Introduction to the Dataverse

Microsoft’s Power Platform family of tools, and also its Dynamics 365 applications, store their data in Dataverse tables. Aside from having a cool name what actually is it though?

Dataverse is a cloud solution to store data in a secure and easy to manage way. It includes standardised logic, metadata and validation to allow relatively skilled business-users to create applications and other solutions. Tables, both standard and customisable, will store your information in an easy to consume way.

Dynamics 365 users will already be using Dataverse without necessarily knowing it as applications are built using Dataverse infrastructure. From here Dynamics data can easily be flowed into other products, trickled into Azure data platforms or reported on with Power BI.

Power Platform users, especially those using Power Apps, Power Pages and Power Virtual Agents will come into direct contact with Dataverse tables and logic.

Over time Microsoft will add more tools to the stack under-pinned by Dataverse. Already this includes Project 365 and some links to Teams.

We’re focussing on Power Apps in this series of blogs, so we’ll concentrate on how that tool interacts with Dataverse functionality, processes and security.

Power Apps enables end-users in a low-code environment to create applications for organisational use. This could be for something as simple and stand-alone as appointment creation and record-keeping, or could be part of a much more complex series of requirements.

Whatever the process that you need the application for, there will be a need for common objects and entities: data storage tables; data entry validation; front-end design; process flow logic. More complex requirements might need external data connectivity, API access, integration with external applications, and other solutions to be involved.

Dataverse functionality with Power Apps can handle all of these things:

  • It provides standard and custom tables for data storage.
  • Templated logic and validation rules are available.
  • You design application front ends in a drag-and-drop environment and can publish them to websites or Power BI reports.
  • Data connectors allow you to import or export the information from your app to other tools.

The amount of storage you can access with Dataverse scales with your licencing of the products that use it – but beyond a certain point you can also add extra amounts of space.

Your data in Dataverse tables is secure. You can configure the security model for role-based rules, row-based filtering, and column/object based protection.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at the process of creating an app, its security, sharing its data, and some practical examples of why Power Apps would be useful in your organisation.

To understand how you can benefit from the Power Platform then speak to us at Codestone.

Keith Fisher, Senior BI Consultant, Codestone

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