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Platform Environments Overview

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform
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In this video, we’re going to cover the power platform environments. Environments is a key component that you need to understand as part of being able to work in the different environments that you have as a consultant. The easiest way to think about environments is think of them as containers that you use to manage your data, your app, Microsoft flows that you create, even the connections and other assets that go along with them. Environments also contain the permissions that allow users in an organisation to use those resources that are contained in that environment. Environments are created in the context of an Azure active directory tenant. You can have multiple environments.
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In fact, the number of environments that you can create are controlled by the Power Apps flow or Dynamics 365 licences that you have in that particular tenet. Environments are tied to a geographic location. You can figure that when you create the environment. You can see on the example I have on the screen that Contoso has one in the USA, Canada, as well as Australia. Now, those could also be defined to deal with lifecycle management of applications that you promote through the different tiers. And you see the example of that having dev test and production environments that support applications and move them between them.
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The actual makeup of how many environments, where they are located, should be something that you discuss with your solution architects, as well as your administrators that will be managing the environments. In each environment that you create, you can configure a common data service database that is used for storing application data in the context of that environment. An application database is not required to be created in every environment. For example, there are some that may just want to contain some flows or apps that do not store any data and is used as a boundary for configuring those apps that would not have a common data service database in it.
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You can also get a environment if you provision the Dynamics 365 application. For example, you may have signed up for a trial for Dynamics 365 for sales or for service. And as part of that, if you went to the list of environments, you wouldn’t see the environment in there. And if you drilled in, you would see the CDS database created in the context of that, that’s supporting the Dynamics 365 application. There are different types of environments. And it might be good for you to understand a little bit about the different types and what they’re intended to be used for. The first one we’ll talk about is production environments. Production environments are the most permanent type of environment.
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They’re intended for work that you want to persist for the long term. This is where applications that you release to production or users go live on and depending on a day-to-day basis should be doing their work. The other type of environment is a special one. This is a default environment. Now you may see this, in fact, you will see this in every tenant that has Power App or Dynamics 365 configured in it. The default environment is a special environment that every user in the tenant is able to build and create things in that, kind of like a playground is the best way to think about it.
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Now, generally personal preferences, I don’t like to put a lot of stuff in the default environment. It is there in every organisation. So it is something to be aware of. The next type we’ll talk about is a sandbox. Sandbox are non-productive environments. They’re not licenced for you to use in a production way. They’re very much there to support testing. The way you get a sandbox environment today is through having a Dynamics 365 licence. That licence comes with the ability to have a sandbox incidents. These incidents have some nice features like ability to reset. If you’re an admin, you can go ahead and reset.
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As well as they have the full support of copy and other things that go along with it. The other type of environment is a trial. Now, trial environments are intended for short term needs. What is a short term need? I need to test an application. I’m trying to proof a concept. These are great uses for trials. If you have a Power Apps licence, for example, a P2 licence, you can create two trial environments on your own. The final type of environment is a developer environment. Now the way you get a developer environment is by signing up for the community plan.
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Now you can have a community plan in addition to other Dynamics 365 or Power Apps P2 licences that would give you other entitlements to create environments. But the community plan is the one that allows you currently for you to create a developer environment. Now the developer environment is limited in that you can only have your user in it. So you don’t have the ability to share any of the assets in that developer environment with any other users. Now we’ll walk through creating an environment in a little bit. But I want to show you a couple of the screens real quickly to give you a little context of what we just talked about the environment types.
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In this case, I’ve gone to the portal. And I’m creating a new environment. I’m giving it an environment name, as well as picking the region that I want that environment to exist in and the type of environment. It will then go ahead and start provisioning that incident. But first it’ll ask me if I want to create a CDS database in that particular environment that I just created. This is where I could say skip. I could always come back to it and add the CDS database later. But if I want to go ahead and create it, this is where I would create the database.
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And I would be prompted for language and some more information about that particular CDS instance that we will see when we do the demo in a little bit later in this module. Now, if you were working with Dynamics 365, because Dynamics 365 really comes with different applications that you can licence– sales, service, field service, project service automation. These are all applications if you have the licences for them that you can configure in your CDS environment. Now, if I’m configuring a new environment from a Dynamics 365 perspective, I would start from here. And I would pick one of the applications, or all of the applications provides licence for them that I want to instal in that environment.
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These are just two paths. And we’ll see a little more of this in the demo when we drive down into it. As a functional consultant, you probably will spend your time working in many different environments. In fact, you could be working with multiple customers that have different tenants that you’re working with. So it’s really important that you pay attention and take some time to make sure that you’re working and doing the changes that you’re working on at that time in the right environment.
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In each of the admin portals in the maker portals that you’ll be using, and we’ll talk about a list of those shortly as you get a little bit further in the content, you’ll have the option of being able to select the environment that you’re doing the current actions on. You can see on my screen here that I have two environments, John Doe’s environment and Microsoft. And selecting that selector determines when I do actions in that portal where I’ll be working on. So it’s important that you pay attention because as sometimes as you move from one portal to another, it doesn’t necessarily retain the setting that you had on the other portal.
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When you look at that list, you’ll see all the environments that you have available. Every tenet, if you remember we talked about the default environment, will have a default environment on that list. All the other ones are ones where you’ve been added to have access to that particular tenet. Now let’s talk a little bit about who can access environments. And we’re going to talk about this in two ways. First, we’re going to talk about environments that do not have a CDS database created in it. And we’ll talk about ones that do have a CDS database created in it.
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And remember, an environment can start out without one and later you can add it, which would cause a transition to happen from one model to the next. The easy way to think about this is environments use security rules to determine what a user is able to do in the scope of that particular environment. Those roles do, however, differ between whether you have CDS or not. Environments that do not have a CDS database have two built-in security roles, environment administrator and environment maker. Environment makers can create and share apps, connectors, gateways, et cetera in that environment.
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Users in the environment admin role, as well as the Office 365 tenant global administrator are able to manage the environment, which includes adding and removing users, creating the CDS instance, viewing and managing all the resources created, as well as setting the data loss prevention policies inside that environment. Now, once a CDS database has been created in an environment, all the users that were in the environment admin role will now be members of the system administrator role in the CDS database. And the CDS security roles will now take over for controlling security in that particular environment. And we’ll be discussing security a lot more later in the course.

In the previous step, we looked at Configure Power Platform Environments. In this step, we go through at a video discussing the Power Platform Environments.

The environment is a key component that you need to understand which is required to work in different environments as a consultant.

The easiest way to think about environments is to think of them as containers that you use to manage your data, your app, Microsoft flows that you create, even the connections and other assets that go along with them.

Next, we are going to explore Power Apps Environments.

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Dynamics 365: Using Power Platform Applications

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