PowerApps Portals Licensing for October 2019

If you didn’t hear the news from Inspire, the PowerApps Portals is now in public preview and with that comes the announcement of the licensing for the portals.

Some of the major changes are to change it to a capacity based license instead of basically a site/portal license. What that comes out looking like is the following:

  • Per Login at 100 logins/month for $200 USD
  • Per Page View at 100,000 page views login/month for $100 USD

You can spread this capacity across various portal instances, so you are no longer having to pay the same price for dev and test as you did for production. Your usage of your portal application for each instance is what controls the cost.

What this means

This has the potential to significantly discount the price for those using the portal in a non-authenticated manner. 100,000 page views or less is now only $100/month as the entry fee for the portal.

If you have a low login scenario this also as brings down the minimum price. If you use under 100 logins a month and under 100,000 page views your spending $300/month.

Both of these bring the cost significantly under the previous $500/month/portal. For a small business this has huge potential to help savings.

If you are in the group with the larger login capacity this pricing might bring some concern…In the short a login of a single user over a 24 hours period is being referred to as a $2 login/24 hours. That user can login and out endless times and only count as a single login in 24 hours. If you have a lot of logins per month then get ready to figure out some math.

The Math, for the larger login scenario…

Let’s take the scenario where you have 10,000 unique external users and once a year you need to have them to update information and pay a fee to renew their membership; during any time in the year they can also login and manage their profile, log support cases, download private materials, etc.

At minimum each of the 10,000 users must login once to renew.
10,000 users / 100 * $200 = $20,000

Let’s account for 75% of your users logging in at least once more during the year (accounts for some not logging in at all and other logging in multiple times over 24 hours.).
10,000 *0.75 / 100 * $200 = $15,000

The organization also runs their public site on portals but is low traffic so they take the minimum page view package.
$100 * 12 (months since we are at this high level doing yearly calculations) = $1,200

Total Portal Cost Annually: $36,200

Their cost previously with 3 environments (standard – dev, test, prod).
3 * $500 * 12 = $18,000

The cost has potentially doubled and there wasn’t an accounting in the new pricing for the cost of login’s for dev and test environments. There are likely to be additional costs as they will need to predict their monthly logins for their user population. If buying 1000 logins and only 650 show up you will have overpaid and not get the unused logins back.


So the new licensing works great for small organizations with low login counts or no authentication required at all, but could get ugly as your capacity ramps up. If you fall into the large group you are probably in the WTF stage right now.

So let’s pause. Capacity has costs, that capacity managed in PowerApps is generally at a per internal user cost with add-ons allocated to a user. When we talk about the portal the user is a login or at least that is how its measured. That login works with PowerApps data and therefore needs capacity and therefore costs much higher than page views which in all likely-hood in the unauthenticated scenario a large portion of the time is going to be retrieved from cache.

Is $2 login/24 hours right to calculate cost? What about at millions of logins per year? Does capacity cost really scale so simply I think is what a lot of us are asking.

There will be reports from Microsoft on page views and login counts so you can use your data to help you plan your budgets. There will obviously be some graceful fail or wiggle room so to speak so that user 101 when you didn’t buy more capacity doesn’t get a “We’re Sorry, please insert credit card”.

But is $2 login/24 hours right, is the price right and is that the right way to measure it?

Yes, no, maybe…

My take is not quite, but maybe.

Why it’s not right; it’s too high above an average of 1000 users per month, predicting logins and buying capacity you might never use and that you lose is not in alignment with some of the Azure Services powering the PowerApps Portals service, especially since this is SaaS and it has shared capacity backing it. Microsoft benefits from economy of scale but isn’t passing it on?

Login’s from portal users could actually cost more than an internal user in this model. If a user logs in every day 30 * $2 = $60. Much more than an internal user cost.

Why it could be right; buying pre-determined capacity so you can budget and control costs.

In my ideal it needs to be based on monthly unique active authenticated users and based on the tier that count puts you in.

I say monthly active authenticated users and not logins also because you pay $X internal/user/month not $internal/logins/month. Just because internally Jimmy uses it every day he doesn’t cost more. A portal login has so much LESS functionality than an internal user so getting the price anywhere in the range of internal user costs is just plain wrong.

I don’t have any sense on exactly what the price or tier levels should be nor am I going to guess. Microsoft has the telemetry to drive that from.

For example if you have 1534 users in January you fall between X and Y therefore you cost $Z.

What can be improved at a minimum though is publishing some cost numbers when you are high scale or tiered. Hidden discounts for enterprise agreements or other backroom deals and not publishing them is not a good way forward. Be transparent, put them out there fully public, arm customers and partners clearly with the numbers as they scale. Maybe offer 1000 login packs at reduced rate compared to buying 10 x 100 logins. Talk and communicate the benefits of a capacity pack beyond the number of logins it provides.

What would be the most ideal is monthly unique active user pricing tiers and being able to pre-buy into a performance tier so you have guaranteed performance. That gets complicated to communicate and illustrate though 🤨.

Nick Doelman (@readyxrm) and myself recently had a chance to talk with Dileep Singh (@rulesrchanged), a PM for PowerApps Portals from Microsoft on the CRMAudio Refresh the Cache and got to ask him about the licensing. Take a listen when it is released.

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