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vshah2
Helper I
Helper I

PowerApps with Dataverse vs Azure SQL PaaS

Hello Team, I'm trying to think about the reasons when I should choose dataverse or Azure SQL (IaaS/PaaS) for my powerapps backend. Can anyone some more detailed comparison on it please? Thanks.

4 REPLIES 4
mogulman
Skilled Sharer
Skilled Sharer

I looked at this in 2018.  I thought DV was very difficult to work with.  I wanted to use Azure Function Apps to handle a lot of email and reporting functions.   Using Azure Functions with DV compared SQL DB looked very cumbersome. I like T-SQL and SQL Server Management Server.  SQL is very flexible.  It allows me to create powerful views.  I started using on-premise SQL DB.  The use of SQL Profiler allow me to really understand how Powerapps works and optimize my app.  I created an Excel addin to create monthly reports.  Using DV is a lot more difficult than SQL.  I was also looking at  doing some custom apps and using SQL was a lot easier.  I admit I haven't kept up with DV but at the time choosing SQL was no-brainer.

vshah2
Helper I
Helper I

Thanks for your reply. I hope some other team members share some more details on it. I'm kind of a bit confuse when to use SQL vs Dataverse with PowerApps. Thanks.

@timlReleases his second book on March 29th, "Beginning Power Apps: The Non-Developer's Guide to Building Business Applications Second Edition".  He discusses data source pros and cons including SQL Server and Dataverse.  I have his first book.  I'll be getting this one as well.

timl
Super User III
Super User III

Hi @mogulman - as always, many thanks for your support 🙂

Yes, I'm releasing the second edition of my book later in the month, which is exciting! It'll be a great resource for those who are beginning, or wanting to learn more about Power Apps.

 

@vshah2 - what @mogulman says is spot on. I couldn't have put it better. SQL server is my favourite data source for the exact reasons he mentions, and I wouldn't underestimate the importance of any of those points

 

It's far easier to access SQL Server data from apps and processes outside of the Power Platform. As an example, just the simple tasks of making a quick backup, or deleting all rows in a table is easier. Crucially, we can resolve almost any delegation limitation through the use of views. If you have to join 3 or 4 tables with inner/outer joins, or if you need to group/aggregate results using operators like distinct/sum/average, these tasks are much easier to perform in SQL.

 

To give some balance to this, here are some of the distinct benefits to using Dataverse.

  • Dataverse is the data source that model driven apps, portal apps, and AI builder use. If you want to build these types of apps, keeping the shared data in a Dataverse database is easier.
  • Dataverse is the database that Dynamics 365 uses. Therefore, it is the data source that you would choose if you want to extend Dynamics 365 capabilities.
  • Dataverse is slightly more cost-effective. Both Dataverse and SQL require a premium license. Dataverse is included in the license, whereas with SQL Server, you would incur the additional cost of provisioning and managing a SQL Server.
  • Dataverse offers a more granular security model. For instance, it's possible to secure records at a field level. We can define permissions such as - if a user has permissions on a parent record, that user should also have the permissions on related child records. There is also the capability for users to share records with other users.
  • There is a set of built-in data models/tables that you can use (called the CDM). This saves users from having to create common table structures, and helps those who are unfamiliar with table/database design.
  • Other features that you don't get in SQL include 'rollup columns' for aggregating values, and polymorphic lookups - eg, the ability to relate a lookup field value to a user/account/team.
  • Finally, the overall experience of working with Dataverse in a canvas app is more rounded. For example, there's no need to add a connection, because the connection is implicit. The file attachment and image controls integrate more smoothly, including support for image capabilities such as automatic thumbnails.

Hopefully, this provides you with a bit more information to help make your decision.

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