Tip #1300: CDS vs Dynamics 365 instances

Dynamics 365 Apps are built on top of Common Data Service

Citizenship in IT, 2019 edition

If that’s the case, we should be able to install/uninstall Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Apps at will, right? Yes. In theory. In the future. Decoupling Dynamics 365 CE from the underlying platform is a long and painful process.

Our special UK correspondent Mohamed Mostafa reports. (Would you like to be our special correspondent yourself? Send the tip(s) to jar@crmtipoftheday.com.)

With many new customers adopting PowerApps, they are building instances (environments) of type CDS Only and building Apps on these new instances. Although, CDS only instances do look almost the same as a new Dynamics 365 instance, they are indeed different. As it stands, you cannot currently install a Dynamics 365 1st Party app (for example Field Services) on a CDS only instance. Additionally, there is no way currently to upgrade a CDS instance directly to be a Dynamics 365 instance.

Take this example scenario: A “Lead Capture” PowerApp created on a CDS only environment gets widely adopted by an organisation and it becomes essential to add more built-in features and functionality from the Dynamics 365 Sales App and the Dynamics 365 Sales AI (Sales Insights) App. At the moment, adding these Dynamics 365 Apps to a CDS only instance is not possible. A direct upgrade of this CDS only environment to be a Dynamics 365 instance is also not possible. The only solution in this case is to migrate the CDS instance with all its data, configurations and Apps to a new Dynamics 365 instance. This now becomes a migration project not just a simple upgrade.

Hence, it is essential for any individual or team looking to build a new PowerApp to consider the future of this App. If the use of Dynamics 365 1st Party Apps is expected, then they should build this PowerApp on a Dynamics 365 instance not on a CDS only instance.

Cover photo by unsplash-logoRaquel Martínez

9 thoughts on “Tip #1300: CDS vs Dynamics 365 instances

  1. Steve Mordue says:

    They should also evaluate the significant cost differences of the licenses ($95 vs. $10), vs. a possible migration cost in the future.

    For 100 users starting with PowerApps, using it for a year and then possibly migrating, they would have saved $102,000 up until then by starting with CDS instead of First-party.

    And what about the very real possibility that they would never upgrade? And now they are stuck on a $95 license.

    We are now actually seeing a bigger demand for downgrading!

    • Mats Necker says:

      Is it in this case possibly to get one Sales Enterprise license to create the D365 instance and then use the new plan licenses for users of the created Lead Capture app in that instance?

      • Thomas Rath says:

        I was thinking the same. When you look at the list of restricted entities for Power App licenses a hugh number of standard entities like leads, opportunities, etc are NOT restricted to the Power Apps license.
        So my suggestion to a best practice if you plan to build a Power apps for sales scenarios is to always start with enabling the D365 Sales enterprice app just to get the entities created. Then you build your custom app from there using standard entities fra the sales app but assign the users the much cheaper Power apps licenses. This only works if you can live with the limitations of that license. One being that power apps users won’t have access to the D365 app for outlook which many sales people would properly need.
        I haven’t tried this in real life. But it’s certainly worth considering the option. Could be a huge save on license costs!

    • Brian Illand says:

      I think you are right Steve about the demand for downgrading, however for new greenfield projects where there is a portal requirement the metered logins is a hard thing for customers to get their head round, especially if they have no historical metrics around ‘user logins’.

      “How many logins will you have per month?” is not a question most of my customers can easily answer.

      Best Case scenario is customers user adoption is high, but user logins may not always translate into revenue for the business so it might get very expensive. Worst (or best from a cost scenario), is that people don’t use it!

      Less risky is to go with a D365 portal which is not metered by logins and therefore the cost is more traditional fixed price.

      It’s a mindset shift – much easier for people without a fixed pot of money to spend.

    • Niels says:

      We’re definitely considering downgrading as we mainly bought the 1st party app to get the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. Now you can use that in a CDS only environment.

      We might want to use more of the Sales functionality in the future, but is it worth paying $95 for compared to $10?

      However, there are many things to consider, such as the new API limits. Can you live with only 1.000 API request per user / 24 hours compared to the 20.000 you get with a Dynamics 365 Enterprise application?

  2. Artem Grunin says:

    And you also should take API limits into account: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/api-request-limits-allocations

    PowerApps per user plan has only 5000 of API requests. It is not really clear how does it calculated, as initial form load may take dozens of API requests. If you count them all, 5000 requests limit is an accidental usage scenario and not suitable for enterprise

  3. Dan says:

    Are these CDS limitations still relevant or have they been reaolved?

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