CIAOPS Need to Know Microsoft 365 Webinar – December

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Join me for the free monthly CIAOPS Need to Know webinar. Along with all the Microsoft Cloud news we’ll be taking a look at Power Virtual Agents.

Shortly after registering you should receive an automated email from Microsoft Teams confirming your registration, including all the event details as well as a calendar invite.

You can register for the regular monthly webinar here:

December Webinar Registrations

(If you are having issues with the above link copy and paste – https://bit.ly/n2k2212

The details are:

CIAOPS Need to Know Webinar – December 2022
Friday 16th of December 2022
11.00am – 12.00am Sydney Time

All sessions are recorded and posted to the CIAOPS Academy.

The CIAOPS Need to Know Webinars are free to attend but if you want to receive the recording of the session you need to sign up as a CIAOPS patron which you can do here:

http://www.ciaopspatron.com

or purchase them individually at:

http://www.ciaopsacademy.com/

Also feel free at any stage to email me directly via director@ciaops.com with your webinar topic suggestions.

I’d also appreciate you sharing information about this webinar with anyone you feel may benefit from the session and I look forward to seeing you there.

Power Automate PAYG costs

Recently, I detailed how to enable the Power Platform PAYG billing:

Power Platform PAYG configuration

I now see the following in my environment that has Flows with premium connectors:

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which basically says:

You can use premium capabilities in this environment. It’s covered by your org’s pay-as-you-go Azure subscription.

The reason I enabled this was because I wanted access to use Premium connectors without having to pay for a higher fixed monthly license cost.

I have the following Flow in this environment that uses two premium connectors:

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– Azure Key Vault

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and

– HTTP

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If I now look at the recent Flow runs I see six in total 1 in November and 5 in October.

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Now looking at the Azure costs by service for November I see:

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and for October:

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Therefore, with 5 runs in October my average cost was $3.70 / 5 = $ 0.74 while in November, with only 1 run so far it was $0.92.

Assuming the highest run cost of $0.92 and with the execution of 4 premium connectors in the Flow (3 x Azure Key Vault and 1 x HTTP) that comes to a cost of $0.23 per premium connector.

The big benefit of the Power Platform PAYG option is that it allows quick and easy access to Premium connectors without the need to purchase a higher Power Platform license at a fixed rate per month regardless of usage. This means the PAYG option is great for testing prior to committing to a higher fixed value license or occasional use of Premium connectors. This should be really appealing to many who may only need to use a Flow with Premium connectors a few times in a month. When the PAYG billing approaches the full license cost you can always switch over.

In summary then, from what I can determine, you should allow around $0.25 per Premium connector per Flow run when calculating your PAYG costs with the Power Platform.

Power Platform PAYG configuration

I have spoken about how to

Set up PAYG for Power Platform

I was therefore puzzled when I saw this error in a Flow I created with premium connectors recently

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“… does not have a standard service plan adequate for non-Standard connection”

It was my understanding that Power Platform PAYG would handle this. However, when you read the following documentation it says:

Only production or sandbox environments are available to add to billing policies at this time. Trial environments, developer environments, Dataverse for Teams environments, and default environments cannot be added.

Ok, that means I need to create a new Power Platform Environment and add that to the Power Platform PAYG billing policy.

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So into the Power Platform Admin center I went. Selecting Billing policies from the Policies option on the left. The direct URL is:

https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/billingpolicies

I then selected the PAYG billing policy I had previously created and then I selected Edit billing policy at the top of the page.

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Sure enough, in the Environments section (shown above) I had nothing in there, so no billing was actually happening against the PAYG policy.

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If I now create a New environment in the Power Platform you can see down the bottom there the option to use Pay-as-you-go with Azure. Here you can select an existing PAYG policy as well as create a new one if desired.

With a new environment created, I exported and imported the Flow I had created previously in the default environment into this new environment with PAYG billing now enabled

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and it ran successfully! Yeah!

So the moral of the story with the Power Platform pay as you go option is that it will not work against the default environment, you need to create a new environment and specify the PAYG option at the point of creation.

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It is also possible to remove the environment you added to the PAYG policy at any point by editing the policy and selecting Remove from policy as shown above at the Environments stage after selecting the environment in the Added to policy menu option.

Power Automate Azure Key Vault access inconsistencies

I’m in the process of building a Flow that connects to a Dataverse database inside a Microsoft Team. When you create this you get the ability to create Cloud Flows (aka Power Automate).

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However, there is an issue when you try and use something like Azure Key Vault actions here.

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In the above, you can see that I’m in my default Power Automate environment and the Get secret action of Azure Key Vault is accessible as expected and shows all the items I have inside the vault.

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However, if I swap to another environment that was created as part of a Team (here an environment called Automation), you’ll see that I can add the Azure Key Vault action Get Secret but I no longer see the items inside that vault as I did before! I am using the same user in both cases.

It has clearly something to do with the connection,

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which shows up as invalid as you can see above.

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If I try and add a new connection, I see the above dialog but can’t make any changes or enter any information. Looks like I might need to investigate the Connect with a service principal option perhaps?

However, for now, there seems to be a limit when you use the Azure Key vault actions inside anything that is not the default environment for the Power Platform in your tenant. I will assume this is because these environments are limited to Microsoft Teams and have innate restrictions that I’ll need to find information on. If you know what this is, I’d love to hear from you.

Create a Dataverse database in Microsoft Teams

What I want to achieve in this process is to create a single Microsoft Dataverse database inside a Microsoft Teams and allow a basic Power Automate to add data to it.

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Firstly, navigate to a Microsoft Team in the environment (here Automation), and select the + (plus) icon along the menu on the right as shown above.

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In the list of options that appears, search for, and select Power Apps as shown above.

