Microsoft Power Automate Hosted RPA

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Power Automate has 2 new RPA (Robotic Process Automation) offerings:

  • Individual Hosted Machines
  • Hosted Machine Groups

which enable you to run Power Automate RPA in Azure to more quickly test, scale, and deploy.

Individual Hosted Machines

Currently in preview, these aim to make it quick and easy to test both attended and unattended flows without the need to set up physical machines.

Hosted Machine Group

This provides auto-scaling and auto-provisions additional bots as needed when initial capacity for unattended flow bots isn’t enough. It also provides dynamic load-balancing between different groups, ensuring one isn’t adding more VMs while another has several sitting idle.

Licensing & pricing

To use either of these hosted options, users require:

  • Power Automate per user plan w/attended RPA add-on or
  • Power Automate per flow plan

as a base license and then you can purchase the Hosted RPA add-on which includes:

  • Hosted machine
  • Unattended desktop flows
  • 5,000 AI Builder credits per month

and costs £162.10 per bot per month.

If you’re using Hosted Machine Groups, you need to assign 1 x Hosted RPA add-on for each bot you want to run in parallel. I’m not currently sure how this works in relation to the auto-scaling feature…do you have to have licenses available for the maximum number of bots you’re willing to run (something you can set as an admin) or is there a “pay in arrears” option where you’re billed monthly?

Furthermore, I imagine there will be additional Azure costs although I’m yet to confirm that.

Further Reading


Individual Hosted Machines

Hosted Machine Groups


Microsoft financial results Q2 FY23

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Microsoft’s financial results for the 2nd quarter of FY23 (Oct – Dec 22) don’t make the usual pretty reading this time.

Revenue was $52.7 billion – an increase of just 2%

Net income was $16.4 billion – a decrease of 12%

That’s the first decrease for a long time, showing even Microsoft are not immune to the impacts of rising costs and global recessions. However, it’s not all doom and gloom:

Productivity & Business Processes

Revenue = $17 billion…up 7%

  • Office 365 Commercial revenue up 11%
  • LinkedIn revenue up 10%
  • Dynamics 365 revenue up 21%

All increases but quite a bit lower than we’re used to from previous quarters. Office Commercial (i.e. on-premises) has dropped 30% as customers continue to move to the cloud.

Intelligent Cloud

Revenue = $21.5 billion…up 18%

  • Azure = 31% up

In most scenarios, 31% growth is good, great even…but not for Azure after a couple of years of 50%+ growth! Although the most recent quarters dipped just below that 50% marker, this quarter still represents a significant drop. Microsoft do mention higher energy costs as a factor in the decreased margin.

Earnings call

There are now 12,000 Azure Arc customers, a 100% increase in 12 months.

45,000+ Power Automate customers – a 50% increase over last year.

Satya Nadella mentions new functionality to build workflows from natural language prompts…that would be really useful for me!

280 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) for Teams

Teams Phone added over 5 million PSTN seats in the last 12 months and is the market leader

Microsoft Security is now over $20 billion and Nadella states they’re taking market share in all the major categories. He also states that a customer has consolidated from 10 security vendors down to just Microsoft – this is something I often advise that organisations explore.

EMS is now at 241 million seats.

Overall, LOTS of mentions of AI from Satya Nadella (as expected) and a real focus on the future with AI, Platforms, Viva, E5 and more. The expectations for future growth and advances seem to more than outweigh the slight disappointment of these results.

You can se the Microsoft details here.

Microsoft make more layoffs

Microsoft have announced plans to cut a further 10,000 jobs – a shade under 5% of their total workforce. As with previous rounds of job cuts, Satya Nadella has stated they’ll continue to hire in other “key strategic areas” likely including AI and platforms.

Microsoft will see $1.2 billion in charges in Q2 from these layoffs and also “changes to [the] hardware portfolio”.

This is part of a wider trend of layoffs across the industry recently including:

  • Alphabet = 12,000
  • Amazon = 18,000
    Salesforce = 8,000
    Meta = 11,000

as the tech industry boom comes to a halt and companies look to re-focus and prioritise. Google have said that they expanded to quickly during the pandemic and now need to rationalise their workforce.

It will be interesting to see which areas within Microsoft see the brunt of these cuts, as that will really give insight into how they’re reshaping their business.

I wish everyone affected by this the best of luck.

More Microsoft price increases coming April 2023

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Picking up where they left off in 2022, Microsoft have announced today (Jan 5, 2023) further price increases that will take effect from April 1, 2023.

Microsoft cloud products will be increased as follows:

GBP – up 9%

DKK, EUR, and NOK – up 11%

SEK – up 15%

I’m looking to clarify if these are the same as, or additional to, the “price harmonisation” increases that were announced a few months ago.

Microsoft announcement here.

Post on other price increases here.

Sign up to my monthly Microsoft newsletter here.

Microsoft EU Data Boundary Service

What is it?

The EU Data Boundary is a geographical area within which Microsoft has committed to store and process customer data for the majority of their online services. This is aimed at addressing concerns around data processing/location and GDPR, held both by customers and organisations such as the European Union.

It is comprised of countries in the EU:

and EFTA:

For my fellow Brits, notice the United Kingdom isn’t included #Brexit

Currently, datacentres in the following countries are being used:

although Microsoft may add additional datacentres within the EU/EFTA over time.

How it works


Regional resources deployed within an EU Data Boundary region will be in-scope. For non-regional services, there is info here on how these can be configured within the EU Data Boundary. Note, not all services have yet been re-architected to allow this.

