Azure Logic Apps and Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) are tools from Microsoft that allow users to build custom workflows.

Each of these tools provides a robust workflow engine with a graphical front-end. Power Automate (PA) is built on top of Logic Apps and it is possible to export from a Power Automate flow and import it into a Logic App. Each provides a graphical interface to add connectors, workflow step, and control logic. Each supports an in-browser User Interface, so you don't need to install anything locally (although a VS extension lets you design workflows from within Visual Studio.) Each ships with a set of connectors to common databases, queues, APIs, and other systems, along with generic connectors to do things like calling a web service. Neither provides a great DevOps story, allowing easy integration with version control, automated testing, and automated deployment.

But there are differences. A primary difference is the way that Microsoft positions these 2 technologies: Microsoft is targeting PA at "Citizen Developers" - users with a strong knowledge of their systems and their business requirements, but without the knowledge or desire to write code. Logic Apps are targeted at developers and IT workers. As these products mature, expect PA to get more features around ease of use, while Logic App gets more focus on increased power.

Here are some other differences:

Logic Apps:

  • are hosted in Azure
  • are more scalable
  • have a code view, making it slightly easier to use source control
  • have more connectors (e.g., Liquid templates, SAP, IoT)
  • Support B2B and B2C Scenarios
  • triggers fire faster
  • have better monitoring

Power Automate flow:

  • are hosted in Office 365
  • includes a "Button" trigger for easy integration with PowerApps
  • provides some simple, common templates to get you started
  • has better SharePoint integration

When deciding between these tools, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you primarily using Azure or Office 365? Logic Apps runs in Azure; PA runs in Office 365. If you are not currently using the appropriate platform, you will need to start doing so.
  • What is the tech level of those who will be maintaining your workflows? Logic Apps are designed for tech professionals; PA is designed for business users with some tech knowledge
  • What are the scalability and performance requirements? PA can handle a lot, but the maximums are greater for Logic Apps.
  • Do many of your workflows read from and write to SharePoint? PA will probably make these easier to write.
  • With which external systems, databases, and APIs will your workflows interact? Logic Apps include access to many more connectors. Verify that the ones you need exist in the platform you choose.

One choice is to begin writing your workflows with PA; and, if you find that you need something more robust, use the import/export functionality to migrate your flows to Logic Apps and begin using that tooling.