9/12/20

Dataverse for Business Applications

With the improvements to the Microsoft 365 platform, there are ongoing changes and new concepts added to the platform. The former Common Data Service is now branded as the Dataverse.  This is a cloud-based solution that provides database and integration services to business applications hosted on Microsoft 365 Power Platform.  The main objective of Dataverse is to be the central data repository for all the business information, but this service is more than just a database service.

Dataverse


This service provides core features that can enable the rapid development of business solutions including those with low-code approach like PowerApps. This accelerates the building of business solutions by focusing only the application components and rely on the platform for the cross-cutting technical concerns.  The areas of these core features include security, logic, data, storage, and integration.

Security

Authentication is managed by Azure AD (Active Directory). The authorization feature provides support at the row and field level on a database. It also includes an auditing capability for compliance purposes.  This means that developers do not have to implement login features, permissions to access some data and creating audit logs to track activities on the data.  Of course, there may be some use cases that are not supported, and additional implementation would be required. But for the most part this should handle a high percentage of the security concerns for an application.

Logic

Business rules, duplicate detection, calculated fields and workflows at the data level are also supported. This enables the management of business logic to be centralized at the data level, so regardless of what application or API access the data, the same business logic is maintained.

Data

Dataverse also provides data transformation, data modeling, reporting, data validation features.  These features can help us shape the data in compliance with the needs of consumer applications or other systems. This also enables reporting tools like PowerBI to build better reporting by using the existent models or extending them based on the business need.

Storage

The data is stored in the Azure cloud in the form of Relational databases (SQL Server), files, blobs, semi-structure data, data lakes.  Depending on the type of solution we are building, there is plenty of storage methods that can be used. This enables us to centralize the data from other sources and different data formats.

Integration

There are multiple integration methods to support a business solution. We can use web hooks, APIs, event notification to build integration points with web application. There are also data export capabilities which can enables us to build a data warehouse or export data to a reporting system.

The Microsoft Dataverse provides many features and capabilities that can enable a development team to build business solutions much faster by focusing only on the application business components instead of the cross-cutting features. 

Technical Considerations

Like any technology, we need to also understand some technical considerations from the platform. The obvious one is that this is hosted on the Azure/Microsoft infrastructure, so there needs to be affinity with the Microsoft cloud platform.  This also works best for internal users as the security is managed by Azure AD.  Both of those considerations go very well when the business organization is already using the services from the Microsoft 365 platform, so there are probably platform experts within the organization.

We have covered just a few of the features of the Microsoft Dataverse service. There are so many other areas to understand and learn, but we have provided information on the basic areas that are related to building business applications for an organization.

Thanks for reading.

Originally published by ozkary.com

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