Dynamics 365 & Power Platform

This is based on the location of your billing address and, this, tenancy.

Microsoft 365

If you have a billing address within the EU/EFTA, you’re in scope…unless you have purchased the Multi-Geo capabilities add-on license.

Which products are in-scope?

According to the January 2023 Product Terms, the EU Data Boundary can apply to these products/services:

The Product Terms also lists half a dozen scenarios where data may still go outside the EU Data Boundary, these being:

  • Remote access by MS employees
  • Customer-initiated transfers
  • Protecting customers
  • Replication of Azure AD directory data
  • Network transit
  • Service-specific transfers

More info

Microsoft EU Data Boundary page

Configure non-regional Azure services

Microsoft Product Terms – December 2022

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Clarification to the Online Services “Acceptable Use Policy” that crypto-mining is prohibited without Microsoft’s prior approval. I wonder when they will give permission for this?!

DevOps Server 2022 added

A clarification notice around Microsoft’s communication services, relating to taxes and relations to 3rd-party services.

SQL Server 2022 – price rises & licensing changes

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SQL Server 2022 is now generally available and is, in Microsoft’s words, the “most Azure enabled release” so far.

There are a few licensing updates and changes to be aware of with SQL Server 2022 as well as a price increase:

Flexible Virtualisation Benefit

Both licenses with active SA and active subscriptions can now be deployed with any Authorized Outsourcer – that is, anyone who isn’t a Listed Provider (Amazon, Google, Alibaba). However, don’t forget that License Mobility through Software Assurance rights still exist (via SA) which allow you to put software on the servers of an “Authorised Mobility Partner” – and the Listed Providers are eligible for this.

Furthermore, when licensing SQL Server Standard or Enterprise by virtual OSE, if you have active SA you can run an unlimited number of containers containing SQL Server within that virtual OSE.

Related to this, Microsoft have made another change that will cause some issues for certain customers. Licensing a virtual machine based on the number of virtual cores now requires Software Assurance with SQL 2022 and, as that is the only option available for licensing virtual machines with SQL Server Std 2022 (i.e. you can’t license the physical hardware to then run VMs), this means that Software Assurance is a requirement if you have virtual machines with SQL Server Std per core.

Machine Learning removal

Looking at the Product terms, it appears that Microsoft have removed the rights for SQL Server Enterprise customers to use:

  • Machine Learning for Window or Linux
  • Machine Learning Server for Hadoop

PAYG licensing

Enabled via Azure Arc, this new billing model enables organisations to pay for SQL Server on a monthly or hourly basis:

The servers must be connected to Azure Arc to use this option. For 2022, the Arc connection is a default part of the setup process while for SQL 2014 and above, it will be enabled via a capability within the Azure portal which is, according to Microsoft, coming soon. This seems to suggest that PAYG isn’t available with SQL 2012 or earlier which makes sense, given they’re all out of support.

See more on SQL PAYG here and the pricing is here.

New pricing

Microsoft have confirmed that SQL Server 2022 Standard, Enterprise, and Web pricing will increase by 10% from January 2023 – including public sector.

Microsoft global price increases in 2023

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Microsoft price increases are coming – again. They have announced they will be performing “price harmonisation” in 2023 – where they will be bringing local currency pricing in line with US Dollar (USD) pricing. They say this is to give customers “more consistent pricing”, but I’d say it mainly to stop organisations purchasing in regions other than their primary location.

They state that some products in some regions are up to 40% cheaper than the US pricing and I believe the Euro is around 15% cheaper. Once the initial adjustment is made, Microsoft will continue the process on a 6-monthly cadence going forward to keep ensuring local pricing doesn’t drift too far from USD again. They do say that prices will be “aligned up or down” so it will be interesting to see what happens to pricing in regions such as Australia that typically pay more than USD for more products.

While the focus of the announcement is cloud pricing, on-premises software pricing will also be affected although Microsoft will consider “local and regional market dynamics including competition, business models, local currency rates and local inflation” – which includes rising energy costs.

More changes for Japan & Korea

Alongside the above, Microsoft have also revealed they will be revising pricing across all products (on-premises and cloud) in Japan & Korea from April 1, 2023. The increases are as follows:


  • On-premises = 20% increase
  • Online services = 15% increase

See Japanese announcement here.


  • On-premises = 15%
  • Online services = 11%

Future impact

Those of you with long-term contracts such as Enterprise Agreements won’t be affected until your renewal (or if you add new products) but now is the time to start planning how this will alter budgets over the next few years. Also, don’t forget the O365/M365 price increases in March 2022 that will also kick in on certain products you may have on your contract.


An announcement on Jan 5th, 2023 for price increases across GBP, EUR, DKK, NOK, SEK currencies.

Sign up to my monthly Microsoft newsletter here.

Microsoft Product Terms: November 2022

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This month we’ve 2 new M365 data related SKUs:

M365 Advanced Data Residency
M365 Cross-tenant User Data Migration

There is also the removal of:
Microsoft Threat Experts
SharePoint Advanced Management Plan 1

The SharePoint SKU was only added last month but there was very little info available, so it seems likely it was added in error. Let’s see if/when it reappears.

A nice addition – Azure Active Directory Basic now allows unlimited SSO (Single Sign On) – the previous limit was 10 apps so à really significant change.

There is a 50% off promo for Defender for Endpoint on EA from Nov 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023

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