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Tips on how to manage your environments in Power Platform

With the growing popularity and usage of the Power Platform in many organizations, we’ve seen that many of them are struggling to build an effective strategy that helps them succeed in their processes. A specific issue is the way the environments are managed. Companies tend to dive into the platform and get lost in all the environments that are provided by the Power Platform. This blog post is the first of a three-piece series on how to manage your environments in the Power Platform.

Our tips and tricks mentioned in the blog post will help you define a clear strategy and avoid chaos in your Power Platform environments. In this first topic, we will discuss the facts about environments which are the backbone for building a strategy around the Power Platform.

The facts about Environments

Introduction

The Power Platform is a business application platform that combines Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents.  The combination of these tools into one single platform improve your business processes and make data processing a lot easier. Since the roll-out of the Power Platform which contains a lot of different Office 365 applications, we discovered environments which are used especially for Power Apps and Power Automate.

Power Platform image

An environment is a separated space to store, manage, and share your organization’s business data, apps, and flows. Multiple environments can be created and each one of them serves as a container to separate apps that may have different roles, security requirements, or target audiences.

Each environment is linked to one tenant and is only accessible by users in that tenant. It can also be linked to a geographical location and contains zero or one Common Data Service.

environments power platform

Roles in the Power Platform

In the Power Platform and the environments, different roles can be assigned:

  • Power platform
    • Power Platform service admin (owner of the environments)
  • On environment level
    • Environment end user
      • Can access assets like apps and flow that are shared with them, but cannot create assets themselves
    • Environment Maker
      • Create resources within an environment including apps, connections, custom connectors, gateways, and flows
      • Can also distribute the apps they have built to other users
    • Environment Admin
      • All administrative actions on an environment

Default environment

Each office 365 tenant automatically creates a single default environment with the name “{Azure AD tenant name} (default)”. This environment is shared with all users in the tenant and new users are automatically receiving the environment maker role. The default environment is created in the closest region to the default region of Azure AD tenant.

Types of environments

In the Power Platform, we have 5 types of environments:

 

TypeDescriptionSecurity
TrialExpires after 30 daysFull control
DeveloperOne per user, community program
https://aka.ms/powerappcommunityplan
Only single user account

Access cannot be shared

DefaultEvery tenant has one default environmentLimited control / All licensed users are Environment makers
SandboxNon-production environment enables some additional options like reset and deleteFull control
ProductionFull environmentFull control

 

power platform environment check box

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to restrict the creation of environments, you can configure this trough PowerShell or the admin center.

Tip: restrict the creation of production and trial environments to a specific admin group.

Managing updates in the Power Platform

Managing an application in the cloud can be a challenge but Microsoft can assist you in this challenge. The Power Platform updates are divided in 2 major updates per year (April and October). An opt-in option for early access to the updates is available for all environment types (approximately two months before the major release is automatically enabled).

Tip: We advise our clients to configure the following, enable early updates in trial or sandbox environments. With this setting you can test your applications before the major updates are being deployed.

update release

Data policies

With data policies you can ensure that data is managed in a uniform manner across the organization. It prevents important business data from being accidentally published to connectors such as social media sites.

update screenshot Power Platform

Backup – Restore an environment

Microsoft is offering a few options regarding to back-up and restore of an environment.

System backups and manual backups (restore points): Automatic, continuous or manual backups for all environments are possible. Backups of production environments are retained for 7 days or 28 days when using a database and Dynamics 365 apps.

Restore: Is only possible to the sandbox environments.

Next up in our second blog post about the Power Platform environments: A deep dive into the strategy for envrinements, with  hands on examples and a checklist for your organization.