I’ve received many questions especially by non-Power Platform developers regarding the difference between Common Data Service (CDS) Dataverse and SQL Server and the advantages of Dataverse as opposed to SQL Server. Although Dataverse’s database is Azure SQL and Dataverse is referred to as a “database” in many places even within Microsoft space, it is much more than a database.
Dataverse comes with a rich set of features that are usually common to any type of system/application especially in the enterprise space. If we were to compare to traditional software layer application design, you'll need to develop your database, a data access layer and its security, business logic layer and some form of presentation layer. With Dataverse all that is taken care of out-of-the-box and developers just need to focus on the data modelling, business and presentation layers. Instead of a database, I believe Dataverse should be referred to as a platform or even as SDaaS (Software Dev as a Service). Below are a few examples of these capabilities that you would have to custom build yourself (or use frameworks) which is why Dataverse is a great platform for your business apps.
Data Management and Integration capabilities (import and export)
Mobile offline capability
Reporting and dashboards for end-users
Users and Queue management
No code business logic client & server side
Pre and post-event business logic execution (plugins)
SDKs and APIs which automatically scaffolds on change of data model
Auditing and Logging
Office and Exchange integration
Searching and querying
SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote integration
Data Duplication Detection
Pre-built UI template with out-of-the-box data binding (model-driven apps)
Governance, administration, and DevOps build tools
Core data model (Common Data Model), out-of-the-box schema, and prebuild industry accelerators (verticals).
To illustrate more the roles and capabilities of Dataverse, let’s zoom in the following Microsoft’s Power Platform diagram with a traditional software layer lens. The highlighted components come straight out-of-the-box and we can see that these are across the stack. The tight integration with the Microsoft/Azure ecosystem is another significant advantage as it’s simply all native.
Links and brief details to the highlighted Dataverse components: