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Common Data Service is an Azure based service that allows you to bring data together from the Dynamics family of products, along with other external sources. It is based on the concept of having data living together in one place, where it can be served to apps created through PowerApps.

As described in this previous article, you start by creating an environment. With that in hand, you are ready to create your first database. Make sure you are an administrator in the current environment where the database is to be create, and that the correct license is assigned to you. You create the database either through the Admin center as described in the linked article, of directly from the PowerApps working console, by selecting first the environment you will work in, and then navigating to Common Data Service > Entities.

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About a year ago, PowerApps evolved with the addition of Environments. This creates the necessary logical separation needed in most enterprise environments. You can think of these environments as logical containers that allow complete separation of security roles and audiences.

Now, do you have to use environments?

Well, you are using environments from the get-go. On creation you get a default environment. You can add additional environments as needed.

When do you want to use environments?

You can have separate environments for various stages in the SDLC. You can have a Development, Test, QA, UAT and Production environments, as needed.

In addition, due to scope limitation, you might need multiple environments for the same functionality. For example, let’s have a look at the scope of an environment. Each environment is related to a tenant, and a geographical region (geo). As such, if you’re running with a global deployment, you might want to use separate environments for each geo your application runs in.

Another aspect of environments is the ability to separate your data sources. Each environment has it’s own defined data sources. This is what allows you to have the separate environment for the SDLC stages.

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This has been baking for a while, but today it was finally announced during the Convergence 2015 EMEA Keynote. PowerApps is a new service for enterprises to create and share business apps. With a very easy drag and drop interface, and support for various devices, including mobile, this allow employees to quickly create and publish applications to the enterprise with an office-like experience.

The main PowerApps product page is available HERE.

The following article on the Microsoft Blog gives you more details on this new platform.

In addition, on Channel 9, the following videos demonstrate the ease of use.

PowerApps and Azure App Services is being discussed in THIS blog by Scott Hanselman.

So register for the service, give it a try, and don’t forget to have fun.

Enjoy!

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