Microsoft recently unveiled Microsoft Fabric, a pioneering end-to-end data and analytics platform that aims to enhance data management and analytics. Built around Microsoft’s OneLake data lake, Fabric can also integrate data from Amazon S3 and (soon) Google Cloud Platform, offering a comprehensive toolset from integration to AI-based analytics, in conjunction with an easy-to-use visualization courtesy of the upgraded Power BI.
Data analytics has experienced massive innovation over the last decade. While this has introduced a plethora of new technologies, it has also resulted in a fragmented data stack, with numerous products and open-source solutions customers have to navigate. "There’s literally hundreds — if not thousands — of products and open-source technologies and solutions that customers have to make sense of," says Arun Ulag, Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Azure Data.
Addressing these challenges, Microsoft developed Fabric as a unified experience, focusing on a single data lake and a unified compute infrastructure. The result is a platform where data professionals can collaborate, IT can manage and create reliable sources of truth, and businesses can work efficiently with a unified business model.
Microsoft's Fabric adopts a multi-cloud approach with an open-source Apache Parquet format at its heart. It significantly simplifies data infrastructure, eliminating the need for businesses to deal with multiple vendors, which has been both a technical and cost-related challenge.
Ulag explains that Fabric's unified compute model efficiently utilizes purchased capacity, making it highly attractive for enterprises. Moreover, the simplified pricing model of Fabric, based on a common compute unit, aligns with today's cost-driven enterprise tech purchasing decisions.
Microsoft also emphasizes the benefits of data governance with Fabric. The platform ensures data confidentiality and security are maintained even when data is exported to other tools like Excel or Power BI.
Several components make up the Fabric system, including the Data Factory integration service, Synapse-branded data tools, and Power BI. In addition, a new no-code Data Activator service enables users to trigger actions based on real-time data. Microsoft also plans to incorporate its AI Copilot into Fabric to further simplify the process of building data pipelines, coding, and developing machine learning models.
Currently in public preview, Microsoft Fabric promises a unified and efficient approach to handling data analytics workloads, marking a significant stride in the data analytics field. Starting July 1, Fabric will be enabled for all Power BI tenants.