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A Closer Look at Data Platform Capabilities in Project Oakdale

At Microsoft Inspire, we introduced Project Oakdale.

Project Oakdale delivers a built-in, low-code data platform for Teams and enables everyone to easily build and deploy apps and intelligent chatbots in Teams with Microsoft Power Apps and Microsoft Power Virtual Agents.

This follow up post provides additional detail on some of the key capabilities in Project Oakdale as well as some of the differences between Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service.

Focus areas for this post include data, application and solution development, environments, integration, and security.

Data

Project Oakdale supports relational data and includes capabilities to find, filter, and sort that data. It includes support for basic data types, as well as complex data types like images and files. Project Oakdale also includes a version of the currency data type found in the Common Data Service as well as other popular capabilities such as the ability to do roll up and calculated fields.

In Project Oakdale, the new editable grid will help you quickly create and populate new tables with your data. The included User table is based on the Common Data Model (CDM) and additional support for Common Data Model (CDM) based tables is coming soon.

The Common Data Service includes a host of additional capabilities over Project Oakdale, including non-relational data (logs), managed data lake, relevance search, and offline data for mobile. It includes support for advanced data types and robust support for the Common Data Model (CDM) today.

Activities and Activity Feed tables are included in the Common Data Service only and were not included in Project Oakdale as similar concepts were already present in Teams.

Note – At the time of this writing, tables for AI Builder are not currently included in Project Oakdale. Customers can use or upgrade to the Common Data Service to take advantage of these capabilities.

Data Project Oakdale Common Data Service
Relational
File + Image
Find, Filter, Sort
Basic Datatypes
Common Data Model Coming Soon
Mobile Offline
Relevance Search

 

Application and Solution Development

In Teams, people collaborate around documents in different ways – some you create yourself, some you create in collaboration with teammates, or others you acquire from trusted sources.

Power Platform and Project Oakdale bring this same model to building and using apps, chatbots, flows, and data. Project Oakdale includes a solution that is used for developing low code and no code applications directly within Microsoft Teams.

In addition to building your own applications and solutions, you can discover solutions and templates from trusted sources in a gallery, easily install them, and optionally customize them for your organization.  In the future, Project Oakdale will also support classic import and export of solutions.

With data visualization being a core piece of many solutions, it was important to support graphs and charts in applications. The Common Data Service extends these capabilities even further with support for paginated reports.

In Project Oakdale, Power Automate is used for the creation of workflows.  It does not include support for business rules or classic workflows found in the Common Data Service.

Project Oakdale is focused on low code/no code development.  Certain capabilities such as developer API access and plug in support will not be available at launch, but can be found in the Common Data Service.

The Common Data Service and Power Apps currently support model driven apps today and these will be coming to Project Oakdale later this year.

In addition to use within Teams, the Common Data Service can also be natively accessed in Microsoft Excel, synced with Microsoft Outlook, and power applications written for mobile, web, and desktop.

Environment Lifecycle Project Oakdale Common Data Service
Data Visualization
Paginated Reports (SSRS)
Pro Dev
API Access
Plugins

 

Environments

In Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service, data is stored within an environment. Project Oakdale creates a single environment for each Microsoft Team where you create data, apps, chatbots, and workflows. That environment supports backups, point-in-time-restore, and disaster recovery.  In Project Oakdale, capacity includes relational, image, and file data. The 2gb capacity provided to a team can typically store up to 1 million rows of data.

To make management easier, the lifecycle of the Project Oakdale environment is connected to that of the associated Microsoft Team. For example, when a team is deleted, its associated environment is also deleted.

While Project Oakdale focuses on one environment per Team, the Common Data Service supports both unlimited environments as well as additional capabilities relevant when there are multiple environments, e.g. copy and reset.

 

Environment Lifecycle Project Oakdale Common Data Service
Environments 1 per Team Unlimited
Maximum Size 1M Rows/

2GB

4TB or more
Promote to Common Data Service/D365

 

Note – for organizations using both Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service, capacity is managed differently between the two.

Security

As collaboration in Teams happens with people inside and outside of an organization, the security model needed to support this is easy to use.  In Project Oakdale, access is pre-configured with a security role based on their membership type (Owners, Members, and Guests)

Both Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service include support for activity logging, e.g. who created a record, while the Common Data Service provides additional capabilities for auditing.

As the Common Data Service is not specific to the Teams environment, it delivers more options for admin and user roles. It also includes a number of additional security capabilities such as customer managed keys, field level security, hierarchical security, sharing, and support for legacy authentication.

Note – Because Project Oakdale’s environment is specific to a team, it only contains one business unit.

 

 

Security Project Oakdale Common Data Service
Admin Roles System Admin & System Customizer
User Roles Teams Owners, Members & Guests
Activity Logging
Business Units One Only
Auditing
Customer Managed Keys
Field Level Security
Hierarchical Security
Sharing

Integration

Enterprise applications often need to integrate with popular SaaS, services, internal systems and data. Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service both have powerful integration capabilities.

With Project Oakdale, integration is delivered primarily via connectors.  Support for both standard connectors and the ability to use the Common Data Service connector to connect to a Project Oakdale for Teams environment are included. Users with Premium licenses have access to the full set of over 350 standard and premium connectors available. This provides the ability to bring data into or retrieve data from tables in Project Oakdale, execute workflows when data in those tables change, and also use data from tables in workflow logic.

The Common Data Service can also utilize connectors. In addition, it also includes additional built in integration capabilities that can export data to a data lake or publish events to event hub, service bus, or via webhooks. It also has TDS support which provides integration with SQL Server

The Common Data Service can also be used with Server-Side Sync to synchronize with Exchange or Pop3 Servers, and also with Data Export Service which synchronizes data to Microsoft Azure SQL DB.

Integration Project Oakdale Common Data Service
Power Automate
Export to Lake
Data Export Service
Events to Event Hub
Events to Service Bus
Webhooks
Server-Side Sync
SQL Server Mgmt Studio

 

Note – As referenced earlier in application and solution development section, at launch Project Oakdale is focused on low code and no code developers and API access is not provided to developers.  If integration via API is required, the Common Data Service should be used.

Summary

This document showcased some of the key capabilities in Project Oakdale as well as differences between Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service.

Project Oakdale is available as part of your Teams license, supports up to 1,000,000 rows and delivers a robust set of capabilities for rapidly building no code and low code applications within Teams.  You can build solutions with confidence knowing that you can easily upgrade for additional capacity or the advanced capabilities in the Common Data Service.

Thanks for you all of your interest in Project Oakdale and the Common Data Service, we’re eager to see the solutions you’ll build with them.

 

Note: This post was updated on August 11. A name will be selected which we will share in the coming weeks.