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What is Microsoft Fabric?

By May 23, 2023 May 26th, 2023 No Comments
What is Microsoft Fabric?

Every year, Microsoft Build is chock-full of exciting announcements. While that’s certainly true this year, one we’re particularly interested in is Fabric.

So, what exactly is it? In Microsoft’s words, “Fabric is a set of investments for the next version of Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Explorer (Kusto), Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI. It brings all of these capabilities together into a single unified analytics platform experience that goes from the data lake to the business user.

Fabric will cover the complete spectrum of services including data movement, data lake, data engineering, data integration & data science, observational analytics, and business intelligence. 

With Fabric, there is no need to stitch together different services from multiple vendors. Instead, the customer enjoys end-to-end, highly integrated, single offering that is easy to understand, onboard, create, and operate.”  

Our take on what this means

Microsoft has made significant investments to reimagine the approach to building out the “Modern Data Platform”. As we know, analytics architectures can be complex and fragmented. Integration across services can be fragile and expensive to set up. Microsoft has built great products (Data Factory, Synapse, Data Factory, Power BI, etc.) to help solve these complex data problems but significant time can be spent integrating these services together to meet the needs of an organization.

Fabric wraps these services together into a SaaS-driven analytics suite. This suite enables you to easily collect your data into a Data Lake to be transformed and published out to the business community to drive insight through Power BI reporting as quickly and efficiently as possible.

How will it benefit you?

One of the primary advantages of Fabric is that it reduces the time and effort required to set up, manage and configure individual data services spread across your organization. With less time spent on service set up, more time can be spent driving insight, leading to better business outcomes.

What we’re most excited about

The release of Fabric boasts numerous compelling features, including the highly anticipated Git integration for source control and “Direct Lake Mode,” a new data connectivity mode for Power BI.

Direct Lake Mode –

As data sizes grow, the decisions for how to best keep your datasets refreshed in Power BI become more critical.

You may have started with a relatively small dataset when your reports were first published to satisfy a set of minimum viable product requirements (MVP Release). As time goes on, data size will typically grow through new data source onboarding, new reporting requirements, and the natural availability of more data captured. What once was a dataset refresh process in Power BI that took a handful of minutes may now take significant time.

In today’s world, you’ve been limited to the two connectivity modes in Power BI: Direct Query or Import Mode. Direct Query mode can be slow, but it reads data in real time from the source. Import mode is faster in terms of serving data up within reports, but it’s latent and duplicative because it requires a copy of the data to be imported into the Power BI service.

Enter Direct Lake Mode: A new engine capability to analyze large sets of data in Power BI. This is made possible by leveraging the power of the existing Vertipaq engine that has been adapted to read Delta Parquet file format directly out of the Lake House. Direct Lake mode combines the advantages of both modes, reading data directly out of the Data Lake and loading into memory. You no longer have to worry about the time it takes to “Import” your data into the Power BI service to keep it refreshed or managing expensive Analysis Services tabular models to “Direct Query” your data.

Direct Lake Mode

Git Integration –

Out of the box source control in Power BI has been a highly anticipated feature request of the Power BI community for several years. With Fabric we now have the capability to not only manage Power BI assets but all Fabric components directly connected to an Azure DevOps Git Repository.

Want to learn more?

Microsoft Fabric was just announced in public preview, and we expect to see many improvements in the near future and beyond. Keep an eye out for future posts diving deeper into each of these new features in Fabric as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, if you’d like to start digging into Fabric to determine how your organization can take advantage of its new capabilities, reach out. We’re happy to walk through how to set up and get started with the public preview version. Contact us at info@invisocorp.com, we’re happy to help.

Kevin Sherman

Author Kevin Sherman

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