Dataverse vs SQL Server in PowerApps 2023 A Comprehensive Comparison

Dataverse vs SQL Server in PowerApps 2023: A Comprehensive Comparison

As the landscape of data storage evolves, understanding the best fit for your PowerApps canvas applications becomes paramount. This article delves into the nuances, strengths, and limitations of four leading data sources: Excel, SharePoint, Dataverse, and SQL Server. Let’s dive in and unravel the intricacies of each, ensuring you make an informed decision for your PowerApps projects.


When developing canvas apps, the choice of a data source plays a pivotal role in determining the app’s efficiency, scalability, and ease of use. While there are myriad options available, Excel, SharePoint, Dataverse, and SQL Server have emerged as top contenders. This detailed comparison will shed light on their respective advantages and drawbacks, empowering you to make a choice best suited to your application’s needs.

Excel Spreadsheet

Excel, known for its simplicity, serves as an ideal starting point for many due to its user-friendly interface and widespread adoption. Notable characteristics include:

  • Uncomplicated data management outside of Power Apps.
  • Convenient data backup through simple spreadsheet copying.

However, Excel exhibits certain limitations, notably restricting users to the initial 2,000 rows and a 2MB data storage cap, making it suitable primarily for less data-intensive apps.


SharePoint, often regarded as a step-up from Excel, is heralded for its cost-effectiveness, especially given its inclusion in many Microsoft 365 packages. Its salient features comprise:

  • Streamlined list configurations paired with smooth Power Apps integration.
  • Robust access controls, allowing data visibility restrictions based on user roles.
  • Native support for file attachments, enhancing data richness.
  • Conflict detection tools that are invaluable in multi-user scenarios.

Its primary challenge, however, lies in its limited delegated query support, complicating data filtering and search processes.

SQL Server

SQL Server, a premium offering, stands out for its exhaustive database engine capabilities, excellent delegation attributes, and versatile backup functionalities. Key benefits encompass:

  • Open architecture facilitating effortless data access beyond the Power Platform.
  • Proven track record as a mature platform, enhancing its trustworthiness.
  • Ubiquitous SQL skills making it a lucrative option for larger endeavors.

Its main shortcoming pertains to the additional configurations needed when melding with Power Apps.


Dataverse, endorsed by Microsoft as a top-tier storage solution for the Power Platform, is renowned for its uncomplicated design and commendable delegation prowess. It boasts:

  • A user-friendly web-based design, eliminating the need for supplementary software.
  • An intricate security framework ensuring granular permissions.
  • Inbuilt data models that simplify database structures.
  • Comprehensive audit functionalities for transparent data modifications.

Yet, its Achilles heel lies in the challenge posed when creating multifaceted views across several tables.


The main difference between Microsoft Dataverse and SQL is the way data is stored and managed. While SQL is used to store data in relational databases, Microsoft Dataverse is a cloud-based storage system with a flexible, scalable data model and relationships.


While each data source presents unique attributes, SQL Server emerges as my top recommendation for PowerApps. Its vast feature set, unparalleled delegation support, and speed are hard to match. Nevertheless, should you require further insight or technical assistance, or if you’re looking to optimize your PowerApps environment further, feel free to contact us. Our expert team is on standby, ready to guide you through every step of your digital transformation journey.

If you want to learn more about the Power Apps, feel free to explore our other informative articles and tutorials.

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