How are PowerApps Portals Licensed?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 web portals are changing to PowerApps Portals and a new licensing model is introduced with effect from 1 October.

From a technical standpoint no action is needed as Microsoft will handle this transition but action will be required to ensure portals are correctly licensed.  These have already been separated from legacy dependencies on Dynamics apps and now run on the Common Data Service.

Existing Dynamics 365 portals evolved from Microsoft's acquisition of ADX Portals in 2015. While many Dynamics customers have used these to deploy self-service portals for customers, partners, communities and other external users, several factors have limited their adoption:

  • Capability to deploy a portal at no additional cost was only available to Dynamics 365 customers with 10 or more Enterprise licences.  
  • This entitlement has been limited to a single portal. An additional cost (£377 / $500 per month) applied for each additional portal. This could be for testing and development purposes, or cover other self-service requirements.  
  • Dynamics 365 portals used fairly complex web templates and required developers to have familiarity with Liquid open-source template language.

Microsoft's licensing is increasingly changing to a consumption based model and this reflects how PowerApps Portals are licensed.

As a result, there is no requirement to purchase a dedicated portal licence. Dynamics 365 customers will now be able to build as many production and sandbox portal instances as needed to fulfil their usage requirements without incurring additional cost on a per portal basis. Instead, portal costs will now be metered by external usage.  

By removing the 10 user entry point, portals will be more accessible to smaller sites. This also includes customers with Dynamics 365 Professional user licences as these did not previously qualify for the default portal entitlement regardless of licence volume.

Also, as portals are now available as an additional type of PowerApp these are available to non-Dynamics 365 licences. For example, an organisation licensed with a PowerApps Plan is able to provision portals using any Common Data Service (CDS) instance. 

Portal Designer

Microsoft's goal for PowerApps Portals is to bring external customer-facing experiences, without requiring organisations to have deep technical expertise to do so.

In comparison to Dynamics 365 Portals, the new PowerApps Portal no-code designer enables quicker and easier setup while still enabling professional developers to apply more complex portal customisations. Specifically, this should enable simple responsive, portal-based websites to be deployed in just a few minutes with data from Dynamics 365 and the CDS immediately available.

This includes creating pages, sitemaps and using components that can include Dynamics and CDS forms, views as well as dashboards to present data stored in the Common Data Service. Broader content can be shown by integrating PowerApps portals with other Microsoft services such as Power BI and SharePoint Online.  

For Dynamics 365 customers, available prebuilt templates include customer, partner management, community and employee self-service scenarios as well as an events portal for the Marketing app.

Licensing for Portal Usage

An important difference compared to Dynamics 365 portals is that organisations must licence PowerApps Portals in advance to ensure these have sufficient capacity for external usage.

PowerApps Portals can be shared with external users anonymously, or through a login provider such as LinkedIn and Microsoft account. For employee access, corporate Azure Active Directory accounts can be connected.

For authenticated users, PowerApps Portals are metered per login. This requires a portal licence that has sufficient login capacity consistent to usage.

This is priced at £150.80 ($200) per month per 100 monthly logins across all deployed portals.

Each login provides a user with access to single portal for up to 24 hours. Multiple logins during this period will be counted as a single login. For example, if a user did not log-in the previous day but logs in 3 times today, this will be counted as a 1 unique login.

Tiered rates will be available for higher portal login capacity in multiples of 1000 and 5000 logins.

Where external portal users are anonymous, the licensing model for PowerApps Portals is based on pages views.

This requires a licence with capacity to cover the maximum number of page views across all portals. The page view capacity licence is priced at a flat rate @ £75.40 ($100) per 100,000 monthly portal page views.

Unused capacity for either portal licence type will not be carried forward to the next month.

In scenarios where organisations have deployed multiple portals, the login and page view capacities can be spread across these instances. 

Internal users accessing portals are covered by separate licensing rights (Dynamics 365 / PowerApps Plan) so their usage doesn't incur additional costs and isn't metered against the above capacities.

Updating Existing Portal Licences

Dynamics 365 customers who are currently licensed with SKUs for an additional portal(s) and / or additional portal views will be able to renew these licences on the same basis for another term until 31 March 2020, or transact using the new licensing model. Where additional portals are currently licenced the new model may prove more cost effective, especially if usage across production and non-production portals is fairly modest. 

In other instances, portals will be transacted using the new licensing model as these legacy SKUs are being withdrawn. At this point the appropriate licences for authenticated and / or anonymous usage would be required to cover external usage of the deployed portal(s) for login and page view capacity.

In the event that portal usage exceeds purchased capacity, administrators would receive notifications recommending the purchase of additional capacity to retain licensing compliance.

Managing Portals

Portals are managed from the PowerApps home page and Microsoft says it will be adding new reporting and visualisations to help admins monitor portal usage.

Please get in touch if you have any questions about PowerApps Portals and how these are licensed.

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