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Microsoft introduces pay-as-you-go tier for Power Apps

The plan? Pay for low code and Azure services subscription in one shot. The price? Double pre-paid plans

Microsoft is adding a pay-as-you-go tier for users of its low-code Power Apps platform, linking usage to an Azure subscription. However, this comes at a cost compared to pre-paid plans.

The change means that rather than having to plan in advance and procure resources ahead of time, customers only pay for what they actually use. It should be useful for those who are starting small and testing the waters, although it is entirely possible many enterprises will still opt for the predictability of a user-based model as things scale up.

Microsoft has been relentlessly plugging its Power Platform over the last few years with the aim of removing much of the complexity surrounding software engineering with something more graphical and accessible for end users, harkening back to the days users could create their own front ends in Access, or lash together something in Visual Basic 3, albeit now with a cloudier twist.

An Azure subscription is required, and Microsoft's expectation is that developers would use the same subscription that pays for Azure services to pay for Power Apps in the first instance. Three Azure meters (automatically set up when an environment is connected to a subscription) keep track of usage – a pay-as-you-go meter to track when an app is run, a Dataverse meter for Dataverse storage consumed by a user's apps, and finally the Power Platform Requests meter.

The risk of getting an unwelcome surprise when the Azure bill comes in is offset through Azure Cost Management, which allows budgets to be set for each meter and alerts triggered when spending nears the limits set.

And reaching that budgetary ceiling could happen since the flexibility of pay-as-you-go comes at a price. A pre-paid plan costs $5 per user/app/month (or $20 per user/month for unlimited apps and portals) while the pay-as-you-go option will cost $10 per active user/app/month (and requires an Azure subscription).

The pricing demonstrates that while the introduction of a pay-as-you-go model fits in well with the pick-up-and-play ideals of the Power Platform, a bit more thought is needed to avoid frightening the accountants.

Given that the $10 charge includes repeated access by a user to an app in a given month, costs could quickly mount up if users like what they find. Should database storage in your environment pass the 1GB mark, you can expect to pay $48 per GB/month. ®

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