Microsoft’s Common Data Service (CDS) allows users to securely store and manage the data that is used by their business applications. Data is stored in what is referred to as an entity, and those entities can be populated with data internal to O365 or external to O365 through Power Query. This data can then be used to build applications in PowerApps, for reporting purposes in Power BI, or in any other necessary context within O35. CDS aims to make the same set of data available to the user throughout the O365 tenant.

Image sourced from Microsoft

Benefits of the Common Data Service

There are many benefits to using CDS as a part of your data strategy:

  • Data is controlled by role based access, allowing users access only to what they should be able to see.
  • Each entity and its metadata are stored in the cloud, which allows for easy management of the data.
  • Data and relationships can be used from directly within PowerApps to create rich applications that drive business value.
  • Gain insights from data rather than just collecting it by displaying CDS data inside of Power BI.

Disadvantages of the Common Data Service

There are a couple of technological disadvantages to the CDS which will not effect most users but certain larger applications may get hit:

  • Microsoft imposes limits on the API requests made by each user, per tenant, within a five minute sliding window.
  • Microsoft also limits the number of concurrent requests that may come into CDS at one time.

The biggest disadvantage with CDS is simply the price. To fully use the CDS as part of a PowerApps plan, users will need a PowerApps Plan 2 license which runs at $40 a month per user. If an organization is already paying for Office 365, they can simply utilize SharePoint as a backend for their commonly used data, as SharePoint offers many of the advantages that the CDS offers and is included in the price of an Office 365 tenant.


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