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Is Azure Worth learning as a Power Platform Developer?

Is it worth learning Azure as a Power Platform Developer? Absolutely!

A number of Power Platform personalities are saying if you do not learn Power Automate then you will be left behind. While this is sound advice I feel these personalities work with a lot of no or low code solutions. If like me, and you work with large organisations on big and complex enterprise Power Platform projects then you would undoubtedly have used Azure as Power Automate does not handle complex use cases and does not scale as well. If you want to be proficient at architecting Power Platform solutions then you should be aware of how Azure can help you to design robust solutions.

Don't get me wrong, I do not think you have to know everything about Azure to architect solutions but I do think a Power Platform architect needs to have surface-level knowledge of Azure capabilities so that they know when to ask Azure experts to help them design a solution. Also, there are many ways to solve a problem, and Azure is not always the best answer.

Is it worth learning Azure as a Power Platform Developer? Absolutely!

Often Azure solutions are used to perform functionality that Power Platform does not provide such as;

  • complex reporting - ever had to produce a report that was not possible with fetch XML. Well, Azure provides a number of approaches to extract data from the Power Platform, transform the data into the reportable format, store the data for future reporting. Azure components that can help with complex reporting are Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, Azure SQL, Azure Data Lake, Azure Storage (blob, queues and tables)

  • batch processing - this will not be a popular opinion but sometimes rollup or calculated fields are not enough for complex calculations. This can be achieved with scheduled workflows, but I find scheduled workflows unreliable and they fail silently. Azure batch solutions can perform these calculations while providing monitoring, alerts, error handling and retries for you using components like Azure Batch, Azure Data Factory, Azure Functions and Azure Web Jobs.

  • Integration - 100% you will be asked to integrate Power Platform with other systems on big enterprise projects. Again Azure has many solutions robust integration which provides many benefits such as monitoring, alerts, error handling and retries using components like Azure Batch, Azure Data Factory, Azure Functions and Azure Web Jobs, Azure Service Bus (especially in conjunction with service endpoint registrations) or Azure Logic Apps.

  • Alternative Interfaces - enterprise projects may require a secondary user interface such as a portal. If Power Platform portals is not adequate you may find yourself creating websites hosted in an Azure Application Service or Azure Docker Containers.

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