Understanding Power Apps Licensing

Licensing has never been a fun topic for most people. With Microsoft 365 offering over 200 licenses for monthly CSP alone – not to mention the plethora of add-on’s available, it’s common to turn to a licensing specialist to understand what you need. To further complicate this, in late 2019, Microsoft completely restructured the Power Platform license model. These changes moved away from a Plan 1, Plan 2 type arrangement and to a per user or per instance model.

To help digest this new license model, Microsoft have made available a 27 page licensing guide available here as well as extensive documentation here. However, rather than take the easy way out and point you at a licensing guide, I’ll break down the new requirements for Power Apps below.

Who do I need to license?

Put simply, any user who interacts with a Power App must be licensed for the features within that app. This includes internal users (within your tenant), external users who are authenticated (via AzureAD Business-to-Business) or anonymously using a Power Apps Portal.

ExampleLicense Required
Internal employeesM365/D365 use rights or direct license
Partners & contractors
(external guests)
Login License
Feedback surveys
(anonymous access)
Page View license
Who needs what?2

Your own users

Microsoft offer four different licensing methods for Power Apps, depending on the types and scale of applications used.

  • Direct per user licensing (Power Apps Per User Plan)
  • User per application licensing (Power Apps Per App Plan)
  • Microsoft 365 usage rights
  • Dynamics 365 usage rights

I’m not going to deep dive into the Dynamics 365 entitlements as that would double the length of this post and likely bore most readers. However, if you do have questions around the entitlements with Dynamics 365, please reach out to me.

FeatureMicrosoft 365 Use rightsPer UserPer App
RRP ($AUD)N/A$54.90$13.70
Run Custom AppsUnlimited (canvas only)Unlimited2 Apps
Custom Portals Unlimited1 Portal
Standard ConnectorsYesYesYes
Premium Connectors YesYes
On Premises data gateway YesYes
Custom connectors YesYes
CDS Usage Rights YesYes
CDS Database Capacity 250 MB50 MB
CDS File Capacity 2 GB400 MB
Daily API Request Limit2,0005,0001,000
Power Apps License Inclusions – May 2020

A user can be covered by multiple Per App licenses. For example, if they’re using three apps that require Premium Connectors then they can be assigned two Per App licenses rather than a user license. Licensing this way (on a per application basis) is ideal for organisations with a small number of applications requiring ‘premium’ features such as the Common Data Service.

For users who access nine or more applications with ‘premium’ features then a Per User license is the way to go.

External Guests

These are your partners, suppliers and contractors – the types of users that are added to Teams as guests or have SharePoint sites and Power BI dashboards shared with them explicitly. External users are accessing Power Apps via a Power Apps Portal and must be licensed using the per login model.

This is an add-on license, providing 100 logins / month and should be purchased according to peak anticipated usage. There are tiered pricing breaks available with a minimum purchase of 100 logins per month.

Licensing Anonymous Users

Anonymous users are those filling out feedback surveys at a kiosk or a registration app on your website. These users are accessing Power Apps using Power Apps Portals and like external guests, must be licensed. However these are licensed based on page views, rather than login counts. The license is available in blocks of 100,000 page views per month, self reported and purchased according to peak anticipated usage.

Common Data Service Capacity

Now that we’ve got the licensing for users and guest out of the way, we need to talk storage. Power Apps can use any number of storage options, from simple SharePoint Lists and connections to SQL databases right through to the Common Data Service (CDS)

If you’re not familiar with the Common Data Service, there’s a good overview availible on Microsoft Docs however the short and simple is that it’s a centralized highly secure storage system for the Power Platform.

Image from Microsoft Docs

The storage is broken down into three types, each with unique purposes and tiers.

DatabaseStores and manages entity definitions and data
FileStore attachments including documents, images, videos and PDF’s.
LogRecord data changes over time for use in reporting and analysis. Logs are designed to assist organisations to meet auditing, compliance and governance requirements.
CDS Storage Types

Similar to the way SharePoint Online is licensed, there is a default tenant capacity available with each licensed user bringing additional storage to the pool.

TypeDefault / UserDefault / App+ / User+ / App
CDS Database10 GB1 GB250 MB50 MB
CDS File20 GB2 GB2 GB400 MB
CDS Log2 GB200 MB
CDS License Storage Inclusions

You will notice that there is no mention of the inclusions with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. This is because Microsoft 365 usage rights do not cover access or storage within the Common Data Service, instead it requires a dedicated Power Apps license.

Calculating Capacity

To work out your Common Data Service storage capacity, it’s a little bit of maths. For example, if we have 20 users each assigned a single Power Apps Per App license

TypeTenant DefaultAdditional LicensedTotal
CDS Database10 GB20 x 250 MB15 GB
CDS File20 GB20 x 2 GB40 GB
20 x Power Apps Per App licenses

If we need more storage beyond that, we can add additional storage on a per GB basis for each type.

What about Power Automate?

Usage rights for Power Automate (formerly Flow) are included as a part of the Power Apps licensing. However these usage rights are specific to Power Apps. For example using Power Automate to read or write to an SQL database as part of a Power App is covered under these rights. Power Automate flows that are not directly related to the function of a Power App are however not covered and thus need to be licensed separately.

I’ve put a breakdown of the license options for Power Automate below if you’re wanting to use it outside of Power Apps.

FeatureMicrosoft 365 Use RightsPer UserPer Flow
RRP ($AUD)N/A$21$138
Minimum PurchaseN/AN/A5
WorkflowsYes (limited)YesYes
Business Process flows YesYes
Standard ConnectorsYesYesYes
Premium Connectors YesYes
On Premises data gateway YesYes
Custom connectors YesYes
CDS Usage Rights YesYes
CDS Database Capacity 50 MB50 MB
CDS File Capacity 200 MB200 MB
Daily API Request Limit2,0005,00015,000

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