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Microsoft Has Introduced A Power Apps Pay-As-You-Go Tier

Users of Microsoft's low-code Power Apps platform will now be able to pay as they go, with consumption tied to an Azure subscription. However, when compared to pre-paid plans, this comes at a cost.

Customers will no longer have to plan ahead of time or obtain resources because they would only be charged for their use. It should be handy for companies just getting started and testing the waters. At the same time, it's probable that as things scale up, many businesses would still prefer the predictability of a user-based model.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has been relentlessly plugging its Power Platform intending to replace much of the complexity surrounding software engineering with something more graphical and accessible for end-users, harkening back to the days when users could make their own front ends in Access or slap something together in Visual Basic 3, albeit with a cloudier twist.

An Azure subscription is necessary, and Microsoft anticipates that developers will pay for Power Apps with the same subscription that they use for Azure services. Three Azure meters keep track of usage: a pay-as-you-go metre to track when an app is executed, a Dataverse metre for Dataverse storage utilized by a user's apps, and finally, the Power Platform Requests metre (which is automatically set up when an environment is joined to a subscription).

Azure Cost Management mitigates the danger of an unpleasant surprise when the Azure bill arrives, allowing budgets to be defined for each metre and alarms to be generated when expenditure approaches the set limits.

And because the flexibility of pay-as-you-go comes at a cost, achieving that budgetary ceiling may be possible. Pre-paid plans cost $5 per active user/app per month (or $20 per user/month for unlimited applications and portals), while pay-as-you-go plans cost $10 per active user/app per month (and requires an Azure subscription).

While the inclusion of a pay-as-you-go model fits nicely with the Power Platform's pick-up-and-play ideas, the pricing illustrates that a little more consideration is required to avoid alarming the accountants.

The $10 fee includes a user's repeated access to an app over a month, so prices may quickly add up if users enjoy what they see. You should anticipate spending $48 per GB/month if your database storage exceeds 1GB in your environment.

Calculating the billable quantity

The units of measure and reporting frequency affect the granular billed quantity amount in both the consumer report and the quantities transmitted to Azure. Today, Azure receives consumption reports three times each 24 hours.

Unique users, which are counted in numbers, and Dataverse capacity, which is counted in gigabytes, are the two types of units of measurement.

In the Power Apps per-app metre report, you'll see the number of unique users, which will be a numeric value like 15. This means that 15 different users used at least one app or a site in a given month.

Units are in gigabytes per month for Dataverse capacity add-on meters, with three consumption reports delivered to Azure every 24 hours. Based on your use, you'll see capacity distribution across databases, files, and logs in your report.

How can I keep track of my expenses?

To effectively manage expenditure inside your organization, you can use Azure Cost Management and alerts. You can set up alerts to be issued automatically when budget amounts are approached or exceeded and actions to be taken.

Budgets for Azure resources and specific meters can be defined using Azure Cost Management. These capabilities can be used to construct budgets at the billing policy level by creating a budget for the Power Platform account resource that corresponds to it. Individual Power Platform meters can also have budgets specified.

How do meters function?

Power Apps Meter
Image courtesy of Microsoft Docs

Per-app meter for Power Apps

Thanks to the per-app meter in Power Apps, users can use any app without a Power Apps license. The Power Apps per-app meter gives authenticated users access to canvas and model-driven apps and portals.

Over the course of a month, the Power Apps per-app meter counts the number of unique users who opened the app or site at least once. Regardless of how many people have access to the app, you'll only be charged for the unique users that opened it. Users can use the same app as many times as they want during the month, but they will only be recognized as one unique monthly active user. If users use multiple apps in a month, they will be recognized as active users for each app they use.

FOR EXAMPLE, App A, App B, and App C are three apps in a given context. Pay-as-you-go pricing is now available in this environment:

Power Apps Environment
Image courtesy of Microsoft Docs

The meter does not count a user with a Power Apps per-user licence. The user is not counted in the meter if they have a Microsoft 365 license with access to Power Apps and use an app with normal connectors. See the section below for more information on how users are counted in the Power Apps per-app meter.

Power Apps License
Image courtesy of Microsoft Docs

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