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Microsoft’s New Accounting Software Goes ‘All-in’ on Azure Cloud

March 8, 2016, 11:00 PM UTC

Microsoft said Tuesday that its newest financial software, Dynamics AX, runs on the company’s Azure public cloud infrastructure. That’s something of a milestone for the software giant, which has been balancing a ton of legacy products run on customers’ own servers against a slew of new software it wants to run on Azure.

Previously, bit and pieces of Dynamics NAV, another Microsoft (MSFT) accounting package, already ran on Azure. But Dynamics AX is now “all-in” on Azure public cloud.

Azure is a massive pool of servers and storage that Microsoft rents to customers who don’t want to create or expand their own data centers.


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With this AX release, Microsoft rebuilt the product for the cloud, said Mike Ehrenberg, Microsoft technical fellow. That’s important because if there’s one thing business customers don’t want to take chances on, it is their accounting application, aka enterprise resource planning (or ERP) software.This is the stuff that runs their ledgers and tracks inventory. If it screws up, products may not get made and people may not get paid. So Microsoft needs AX to show that Azure can be trusted for these important jobs.

Check out Fortune’s Q&A with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Because it runs across Azure’s data centers worldwide the product is now available in 137 geographic markets. It also supports 40 languages.

And since AX a cloud based product, customers will be able to get updates automatically. They can then run it in test mode to make sure everything is working before flipping the switch to deploy it in production mode, Ehrenberg said.

The release also comes with a new HTML 5 client, so mobile devices can interact with the system even over wireless connections.

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For customers wary of running bread-and-butter financials in the cloud, AX will also be able to run in their own server rooms, provided they wait for Window Server 2016 operating system, SQL Server 2016 database, and Azure Pack. In theory, those products will be available this year.

Azure Pack mirrors the technology running inside Microsoft’s Azure data centers at the customer’s site. That will let customers run hybrid Azure clouds, which keep some applications and data in their own data centers while others run on Azure.

With its various financial packages—for complicated reasons, Microsoft now offers four different ones—it competes with products from SAP (SAP), Oracle (ORCL) and NetSuite (N).