Production and Sandbox Environments – Business Central


You can create environments of different types. Which type of environment to choose depends on what you need it for.

Production environments

Production environments are meant to be precisely that: Environments that a business can run their daily business in Business Central in, deployed on performance tiers in Azure with a guaranteed high level of availability and support.

Production environments are backed up automatically and frequently to help protect business data. For more information, see How often are production databases backed up?.

You can create additional production environments for training or performance testing, for example. However, for training purposes, in many cases organizations will prefer to create a sandbox environment with production data. You can also create additional production environments to support offices in different countries.

Note

The Premium and Essential subscription types give each Business Central customer one production tenant and three sandbox tenants free of extra charge. If the customer requires more production tenants, they can buy additional tenants through their CSP partner. Each additional production environment comes with three additional sandbox environments and 4 GB additional, tenant-wide database capacity.

Administrators can create the additional environments in the Business Central administration center. The environments can be created and used in any country or region where Business Central is available, including the countries or regions where the customer’s existing environments are running. The environments quota is applied when you try to create a new environment, or copy an existing environment, in the Business Central administration center.

Sandbox environments

Sandbox environments are meant to be precisely that: Environments that you can play around with, use as a testbed for development, and delete at will. You can deploy apps straight from Visual Studio Code to a sandbox environment, and you can attach a debugging session to a sandbox.

You can also safely use sandboxes for training, such as for following a learning path from Microsoft Learn, because it’s a safe environment to experiment with. If anything goes wrong, you just delete the sandbox and start over.

Important

The automatic backup that applies to production environments does not apply to sandbox environments. If you want to export data from a sandbox environment, you can use Excel or RapidStart, but you cannot request a database export.
Also, apps that are published to a sandbox from the development environment or in-client designer are published within the scope of the service node that hosts the environment. When the sandbox is upgraded, these apps are removed because the environment is moved to another node that is running the new version. However, the data of the app is not removed, so you only have to re-publish and install the app to make it available.
Apps that are published to production environments are published within a global scope. During the upgrade, these apps are downloaded to the service node and installed, which means that they will not disappear.

You can create a sandbox environment that includes data from your production environment for debugging purposes, for example. But if you want to run performance tests, or similar benchmarking, the sandbox is not reliable enough for that purpose. This is because sandboxes run in a different performance tier on Azure than production environments. Instead, create a dedicated environment based on the Production environment type – this gives you the exact experience and performance that users will experience in the actual production environment.

Sandbox environments are handy for certain types of development scenarios because the debugging endpoint is open by default. This means that you can attach Visual Studio Code to a running system and debug through running code. It also allows you to publish directly to the environment from Code.

If your organization has more than one sandbox environment, you can switch between environments by opening the App Launcher, choosing the Dynamics 365 tile, then choose the Business Central Sandbox tile. The sandbox environment picker shows the available sandboxes, so choose the one that you want to switch to.

Note

The Premium and Essential subscription types give each Business Central customer one production tenant and three sandbox tenants free of extra charge. If the customer requires more production tenants, they can buy additional tenants through their CSP partner. Each additional production environment comes with three additional sandbox environments and 4 GB additional, tenant-wide database capacity.

Administrators can create the additional environments in the Business Central administration center. The environments can be created and used in any country or region where Business Central is available, including the countries or regions where the customer’s existing environments are running. The environments quota is applied when you try to create a new environment, or copy an existing environment, in the Business Central administration center.

Precautions for sandbox environments with production data

If a sandbox is created with a copy of a production environment, a number of precautions are taken for that sandbox:

  • The job queue is automatically stopped

  • Any base application integration settings are cleared

  • Outbound HTTP calls from extensions are blocked by default and must be approved for each extension

    To enable outbound HTTP calls, go to the Extension Management page in Business Central, and choose Configure. Then, on the Extension Settings page, make sure that Allow HttpClient Requests is selected. This setting must be enabled for each extension.

  • Any General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) action must be handled separately and repeated for the sandbox. There is no synchronization with the production environment after the sandbox has been created.

    The internal administrator has the same tools and responsibilities for a sandbox environment as they do for a production environment. As a data processor, Business Central offers the same level of data protection and data handling restrictions that we apply to production environments.

Pre-sales performance evaluation

If you want to provide a prospect with an online environment where you want to demonstrate the performance and reliability of Business Central online in addition to demonstrating functionality, you must take a few extra steps.

To demonstrate the functionality of the default version of Business Central, without focusing on performance, you can quite simply use your own trial experience based on a Microsoft 365 demo account. We recommend that you show the full functionality of the default version by switching the tenant to the 30 day trial and the associated My Company. You can then enable the Premium user experience in the new My Company’s Company Information page, populate the new company with the data required for their evaluation scenarios, and present the environment to the prospect.

To demonstrate the functionality of the service, with a focus on performance, you can take the same step as outlined above, but then also sign up the prospect for the Business Central Premium Trial offer that is available through your CSP access in the Partner Center, wait 24 hours, and then run your performance evaluation. For more information, see Preparing Test Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central.

That 30 day trial is as close to an actual production environment performance as you can get. You only have those 29 days to run your tests and convince the prospect, of course, but provided that you have prepared everything in advance, it should give you time enough.

If the prospect is convinced and decides to buy Business Central, you can then either let them keep the environment that they are currently using, or create a new production environment for them. If the tenant is yours rather than the prospect’s, then a new tenant will be provided to them.

For more information about performance and Business Central, see Performance Overview.

Creating default sandbox environments

A single, default sandbox environment can also be created in the Business Central application. For more information, see How to: Create a Sandbox Environment.

See also

Managing Environments in the Administration Center
Preparing Demonstration Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Preparing Test Environments of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Steps to set up a sandbox environment and Visual Studio Code
Get started with the Container Sandbox Development Environment