Nov 07, 2023

Microsoft Fabric: A unified data and analytics platform for transformative insights

Simon Osborne

Simon Osborne

Microsoft Fabric: A unified data and analytics platform for transformative insights

In this blog, we provide an introduction to the Microsoft Fabric platform.

In the rapidly evolving world of data and analytics, organisations are constantly seeking solutions that can empower them to harness the full potential of their data assets. Microsoft Fabric is a platform which offers a rich set of tools that enable users to access, create, share, and visualise data, catering to a spectrum of data-related services. From data ingestion through to transformation, data engineering, data science, data warehousing, real-time analytics, and even data visualisation through Power BI, Microsoft Fabric provides the compute resources necessary for each step in the data journey. Read next: Understanding data and analytics maturity: How it’s critical to your digital success

When should organisations consider Microsoft Fabric?

Organisations experiencing the following challenges should be considering Microsoft Fabric:

  • Data Silos - organisations struggle with data residing in isolated silos, making it challenging to access and integrate data across departments.

  • Data Quality and Accuracy - Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to erroneous insights and decision-making.

  • Data Access and Collaboration - Data accessibility and collaboration among team members can be hindered by disparate systems and tools.

Now that Microsoft Fabric will go into General Availability (GA) in November, it becomes a credible option for organisations navigating the landscape of data and analytics workloads. It serves as an enabler for those in pursuit of insights from their data through several key mechanisms:

  1. Data Integration and Transformation: Microsoft Fabric simplifies the process of integrating data from various sources, whether structured or unstructured. It enables users to ingest and transform data, ensuring that data is clean, unified, and ready for analysis. This step is crucial in ensuring that the insights derived from data are accurate and actionable.

  2. Scalable Computing Resources: The platform offers scalable compute resources, allowing organisations to process data at the necessary scale. Whether dealing with small datasets or massive volumes of information, Microsoft Fabric provides the computing power needed to analyse and extract insights from your data.

  3. Data Science Capabilities: For data scientists, the platform offers a suite of tools and capabilities that facilitate advanced analytics, machine learning, and predictive modelling. This enables data scientists to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations within the data, leading to valuable insights that drive informed decision-making.

  4. Data Warehousing: Microsoft Fabric provides a robust data warehousing solution, allowing organisations to store and manage datasets securely. With this feature, users can consolidate historical and current data, making it accessible for analysis and reporting.

  5. Real-Time Analytics: Real-time data analytics is becoming increasingly important in today's fast-paced business environment. Microsoft Fabric supports real-time data processing and analytics, enabling organisations to react to changing conditions and gain insights from live data streams.

  6. Data Visualisation: The platform seamlessly integrates with Power BI, Microsoft's powerful data visualisation tool. This integration allows users to create interactive, visually attractive reports and dashboards, making it easier to communicate and share insights with stakeholders.

  7. Collaboration and Sharing: Microsoft Fabric encourages collaboration among team members by facilitating content sharing and collaborative workspaces. This ensures that insights can be harnessed and applied across the organisation.

Whether you're a data scientist, data engineer, or a business analyst, Microsoft Fabric offers a unified platform to support data-driven initiatives.

Understanding Microsoft Fabric's license model

One aspect of Microsoft Fabric is its licensing model, offering organisations flexibility and choice to suit their needs. The platform offers two primary types of licenses:

  1. Capacity licenses: Microsoft Fabric's capacity licenses provide the fundamental infrastructure for the platform. This license type allows organisations to provision compute resources that are essential for every facet of the Microsoft Fabric experience. The capacity license model is particularly useful for organisations aiming to harness the full potential of this unified data and analytics platform. It ensures that the infrastructure required for seamless data processing and analytics is readily available.

  2. Per-user licenses: In conjunction with capacity licenses, organisations need at least one per-user license to facilitate content sharing and collaboration within Microsoft Fabric. This licensing component ensures that users can access the platform and collaborate effectively on data-related tasks.

It's important to note that the flexibility inherent in Microsoft Fabric's licensing model accommodates various deployment configurations tailored to an organisation's requirements. This adaptability allows organisations to optimise their usage of the platform, ensuring they pay for the resources they need, and nothing more.

Calculating costs in Microsoft Fabric

The cost structure within Microsoft Fabric is straightforward, driven by two fundamental variables:

  1. Provisioned compute resources: The amount of compute resources an organisation provisions is a pivotal factor that influences their costs. This variable is directly linked to the organisation's capacity license.

  2. Storage utilisation: The amount of storage utilised within Microsoft Fabric also contributes to an organisation's bill. Efficient storage management is key to optimising costs in this unified data and analytics platform.

Is it fully featured and finished?

This is very much a Version 1.0 of this modern data and analytics platform. The product roadmap can be found here. This covers each of the components in the platform. Notable limitations currently include a lack of Azure Key Vault integration, and evolving GIT and CI/CD pipeline integration across the stack but these are slated for release in Q1 of 2024. Adding these features will improve its enterprise and DevOps suitability.

In summary

Microsoft Fabric is a suitable solution for organisations looking to streamline their data and analytics processes. Whether you're a data professional seeking the right tools for your analytics work, or an enterprise exploring efficient data management options, Microsoft Fabric's capabilities cater to a wide array of data-related tasks. Its licensing model, combining capacity licenses and per-user licenses, ensures that organisations can tailor their experience to their requirements, whilst the cost structure remains transparent and predictable. Microsoft Fabric is designed to empower, streamline, and optimise the realm of data and analytics, ensuring that organisations remain at the forefront of data-driven innovation.

If you're ready to embark on a data platform or transformation project, consider Microsoft Fabric as part of your data journey.

How Credera can help

At Credera, we provide invaluable guidance and support as you navigate the landscape of data and analytics. To explore the possibilities and benefits of Microsoft Fabric further, get in touch with member of our team.

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