July 26, 2023
Microsoft Fabric: What it Means for Businesses & Data Teams
Microsoft Fabric: the new and unified analytics platform in the cloud that integrates various data and analytics services, like Azure Data Factory, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI, into a single product. It’s built upon the well-known Power BI platform, covering everything from data movement to data science, real-time analytics and business intelligence. Here’s my rundown of what's in store.
- Microsoft Fabric simplifies integrating and managing multiple data services from different vendors.
- For organisations with budget to invest in improving their data, this could prove to be an excellent solution.
- It promises to deliver faster dashboards and reporting.
- Watch this space. It’s still in preview, so it’s still subject to change.
What is Microsoft Fabric?
Microsoft Fabric is a SaaS analytics platform that covers end-to-end business requirements. As mentioned earlier, it’s built upon the Power BI platform and extends the capabilities of Azure Synapse Analytics to all analytics workloads. This means that Microsoft Fabric is an enterprise-grade analytics platform.
What is an analytics platform? A software solution designed to help organisations analyse and pull meaningful insights from their data using tools, frameworks and technologies.
Who benefits from Fabric? It’s a no-brainer for businesses that already run with Power BI Premium because you get extra flexibility with extra capabilities. Any business looking to enhance its data within budget will benefit from Fabric, and it caters to every role on your data team (more on that below).
The business benefits of Microsoft Fabric
Microsoft Fabric makes the complicated life of data easier; you can easily deal with the complexity of integrating and managing multiple data services from different vendors without worrying about maintaining infrastructure and scale. You can say goodbye to cumbersome configuration and maintenance loads thanks to the SaaS characteristics of the platform, and you can have all the data capabilities you would ever need in one place.
Benefits of Fabric:
Simplicity: Easy sign-up within minutes via a single portal to access all features. No worrying about provisioning, configuring, or updating infrastructure or services.
Completeness: Address every aspect of your analytics needs. Easily get data from various sources, and analyse it using AI and ML models to gain data-driven insights that lead to fact-based decision-making and scientific predictions, helping you invest more confidently.
Collaboration: Use Microsoft Fabric to empower every team in the analytics process with the role-specific experiences they need. Data engineers, data warehousing professionals, data scientists, data analysts, and business users can work together seamlessly on the same platform and share data, insights, and best practices.
Governance: Create a single source of truth that everyone can trust, using unified governance features to manage data quality, security, privacy, compliance, and access across the entire platform.
Microsoft Fabric benefits your whole team
Microsoft Fabric enables organisations to empower various roles within their data team. Here are some of the benefits for each persona:
Data engineers can use Data Engineering tools and features to transform large-scale data. For example, you can use Spark notebooks to clean and enrich data from various sources and store it in Parquet format in your OneLake (the OneDrive for data).
Data integration developers can use the Data Factory capabilities in Microsoft Fabric to create integration pipelines with either Dataflows Gen2 or Data Factory Pipelines to collect data from hundreds of different data sources and land it into OneLake.
Data scientists can use the Data Science tools and features to build and deploy ML models using familiar tools like Python and R.
Data warehouse professionals can use the Data Warehouse tools and features to create enterprise-grade relational databases using SQL. For instance, Synapse Data Warehouse can create tables and views that join data from different sources and enable fast querying.
Business analysts can use Power BI in Fabric to gain insights from data and share them with relevant teams. You can still do everything you used to do in Power BI, and you can use real-time analytics capabilities to ingest and analyse streaming data from IoT devices or logs and query streaming data using Kusto Query Language (KQL).
A word to Analysts, Developers & Data Pros
Here’s the great thing about Fabric: all of these sophisticated tools and features are transparent to the end-users. They still access their beloved Power BI reports and dashboards as usual, but they just seamlessly get more with Fabric. They will hear less about technology limitations and have a better experience with well-performing and faster reports and dashboards.
Fabric is an exciting product that promises to simplify and enhance the analytics experience for users. Just be aware of the fact that it is currently in preview and, consequently, is subject to change.