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  • Writer's pictureKevin O'Connor

Microsoft Fabric




What is Microsoft Fabric?


Microsoft Fabric is an end-to-end, data and analytics solution that can unify all of your organization's data and analytics in one place. It combines the best features of Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse, and Azure Data Factory into a single software as a service (SaaS) platform, improving collaboration among various data roles within an organization.

Fabric’s intention is to simplify things, so you do not have to think about all the individual components that make up the entire BI environment (data modeling, data storage, ETL, reporting, etc.). You can think of Fabric as an umbrella of existing products and services (Synapse, ADF, Power B), much like how Power BI was first introduced (Power Pivot, Power Query, Power View, etc.). Microsoft Fabric is still a work in progress as it was recently announced and is still in public preview. Look for Microsoft to continue to add many new and improved features in the coming months.

What can it do?

Microsoft Fabric has been designed to help organizations quickly extract more value from their data, which is a current challenge that many businesses face. It is common for data to become siloed, out of sync, and suffer from poor quality which can limit its usability, Microsoft Fabric addresses these issues by providing a unified platform for data management, enabling seamless collaboration among various roles within an organization. This helps foster a well-functioning data culture across the organization and helps unlock the full value of your data.

One of the main new features in Fabric is called OneLake, which is a single SaaS data lake for your entire organization. There is no need for you to create this data lake as it will be provisioned automatically with your tenant. In addition, all your workloads will automatically store their data in OneLake workspace folders in a delta format. You can think of this as a OneDrive for data. Fabric has been designed to manage your entire data ecosystem- from departmental projects as well as the large-scale data warehouses, data lakehouse and data science projects.

What does it mean for you?

Fabric will be able to empower a variety of business end users across the organization. It will be integrated into your Microsoft 365 apps for uncovering and applying insights. For example, users in Microsoft Excel can directly discover and analyze data in OneLake and generate a Power BI report with a click of a button. In Teams, users can infuse data into their everyday work with embedded channels, chat, and meeting experiences. Business users can bring data into their presentations by embedding live Power BI reports directly in Microsoft PowerPoint. Power BI is also natively integrated with SharePoint, enabling easy sharing and dissemination of insights.

Fabric will be a single platform that will let more people use the tools in an easier way. It will have one workspace and one set of licenses to simplify service offerings, so you do not have to bounce around both the Azure Portal and Power BI. When it comes to migrating to Microsoft Fabric, there will be no need to migrate anything as Power BI is already integrated into the platform.

Fabric also introduces several new features exclusively for Power BI Premium customers, including enhanced AI with Copilot and a unified data foundation with OneLake and Direct Lake mode. These new features are designed to transform how users analyze and visualize their data, thereby enhancing the overall user experience of Power BI Premium. Finally, Microsoft does a good at creating lots of training materials out there for the users so I anticipate that there will be a number of training courses and content available that can help Power BI users take their skills to the next level.

Summary


Fabric is Microsoft's latest version of their end-to-end enterprise data analytics platform. It consists of having OneLake as its central storage repository surrounded by several computing engines, Data Factory to integrate and transform data on the backend, Power BI for end-user reporting and embedded data governance capabilities to ensure an effective use of your information. . Microsoft Fabric is positioned to offer a comprehensive solution that is adaptable to meet the complex reality of the data needs for today's modern organizations.


Kevin O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Westberke Consulting who specialize in helping organizations leverage data to Improve business insights. Kevin is a senior technology professional with over 25 years of experience implementing data-driven technology solutions for organizations across diverse industries. His areas of expertise include business intelligence, data warehousing, data strategy, systems integration, business analytics, reporting and data governance.




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