Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Online vs. On Premises Decision Matrix

Many companies considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM are weighing the options of installing Dynamics CRM On Premises or going with CRM Online. In this post we compare the two platforms, look at what is similar, and compare the differences.

Core Application Functionality

The core application functionality is at parity, with the same core application entities and extensibility features.


Customizations developed in a supported way for CRM on premise can be moved to CRM Online (and vice versa), and plugins, workflows and any custom extension can be used in either Online or On Premises deployments. Any supported code will work in both CRM online and On Premises.


CRM clients for phone, tablet, and Outlook (including offline) work exactly the same between CRM Online and CRM On Premises.

Integrations with other Microsoft platforms

Integration with other Microsoft platforms such as Sharepoint, Exchange, Lync, and Yammer work with both CRM On Premises as well as CRM Online

If you currently use Office 365 for Exchange or SharePoint, CRM Online will allow you to standardize user management and offer enhanced server side integration with SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and PowerBI.

Data Integration Options

Integration options are similar between CRM online and On Premises. Third party integration tools like Scribe Insight and SSIS with Kingswaysoft work with both CRM On Premises and CRM Online. Integration performance will vary based on the data loaded. Very large data integrations are typically faster with CRM On Premises if the integration server is close to the CRM server as latency is very low. CRM Online integration performance can be improved by optimizing the integration, using the bulk load API, or by reducing latency to the cloud by running the integration from a Microsoft Azure server.

Capability CRM Online CRM On Premises
Exchange Synchronization CRM for Outlook, Email Router, or Server Synchronization (if using Exchange Online/O365) CRM for Outlook, Email Router, or Server Synchronization (if using Exchange on premise)
SharePoint Integration Server Side with SharePoint Online (if using O365) Client-side integration
Inside View (Insights) Included Additional cost
Social Listening Included Additional cost
Workflows/dialogs 200 Unlimited
Custom Entities 300 Unlimited
SSRS Reporting FetchXML, or T-SQL from a locally replicated reporting server FetchXML or T-SQL
Power BI Reporting Yes No
Upgrade/Update process Office 365 admin approves the upgrade before it is installed, update rollups applied automatically Upgrades and update rollups installed my your administrator
Direct server access No Yes
Phone App Yes Yes if environment externally facing via ADFS
Tablet App Yes Yes if environment externally facing via ADFS
Storage Limited to the amount of CRM Online storage purchased Limited to the amount of storage available on your server
Release cycle Two releases per year. Spring release functionality exclusive to CRM Online, so new functionality available online first. Fall release released to both CRM Online and On Premises, includes the functionality released in the Spring release.
Migrating CRM Online customers can migrate On Premises at any time. SQL database provided to client at scheduled time that can be imported to an On Premises deployment. CRM On Premises customers can migrate to CRM Online and customization for entities can be imported; however, on premises database cannot be moved to Online data center, so a data migration is required.
Sandbox environments CRM Online provides non production environments as part of your subscription that can be used for dev/test/UAT. The number of organizations received depends on the number of users. Non production environments can be installed, depending on local server availability.
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On-Premises vs. Cloud CRM

A guide to help you determine the best solutions for you.