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Working with data on the Microsoft Power Platform: how to choose the right architecture

28 January 2022


The choice of data structure should already be taken into account when laying out the basic concept of an application. When building an app on the Microsoft Power Platform, there are several options for working with data. Which options are there and what are their advantages and disadvantages? And what things should you take into account? This blog will tell you all about it.

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Lennert's experiment

With the long delivery times for cars, Lennert is one of many who are waiting for their new car with great impatience. This feeling prompted him to create the app he developed this month. The app uses the magic of Mixed Reality in Power Apps to position the new car in defined spaces as a virtual 3D object. This comes in quite handy for checking, for example, whether the car will fit in the garage. Using the camera on your smartphone, you scan the space and place the object somewhere in that space. Then you can move around the object with your smartphone and even take pictures of it. "This app is still in the low code category since you only need an existing 3D model and its dimensions. This kind of application can also be very useful in a business context - for example, IKEA helping their customers to visualize furniture in their living spaces.

Parameters for choosing the right data structure

A carefully thought-out data structure is essential for any solution, be it large or small. So this is something that is very important to consider beforehand, but what exactly do you need to take into account?

  • How big is the app's target audience? How many users will there be? One team, several teams, an entire organization, etc.?
  • How much data will the app have to deal with?
  • What functionalities do you expect to integrate?
  • How will the app evolve in the future? Is scalability important?
  • How business critical is the app? How much security is needed?
  • What are your expectations in terms of performance?
  • What knowledge is available among the (in-house) developers?

Once these parameters are clarified, you can use them to determine the right option.

Data structure options on the Microsoft Power Platform


Many teams use SharePoint lists to access, share and collaborate on structured data. As such, it is a good data source for creating apps with PowerApps. This is the simplest option, but not the most scalable or high-performance option. A SharePoint list is the perfect starting point for a very small app. A big advantage is that this option is included in a Microsoft 365 license.

Microsoft Dataverse for Teams

As the name indicates, Microsoft Dataverse for Teams is a data platform that allows users to build apps, bots and flows in Microsoft Teams. Basically, you can think of this option as a kind of free trial of Dataverse. Dataverse for Teams is included in the Microsoft 365 license but it does have some limitations, such as how much data you can store in it. It is however the perfect starting point, since you can easily switch to the full Dataverse version if the app becomes larger than initially planned.


Dataverse originated within the Dynamics world and was further developed for use within Microsoft Power Platform, and you can see that. Dataverse allows you to securely store and manage data used by business applications. The data in Dataverse is stored in a set of tables. This particular data structure is the go-to option if you want a high-performance app and are confident that it will grow in the future. You get a portion of storage with it, the rest can be purchased. Each user also needs a P

remium license, which amounts to €4.20 per user per month.

If you want to use certain Microsoft products such as AI Builder or Virtual Agents, you will have to use Dataverse anyway. In turn, you get huge advantages such as offline availability of data, user-friendly way to define a role hierarchy in permissions, and plug-and-play configured fields.

Azure SQL

If you are working with a large app containing numerous connections to all kinds of systems outside the Microsoft Power Platform or if there is already a great deal of SQL knowledge within your company, then Azure SQL is the way to go. SQL is the 'full option' and complex operations are achievable with it. Again, you need a Premium license and the data volume and usage must be paid for separately, for example through an Azure subscription

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