An Exposé on the differences between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On-Premise

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Has your company been thinking about moving to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online from On-Premise? Maybe your company utilizes Microsoft Dynamics GP and is thinking about a CRM Implementation, but not quite sure which environment best suits you. This information can be tasking to gather and compare, so we have done it for you!


Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is hosted in six data centers globally. Microsoft has physical and environmental security within these data centers, some of which include: Perimeter Security, Multi-Factor Authentication, Locked Racks and extensive video monitoring.

Within the datacenters Microsoft staff is skilled and provides local technical support. In addition, Microsoft Online has been equipped with a self-healing process through an automation workflow for quick resolution; this option has no human intervention. Microsoft Operation Centers provide 24/7 monitoring and system alerts. This is to catch issues in which self-healing has not resolved and then escalated to a Service Engineer to resolve the issue.

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online there is a sophisticated recovery process for data. Data is hosted on the server, but then hot copies are made to another server within the same data center. When data is saved in the CRM Online environment, it is also synced with the same process into a second data center in your region. The data is saved four times, and includes nightly backups.

Microsoft also holds multiple industry certifications so your company doesn’t need to! For example, some of which they hold are: HIPAA, SSAE16 and PCI DSS1.2.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online also integrates with Office, Azure, Office365, Oracle, Dynamics GP and much more!

This is all provided with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online service. With On-Premise security, backups, copies of data and certifications would need to be implemented and monitored within your company or a hosted third party.

Technical Differences

Technically, there are not many differences between CRM Online and CRM On-Premise.
CRM Online only supports FetchXML reporting versus the SSRS Reporting with the CRM On-Premise. This does create some limitations for companies using SQL based reporting.
Fetch XML does have some limitations such as how many records it can process, and will limit how many members can be added to a Static Marketing List, which is 50,000.

For companies that utilize Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise currently, and manipulate data on the SQL-Side (not a best practice), this would no longer be possible as access to SQL would not exist and could only be done through the Software Development Kit (SDK).

Administrative Differences

Microsoft Online Services IS your IT department if using Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. This means that Backups and Restoration of data is handled by Microsoft.

Database space is limited with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Any company will begin with 5GB of data storage. With each 20 professional user license, an additional 2.5GB will be added.
Access to Registry and Server Services is not possible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online as well due to it being hosted directly with Microsoft.
Within the Authentication Options of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Office 365 has capability to provide the authentication. There is still the ability to use Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) by the company should this be an option the company prefers.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online also provides the ability to have a Development, Test and User Acceptance Testing Environment. Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise has this ability, but it is the responsibility of the company to setup and implement best practices.

The Support Options with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise vary as well. Unlimited break-fix support is available with the CRM Online user subscription.

As you can see there are many differences within each area between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise. Now it’s time for YOUR organization to decide which is right for you!

If you would like to explore moving to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or Implement CRM for the first time, give OTT-Inc. a call, we are here to answer any questions you may have and help guide you in the best direction for your company.

By Sarah Schaub, OTT, Inc. CRM Consultant and Project Manager, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner out of Minnesota

1 thought on “An Exposé on the differences between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and On-Premise”

  1. Nice post! I wanted to add a small correction for your consideration:

    1)the additional storage maxes out at 400 users...50 additional GB.
    2) the Unlimited breakfix support isn't just "available" its FREE!, included with their subscription. 🙂

    thanks again for the great post and for being a Microsoft partner

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