Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations: Upgrade vs. Migration

There are two different paths to move from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations: upgrade and migration.

It’s common to refer to any transition from AX to F&O as an “upgrade,” and we do so elsewhere on our website. But in this article we’re going to dive deep into the two different ways of doing this transition, and what this means for you as a Dynamics AX user.

Note: Even though most customers, commentators, and consultants still call it Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations or D365FO, Microsoft now technically licenses it as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

Upgrading or Migrating From Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

When an upgrade happens, the entire database is converted to the new system. In a migration, on the other hand, a lot of the history is left behind in the old system. The plus side for leaving the old data behind is that much of it may be outdated and no longer useful. The old data can still be stored separately to be accessed when needed.

If you are currently on Dynamics AX 2012 R2 or R3, and your solution has little to no customizations, then upgrading is the way to go. Your entire database can be converted to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations using a Microsoft provided toolset.

However, for Dynamics AX 2009 or AX 2012 (before R2) users, you must choose the migration method as the Microsoft toolset is not equipped to work with these older versions. Another factor that would call for a migration would be if you want to reduce or replace large amounts of customization and you need major configuration changes.

It’s important to note that only master data and open transactions will be converted using Microsoft’s data migration framework. Any historical data will stay in Dynamics AX, or it can be moved into a data warehouse using Azure database tools.

Criteria for Upgrading vs. Migrating

  • AX2012 R2 or R3
  • No or small customizations
  • No or a single ISV module
  • Database is small or medium
  • No fundamental configuration changes needed
  • AX2009 or AX2012 (before R2)
  • Change financial dimensions or your chart of accounts
  • Change in inventory dimensions (site, warehouse, version, owner, license plate etc.)
  • Change in costing method
  • Large database (over 1 TB)
  • Want to reduce or replace large amounts of customizations
  • Have multiple ISV products installed
  • Want to phase in groups of legal entities


Next Steps

As a partner, Encore guides our clients through either the upgrade or migration process from Dynamics AX to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. We help you with the technical and functional effort needed for whichever process is deemed necessary for your solution.

In order for us to provide you a high-level estimate for your specific upgrade or migration project, we need some information about your existing Dynamics AX environment. Please get in touch with us by filling out this form and answering some questions about your current system.

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