Microsoft Fabric: How to Say Goodbye to Siloed Analytics
Businesses breathe data. In recent years, leveraging data has become a necessity–like Oxygen–for businesses to survive in the short term and succeed sustainably in the long run.
However, the data teams are exposed to a huge number of challenges that come along while dealing with an ever-accumulating volume of data. Most of the time, leveraging data for analytics and decision-making is not as straightforward as we all wish it to be.
The source data resides in the raw format at one place, the modeling and transformations happen at another place, the visualizations are created in one environment, and the datasets and reports are published in another experience. All these activities are done on top of adapting to compliance, governance, and security. It’s all just scattered.
The data teams are juggling multiple balls at a time to perform siloed analytics by stitching together a multitude of solutions/platforms with the goal of creating an automated and effective analytics ecosystem.
Microsoft introduced Fabric as a simple, efficient solution to mitigate these pain points and provide a unified experience for users.
In this blog, we’ll discuss Microsoft Fabric and how you can leverage the platform to say Goodbye to siloed analytics.
What is Microsoft Fabric?
Microsoft Fabric is a SaaS data analytics platform that empowers organizations to unlock the full potential of data and lay a solid foundation for AI integration.
The Fabric not only covers self-service analytics and data science but also syncs the data engineering, data warehousing, and security parts, all in a single cloud portal.
In fact, it is an end-to-end or turnkey analytics solution. Making this a reality with the convenience of accessing through a browser is a massive leap towards simplifying data analytics for organizations. Kudos to Microsoft!
But how did Microsoft get this accomplished? Without further delay, let’s dive into the details of each of the Microsoft Fabric components.
Components of Microsoft Fabric
The Microsoft Fabric is a bundle of seven different platforms that run on three foundational components.
The seven platforms are listed below
- Azure Data Factory
- Synapse Data Engineering
- Synapse Data Science
- Synapse Data Warehouse
- Synapse Real-time Analytics
- Power BI
- Data Activator (in limited private preview)
The foundational components are
1. Azure Data Factory
The Azure Data Factory can handle billions of rows of data with ease. It’s backed by a sophisticated compute setup and a powerful transformation engine.
As a component of the Microsoft Fabric, the Data Factory is a great source of relief, especially for data scientists folks who are more vulnerable to performance frictions caused by large datasets.
The Data Factory has built-in connectors even for non-Microsoft platforms, such as Amazon S3. There are recent announcements that Microsoft is building a connector for Google Cloud as well!
This page is a perfect launchpad to get started with the Data Factory for Fabric.
2. Synapse Data Engineering
The Synapse Data Engineering component facilitates creating and managing lakehouses. The users can easily create no-code data pipelines to support both ETL and ELT processes and ingest and prepare data with ease.
The Data Engineers can also use their preferred language to get the job done – be it Python, R, and Scala. The Data Engineering component comes with a Notebook option that allows users to create/share documents with code, visualizations, and more.
The data masking features in Synapse, along with necessary provisions to implement Row-level or Column level security, relieve the Data Engineers of the potential Data Security challenges.
3. Synapse Data Science
The Synapse Data Science component enables
the Data Scientists folks to securely connect and work with the data prepared by the Data Engineering teams.
The built-in ML tools include MLFlow Model and experiment tracking and the SynapseML Spark library. The Synapse Data Science component streamlines the Predictive Analytics projects.
The entire Data Science workflow, from Problem identification to data discovery, modeling to operationalizing, is covered by the Synapse Data Science component. Further, everything required for the end-to-end workflow, be it code generation, data wrangling, experimenting, data enrichment, or support for R language, is included in the Synapse Data Science component.
4. Synapse Data Warehouse
The Synapse Data Warehouse components enable users to store data at scale. With massive computing power, users can experience a significant improvement in query performance.
The component also facilitates cross-database querying from any source. Further, the storage and compute are separated to allow organizations to scale near instantaneously.
The Synapse Data Warehouse comes with autonomous workload management that scales up/down automatically, eliminating the need for manual monitoring tasks.
5. Synapse Real-time Analytics
The Synapse Real-time Analytics component in the Microsoft Fabric facilitates real-time streaming analytics. This can be applied to numerous use cases such as supply chain, asset tracking, predictive maintenance, and cybersecurity.
The Real-time Analytics include an Eventstream feature for capturing and routing real-time events (including from IoT sensors) to the required destinations without writing code. It comes with a KQL database for storage, which in turn can be accessed in the OneLake for sharing with the other Fabric components. The KQL Queryset enables users to query the data in the KQL database and analyze the results.
6. Power BI
The Microsoft Fabric is incomplete without Power BI. Users experience all the impressive features of Microsoft Fabric’s back-end components through the client-facing Power BI component.
Most businesses are already using Power BI as it facilitates self-service analytics at scale. Even the business users of Power BI are excited about creating dashboards and reports on their own in Power BI due to its simplicity, intuitiveness, and ease of use!
By signing up for Microsoft Fabric, organizations can seamlessly integrate Power BI with all the other Fabric components.
7. Data Activator (in limited private preview)
The 6 components discussed above existed before the introduction of Fabric. In simple terms, they are now aligned to work together through Fabric. But Data Activator is a newly introduced component of Microsoft Fabric.
Data Activator is all about automating certain actions when the data meets trigger criteria. For example, if the sales are above 50% of the target, it can be used as a trigger to automatically alert the Finance Head to approve an appropriate increase in the R&D spend.
It saves a lot of time by eliminating the need for manual efforts. The Data Activator is in a limited private preview at the time of writing this post. You can sign up for the preview from here!
Now, let’s take a look at the foundational components.
1. One Lake
One Lake is Fabric’s Data Storage component that can be used for an entire organization. Each tenant can have only one One Lake.
It resonates well with the ‘single source of truth’ concept as all your data, be it structured, semi-structured, or unstructured, lives here as a part of the Microsoft Fabric account!
The data you deal with as a part of Microsoft Fabric’s warehousing lakehouses are
all automatically stored in the organization’s one lake account.
The OneLake is automatically provisioned when your organization signs up for Microsoft Fabric. There’s no need to set it up separately.
If you introduce the Microsoft Fabric to Data Security teams, they are probably going to be excited and
say ask, “All this is good, but how do you secure the data?”.
Data security and compliance cannot be compromised at any cost. Microsoft has the Purview component weaved into the Fabric to address these concerns.
Security teams can easily gain visibility to all the data in one place, safeguard the data in the Microsoft Fabric, and meet the necessary compliance standards.
Microsoft Copilot also lives within the Fabric ecosystem. This helps you to ask questions in Natural Language and get answers in seconds instead of navigating to multiple screens to find the answer.
How to activate Microsoft Fabric Trial?
Are you already using Power BI? Then congratulations! You already have a 60-day trial of Microsoft Fabric.
You may just have to request your Power BI admin to activate the Fabric in the Tenant or Capacity settings by following the appropriate steps from here.
With Microsoft Fabric, data teams can now focus more on insights rather than spending a major chunk of their time and resources in the overhead steps preceding the actual data analysis part!
And here’s the beauty of Microsoft Fabric. You can pay a single bill for all the components and have a unified experience.
No more paying multiple bills for each tool!
Further, businesses can say Goodbye to siloed analytics and streamline analytics at significantly shorter turnaround times. Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.
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