Microsoft Announces Fabric Data Analytics
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 01 June 2023

Microsoft has announced Fabric, a new data analytics product that combines elements of Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse, and Azure Data Factory into one unified software as a service (SaaS) platform.

Fabric was announced at Build, and is now in preview. Microsoft says Fabric provides a new unified platform for analytics that includes data engineering, data integration, data warehousing, data science, real-time analytics, applied observability and business intelligence, all connected to a single data repository called OneLake.


Fabric comes set up for seven core workloads, starting with Data Factory. This provides 150 connectors to cloud and on-premises data sources, drag-and-drop techniques for data transformation, and the ability to set up data pipelines.


The second workload is Synapse Data Engineering, which can be used for Spark and is set up with live pools. A related workload is Synapse Data Science, which provides an end-to-end workflow for data scientists to build AI models, collaborate, and train, deploy, and manage machine learning models.

Synapse Data Warehousing provides a converged lake house and data warehouse setup for use on open data formats. There's also Synapse Real-Time Analytics that can be used to work with data streams from the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, telemetry, and logs. This workload is intended for users who want to analyze massive volumes of semi-structured data.

The Power BI elements in Fabric are used for the visualization and AI-driven analytics. A Data Activator is "coming soon" to add real-time detection and monitoring of data and the ability to trigger notifications and actions when it finds specified patterns in data.

Fabric comes with a SaaS, multi-cloud data lake called OneLake that is built-in and automatically available to every Fabric tenant. Microsoft describes OneLake as being like OneDrive for Fabric, saying:

"Data is organized in an intuitive data hub, and automatically indexed for discovery, sharing, governance, and compliance."

At the API layer, OneLake is built on and fully compatible with Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 (ADLSg2). It can be used to share data between users and applications without having to move and duplicate information unnecessarily. Shortcuts allow OneLake to virtualize data lake storage in ADLSg2, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Google Storage (coming soon). Fabric treats Delta on top of Parquet files as a native data format that is the default for all workloads.

"By adopting OneLake as our store and Delta and Parquet as the common format for all workloads, we offer customers a data stack that's unified at the most fundamental level."

Fabric makes heavy use of Azure OpenAI Service, and includes Copilot, Microsoft's new artificial intelligence powered assistant. Users can use conversational language to create dataflows and data pipelines, generate code and entire functions, build machine learning models, or visualize results. Developers can also create their own conversational language experiences that combine Azure OpenAI Service models and their data and publish them as plug-ins.

Microsoft Fabric is available as a free trial version and as a preview version.


More Information

Microsoft Fabric free trial

Microsoft Fabric Website

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 01 June 2023 )