Due to Microsoft’s licensing policy, you will be forced to upgrade to Business Central version 15 or higher after September 1, 2020. Alternatively, you can stay on your current version and postpone the inevitable. That option makes it even more likely that your next upgrade will be more expensive than necessary. There are two reasons for that:
- When Business Central version 17 is released, Microsoft’s N-2 Licence Policy will prevent you from purchasing version 14
- Business Central version 14 is the last version with both programming languages: C/AL and AL.
To understand the context, it might be a good idea to read Microsoft’s “Software Lifecycle Policy and Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises Updates”, also known as N-2.
The benefit of upgrading to version 14
The upgrade to Business Central version 14 is a traditional upgrade with a twist. You get the new AL ability, but also the classic C/AL ability.
The last version of Business Central with C/AL is version 14, which Microsoft supports until the fall of 2023. So if you choose to upgrade to this version, you can continue to use your solutions in C/AL. At the same time you will get cumulative updates from Microsoft and have another three years to move all your solutions to AL.
This is important because if you wait and can only upgrade to version 15 and pure AL, your next upgrade will require that all your ISV code is in AL. The consequence is that all your solutions in C/AL will have to be moved to the new code language at the same time.
Upgrading all your solutions at the same time potentially involves a large number of risks, time, money, and disruption to your business. It may be that your current code works optimally, but in Business Central version 15 with pure AL code, this might not be the case. Additionally, you may not find out until you are well into the upgrade project. Usually, it is peripherals such as scanners, printers, and file management that present the biggest challenges. In addition, email and EDI customizations can be problematic as well.
Save time, money, and effort
With version 14 you can postpone these challenges. If the peripherals work in the previous versions, they will probably work in version 14, as it allows .NET, C/AL, and AL. At the same time, you have more options to roll back or postpone AL adjustments since you still have C/AL available.
Once you get to version 15 or higher, all your code is likely to be layered as extensions. Each upgrade will remind less of a traditional upgrade and more of an upgrade where there are only minor risks of broken codes and data challenges.
So take advantage of the opportunity to gradually transfer your solution to AL instead of one big project. With C/AL and the extended support on Business Central version 14, you can take a breather as you prepare for the inevitable upgrade to Business Central in pure AL.