Integrating your existing products, such as Synapse and Power BI, will help companies mix workloads and reduce IT integration cost, complexity and costs.
senior writer,infoworld |
Microsoft is combining its existing data warehousing, business intelligence and data analytics products into a single offering, called Microsoft Fabric, the company announced Tuesday.
Analysts said this could help companies mix workloads while reducing cost, complexity and IT integration costs.
The launch of a unified data analytics platform in the form of Microsoft Fabric can be seen as a "resend" of the massive proliferation of products in a company's modern data stack, according to Sanjeev Mohan, principal analyst at SanjMo.
"Microsoft realized that their customers were looking to reduce integration costs and complexity. It's not that customers don't want to use it, but they are looking for better value for their IT investment," Mohan said, adding that if Fabric can deliver the right results, then it might be the "right" strategy for the public cloud service provider. .
In addition to reducing IT complexity, Fabric can also help reduce costs, Mohan said.
"An integrated solution should cost less than a collection of the best specialized solutions. The pre-integrated structure also reduces integration costs and the skills required to learn different tools," the lead analyst explained.
Microsoft also claims that buying and managing resources with Fabric is simpler.
"Customers can purchase a single data pool that powers all Fabric workloads. Universal compute capabilities significantly reduce costs, since any unused compute capacity in a workload can be used by any of the workloads," the company said in a statement.
Raw data, whether transactional, operational or otherwise, must go through steps such as sourcing, extraction, migration, integration, cleansing, modeling and cataloging before it becomes valuable information, according to Forrester Principal Analyst Boris Evelson.
"Typically, some of the technologies that support each of the steps come from different vendors, and the data or analysts have to spend time integrating," Evelson said, adding that while Fabric doesn't completely eliminate the The need to integrate components does reduce integration time and effort, allowing data and analytics users to focus more on solving business problems and addressing business opportunities.
Microsoft Fabric provides seven core services and tools
According to the company, Microsoft Fabric uses a unified architecture to provide asoftware as a service (SaaS)expertise for developers to help extract insights from raw data and present it to business users.
The new analytics suite comes with seven core modules and toolsets, including data connectors, data engineering tools, data workflows for data science, and analytics tools, among others, he added.
A module currently in public preview, Data Factory, provides over 150 connections to cloud and on-premises data sources, enabling a drag-and-drop experience for data transformation along with the ability to orchestrate data pipelines, the company said.
Microsoft has also included the Synapse Data Engineering module, also in public preview, which helps with modeling.spark apache, He said.
Fabric also includes Synapse Data Science, a comprehensive workflow for data scientists to build sophisticated AI models, and Synapse Data Warehousing, which combines data warehousing and lakehouse tools with the ability to run SQL on open data formats, the company said. Both are in public preview.
Another still-public preview is the Synapse Real-Time Analytics module, which will allow developers to work with streaming data and analyze large amounts of semi-structured data, Microsoft said.
In addition, the company also integrates aenergy BIModule in Fabric to help business analysts and business users of a company to generate insights from data with the support of AI-based tools.
The Power BI experience is also deeply integrated into Microsoft 365, he said.
For Amalgam Insights Principal Analyst Hyoun Park, adding Power BI to Fabric closes a number of holes in Power BI that made it seem less enterprise-ready compared to analytics platforms like Qlik, TIBCO, or SAS.
Microsoft said Fabric will come with a Data Trigger module intended for real-time data detection and monitoring. You'll be able to trigger notifications and actions when you find specific patterns in the data, the company said, adding that the module was currently in private preview.
According to the company, the seven modules can be experienced incompany portal.
Azure OpenAI service added to Microsoft Fabric, Copilot coming soon
Microsoft adds itsAzure Open AI Serviceto Fabric and will soon integrate the GPT-powered Copilot into the analytics platform, the company said.
"With Copilot on Microsoft Fabric, users can use conversational languages to create data flows and pipelines, generate code and entire functions, build machine learning models, or visualize results," he added.
The addition of the Azure OpenAI service and Copilot will greatly accelerate the work that data professionals do in Microsoft Azure by breaking down many of the barriers between the solutions, said Bradley Shimmin, chief analyst at Omdia.
"It should also accelerate adoption of Microsoft's own foundational models and, frankly, the company's entire portfolio of machine learning tools," Shimmin added.
The move can also be seen as Microsoft's ongoing efforts to integrate the core APIs of the OpenAI stablecoin language model across its portfolio, Mohan said.
Companies can also combinemajor language modelsof the Azure OpenAI service along with its own data to create its own conversational language experiences, the company said, adding that Copilot was not trained on a company's tenant data.
Fabric Gains OneLake Support, Adopts Databricks Delta Table Format
All Fabric data and workloads, according to Microsoft, are stored in a SaaS, multi-clouddata lakecalled OneLake, similar to the 365 app data stored in OneDrive.
"Data is organized in a data center and automatically indexed for discovery, sharing, management, and compliance. It provides a single, unified storage system for all developers where data discovery and sharing is easy with centrally enforced security policies and settings," the company said. he said in a statement.
This helps avoid data silos as different developers provision and configure their own isolated storage accounts, the company explained, adding that OneLake enables enterprises to virtualize data lake storage on ADLS Gen2, AWS S3, and Google Storage. .
The introduction of OneLake, according to Forrester's Evelson, will make it easier for companies to create their own mini data lake in minutes instead of days or weeks.
"It is true that it will still take time to prepare the data lake for mission-critical applications, but prototyping, proof of concepts and agile development will be easier," the analyst said.
In addition, Fabric Delta deals withparquet filesas a native data format that is standard for all workloads.
"This deep commitment to a common open data format means customers only need to load data into the lake once, and all workloads can operate on the same data without having to ingest it separately," the company said. adding that this means OneLake supports structured data of any format and unstructured data.
According to Evelson, adopting the open source format can save a lot of time, effort, and storage.
“While OneLake is not itself open source, the data structure is based on an open source format called Parquet, a data format optimized for analytics. This means that a data lake, a data warehouse, and a BI platform (in this case, Power BI) will all use the exact same format, and more importantly, the same instance/version of the data,” Evelson said. .
In addition, Microsoft said it plans to introduce a universal security model for the Managed Fabric in OneLake to help enterprises manage data security across different data engines, modules, or tools.
The model will ensure that all data engines or modules apply the security model while processing queries or other tasks, the company said.
Will Microsoft be able to take advantage of Fabric?
According to analysts, the release of Microsoft Fabric could go either way in terms of adoption and popularity.
"If every business user of Office 365 gets a copy of Fabric, just like they get a copy of Power BI today with the E5 Office 365 license, it will have the same viral effect as Power BI," Evelson said.
However, Constellation Research principal analyst Doug Henschen cautioned that Fabric's success may not come overnight.
"We have to keep in mind that everything announced is still in preview, and Microsoft has a mixed track record when it comes to success in areas like data warehousing. More recently, Azure Synapse hasn't seen much adoption or recognition by part of customers like a sea platform,” Henschen said, adding that companies typically don't change data platforms quickly.
Microsoft Fabric can be compared, for example, withGoogle Data Plex,SAP DataSphereand IBM Data Fabric, the analysts said.
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