Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Why Business Central Is Amazing #3 - No Access to SQL Server

 By Steve Endow

"What? Are you crazy, Steve? Not having access to SQL is a limitation! It's a weakness! That's not amazing!"

I am not trying to change anyone else's mind--I'm just sharing a few thoughts why I think that NOT having access to SQL Server is amazing.

I've been working with on-prem ERP systems since 1996, when I implemented Solomon IV for Windows, then MAS 90, then Peoplesoft, then Dynamics GP.  I'm aware of all the arguments for wanting or needing access to SQL. I get it.

But that direct access comes at significant cost.  And responsibility.  And risk.  And those things are not amazing.  Mid-market companies want to sell their product or service, to provide customer satisfaction, and to make revenue.  

They don't want to be in the ERP database administration business.  Or the ERP database backup business.  Or the ERP disaster recovery business.  Or the ransomware defense business.

Do you really want to be in the database administration and maintenance business?

What if a mid-market company could have an ERP system that did not require database administration?  That would be amazing.

What if the customer didn't have to do any backups of their ERP system?  Amazing?  Check.

How about not having to worry at all about defending against data breaches or ransomware?  Absolutely amazing.

Oh, what's that, you say?  Business Central lets you download a copy of your database? Wow, that's pretty gosh darn amazing!

If I were given a choice:

1. Have direct access to SQL Server, but be fully responsible for backups and disaster recovery and ransomware defense

2. Have no direct access to SQL, and let Microsoft deal with all of the administration and maintenance, while still having the ability to download full backups of my data!  And don't forget Read Scale Out with Database Access Intent! (Another AMAZING feature of Business Central!)

Given that choice, I'm happy to give up direct access to SQL.

I'll tolerate API limitations.  I'll learn to use configuration packages.  I'll learn to code in AL to make my own queries and APIs and imports and exports.  Because I know that those "limitations" come with a huge benefit.

And then there are the significant side benefits.  Like not having the customer with dozens of crazy custom triggers on the ERP database tables that cause all sorts of chaos.  Or the rogue reports and Access databases that query 10 years of data from the ERP database, locking tables and preventing 30 ERP users from doing any work.  

Not having to deal with those headaches, those hassles, and that stress?

That's amazing.

Steve Endow is a Microsoft MVP in Los Angeles.  He works with Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft Power Automate, Power Apps, Azure, .NET, Dynamics GP, and SQL Server.

You can also find him on Twitter and YouTube

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