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The first interesting thing, once you do that, is you typically can only select from pre-existing Power Apps that are listed in the dialog. However, there is an option create an app in Power Apps that you can select towards the bottom of the dialog as shown above.

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You should then see the dialog display, like the one above, telling you to wait while things get set up.

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If this process gets hung up after a minute or two, just refresh the page in your browser. You should now see something like that shown above with a list of the Microsoft Teams on the left. If you select the Microsoft Team you want to put the Dataverse database into (here Automation) you should see that nothing is built yet in the information area on the right.

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Select the New button on the right and then App from the options that appear as shown above.

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If you take a quick peek at the Power Platform admin center, in a new browser tab, and then Environments from the menu on the left or use the direct link:

https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/environments

You’ll see that a new Power Platform environment has been created matching the name of the Microsoft Team (here Automation).

As the Microsoft documentation on Power Platform environments says:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/power-platform/admin/environments-overview

A Power Platform environment is a space to store, manage, and share your organization’s business data, apps, chatbots, and flows. It also serves as a container to separate apps that might have different roles, security requirements, or target audiences.

In essence, think of an environment as a container to store things you create in the Power Platform. When you create a Power Platform App inside a Microsoft Team, it creates them in a unique container.

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The idea is that you should be able to easily switch between environments. However, if you navigate to the Power Platform service directly at:

https://make.powerapps.com/

You are not able to see the environment just created in Microsoft Teams as shown above for some reason. It seems the only environments you can see here are those created directly in the Power Apps make portal.

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You can drill into the new Teams environment you just created in the Power Platform admin center by selecting it from the list. Information about the environment will be displayed as shown above.

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If you return to your app creation process inside the Microsoft Team, you’ll now need to give your app a name (here Capture)

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Typically, you build a full app here but for now all we want to create is a single database, so select the Data icon on the left (cylinder) as shown and then select the Create new table button to the right of it.

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You’ll then be asked to give the table a name (here Id). If you open the Advanced settings option at the bottom of the dialog, you’ll see that there are not many additional options to select from.

Select the Create button to continue.

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You should now see the table displayed as shown above. You’ll also notice that there is already a column called Name created. This is a bit like when you create a new SharePoint list and get a single column created for you as well.

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If you try and edit this initial column by selecting the header and then the Edit column option from the menu that appears above,

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you’ll find there are not a lot of options available. This maybe limiting or just annoying as it is in SharePoint, but for now just leave that column in place. You’ll just need to remember to put some data in it as it is a required field.

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You can then add any addition columns you require. Here I’ve added the columns Domain, Date and Value. These are the fields I want to populate with custom data.

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If I return to the previous screen you should now see the Dataverse database listed as shown above.

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Returning to the Build page in Power Apps in Microsoft Teams, and selecting the Microsoft Team (here Automation), you should now see some entries in the Items created for Automation list on the right. Here, you should also see the database just created as noted above.

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If you select the database directly from this screen you can drill in and see the table and any entries as shown above. No data appears in the table yet as none has been added.

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The way to get data into the database here will be via a very basic Power Automate Flow. It is a good practice to create this also inside the same Power Platform environment in which the Dataverse database was just created. Do this via the Cloud Flows option on the left as shown above.

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To create a Flow, select Cloud Flows, then from the menu at the top on the right select the + New button. From the options that appear select Cloud Flows then type of Flow desired (here an Instant Flow).

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The process for creating a Flow is the same as if you were creating a stand alone Flow via the Power Automate service. In this case, simply add the Dataverse Add a new row action as shown above. Configure this action to connect to the Dataverse database created earlier (Ids), then add some random text for the required default Name field (Hello), then data for Date, Domain and Value as shown above.

Save and Run the Flow.

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If everything is correct, the Flow should run without errors as shown above.

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If you then look at the details of the database you should see that it now has data inside it as shown above.

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You could also create a Flow directly from the Power Automate service, but remember to switch to the new Microsoft Teams environment that was created by adding a Power Automate app to the Microsoft Team before creating the Flow.

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The final interesting item here is to look at the capacity of the new database in the Power Platform admin center where you’ll find that, although you have a total size of 2GB, about 25% has already been consumed by the system.

For more information about the Dataverse for Teams consult the Microsoft documentation here:

About the Microsoft Dataverse for Teams environment

Set up PAYG for Power Platform

The Power Platform now has the ability to be Pay As You Go (PAYG) for licensing. This is a great option to get access to many advanced capabilities on demand. When you configure this option the billing is done via Azure rather than Microsoft 365. This means, prior to setting up PAYG for the power Platform, you’ll need to have an Azure subscription in place. As I have highlighted before:

Deploy Office 365 and Azure together

Once you have the Azure subscription in place, inside the same tenant where you want to enable PAYG for the Power Platform, you’ll need to have or create an Azure Resource group that will be associated with the PAYG option. You need to create this ahead of time. The following will show you how to create one if you need to:

Manage Azure resource groups by using the Azure portal

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You’ll then need to visit the Power Platform admin center which is at:

https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/

then select Billing policies. From the top menu now select New billing policy as shown above.

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Give the policy a name, the name needs to be at least 10 alphanumeric characters. Select Next to continue.

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Now select the Azure subscription you want the billing ties to. Then select the Resource Group that you want to use, the must already be in your Azure subscription as aI noted earlier. Finally select the region and press Next to continue.

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Now add any environment to the subscription and press Next to continue.

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Here select Create Billing Policy.

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The policy should now be created and displayed as shown above.

You create additional billing policies if you wish by simply repeating the above process. Doing so would allow you to tie that policy to a different Azure subscription and/or Resource Group for billing and management if needed.

For more details on the Power Platform PAYG option see:

Set up pay-as-you-go