I was working on a condensed version of the licensing guide which could be presented without really going into the details, and here is what I ended up with so far (this is ignoring Virtual Agents, Power BI, and Portals)
A user can get licensed for Power Platform and/or Power Automate through the following means:
- Microsoft 365 licensing
- Power Apps plans
- Power Automate plans
- Dynamics 365 plans
With any of those, the users are going to be licensed within one tenant, and, for at least a couple of plans, it will be within a specific environment. There is no licence which can cover multiple tenants, but some licences can cover multiple environments.
On the high level, Microsoft 365 licences will offer access to Power Apps and Power Automate “within the scope of Microsoft 365”. In general, there would be no access to Dataverse, Dynamics 365, and there would be no premium connectors.
PowerApps plans come in a few different flavours. There is a per user plan which allows access to any number of Power Platform applications within the tenant (Canvas, Model Drive, Portals). There is a per app pass which gives access to one app within a specific environment. And there is pay-as-you-go subscription which, once activated “on demand”, gives access to a specific app in a specific environment for one month.
All of the PowerApps plans include some Power Automate allowance.
However, there are, also, dedicated Power Automate plans, and they are meant to support Power Automate usage without or outside of the Power Apps scenarios. There is a per user plan, there is a per user plan with unattended RPA, and there is a per flow plan.
The latter is relatively expensive, but, in the larger organisations, it may definitely make sense when and if there are lots of users who can benefit from utilising a limited number of flows without ever having to create their own flows, for instance.
Although, all those plans can be mixed together. So, for example, a user having access to Power Automate through Microsoft 365 licensing might not be able to utilize premium connectors in a specific flow. In which case they might still be able to use such a flow if that flow were assigned to a “per flow” plan.
Pay-as-you-go is in preview as of writing this. It does offer a lot of flexibility and can simplify licence management, but, since it’s, essentially, per-app licensing, it may end up being quite expensive compared to the other plans if your users regularly require access to multiple apps at the same time. Unlike with the “per app pass”, pay as you go will kick in automatically, so you will be charged for the usage as soon as that usage occurs.
None of the plans discussed so far cover Dynamics 365 – to give access to the first-party apps, you will need to get Dynamics 365 licences for your users. In general, those licences will also cover Power Apps and Power Automate to some extent; however, that allowance is meant to be used within the same environments as licensed Dynamics 365 applications, and, also, within the context of those Dynamics 365 applications. Not all of that might be technically enforced by Microsoft, but, strictly speaking, if you create a completely custom application in the Dynamics 365 environment, Dynamics 365-licensed users might not be permitted to use such apps. Even if, technically, they might be able to do it. I guess that’s a bit of a grey area for now.
Here are some other considerations to keep in mind:
- Dataverse storage capacity in the tenant depends on the licences you have there. Most licences will bring in additional capacity which will be accumulated at the tenant level (with the exception of pay-as-you-go). File storage capacity is provided in a similar way. Dataverse log storage capacity does not depend on the number of licences though, and, once it’s exceeded, you may need to purchase add-on log storage
- Aside from the app usage allowance, every licence comes with some other limitations: there are request limits, flow usage limits, etc. As I have already mentioned above, some licences may permit premium connectors usage, and others might only permit standard connectors
- Non-licensed users (Application, administrative, system) will get a number of requests allocated to them in the tenant, but they will all be sharing that pool of requests
- In the “Power Apps Admin Portal”, there are Capacity reports. From the licensing perspective, this is what you can use to track and analyze database, file, and log storage utilization (and, also, to manage various add-ons)
- You can have guest users from other tenants accessing applications in your tenant. Those users have to be licensed, too, either through their own licenses, or through the licenses you will provide
For more details on the requests allocation, have a look at the page below:
And, of course, there is a lot more to talk about, but this should give you an idea of how licensing works. When and if you need specific details, make sure to download the latest licensing guides and have a closer look at them.