While AX partners will play mostly similar roles with respect to Azure on AX, one key difference is that Microsoft will handle the billing and subscription relationship with a customer, rather than having the money flow through partners. Microsoft may desire a greater level of control because AX customers could have more complex licensing agreements that will need to be mapped to the Azure pricing model.
Will Dynamics in the cloud shake up the product release cycle?
Cloud software vendors tend to roll out new features a number of times each year, taking advantage of the deployment model's flexibility, rather than deliver big-bang releases every two or three years.
For Dynamics, Microsoft has done a large release in that time frame while also issuing smaller service packs in between, Ehrenberg said. The cloud option will have an influence on that schedule, he said.
"We will definitely be on a faster cadence," he said. However, "for me, quarterly [updating] just doesn't make sense for these kinds of apps," Ehrenberg added.
Expect Microsoft to settle into an every-six-months release pattern over time, he said. "We won't be there day one."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com