoPilot feature, which assists users by analyzing data, automating repetitive tasks and offering actionable insights. CoPilot is not available through on-premise deployment. 


Here’s a side-by-side comparison to highlight the key differences between the cloud and on-premise deployments of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central: 

Feature Cloud Deployment On-Premise Deployment
Costs and Setup Subscription-based; no hardware needed; lower maintenance costs Upfront licensing fee; requires hardware; higher maintenance costs
Data Management Data stored on Microsoft Azure; automatic updates; multiple backups Data stored locally; manual updates; in-house backups
Ownership and Recovery Microsoft Azure ensures 99.9% uptime and offers disaster recovery capabilities In-house control over disaster recovery plan
Mobility Accessible from anywhere with internet connection Access limited to local network
Scalability Easily scalable by adjusting subscription Requires additional hardware for scaling
Integrations Seamless integration with Microsoft products and AppSource apps; additional food and beverage functionality available More complex integrations; no direct AppSource support
Artificial Intelligence Leverages the power of AI through CoPilot Not offered
Updates Automatic updates managed by Microsoft Manual updates require in-house IT support

Making the Right Choice 

For most food and beverage businesses, especially those with limited IT resources and a need for rapid scalability, the cloud version of Business Central is typically the better choice. It offers lower costs, reduced maintenance, and greater flexibility. 

Take the Next Step 

Don’t let outdated technology hinder your growth. Schedule a free consultation with our experts to discuss how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can transform your food and beverage business. 

About FoodCloudPlus Services

We leverage the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform and add food-specific functionality through our BC Apps that addresses compliance, food safety, quality, recalls, recipe management, batch processing, staging and spice room management.