Microsoft Build Announcements
We are excited to announce the release of Microsoft Fabric, a groundbreaking technology that empowers us to lead in the industry and deliver outstanding results. Our consultants eagerly anticipated this moment, as it allows us to build advanced data platforms for the AI era.
With Microsoft Fabric, we can assist our customers in achieving more by offering exciting new features and capabilities. Our consultants are eager to share their insights on the immense potential of this technology. Let’s dive in and hear what they have to say.
Microsoft Fabric enables consumers to manage their data in one place, reduce duplication, reduce latency and harness various skillsets and tooling preferences in a more unified and collaborative way. It brings data professionals together empowering them to develop more quickly and unlock more value from their data. All whilst enabling a greater governance and access experience for all.
The suite of analytical tools offers flexibility for citizen analysts and developers and sets up a good foundation for future analytics and AI innovations, allowing companies to stay abreast of a quickly moving technological landscape in this information age.
DirectLake and Git integration are further advances that Data Analysts would rejoice in improving performance and source control.”
Here are some of the key benefits of using Microsoft Fabric:
Holistic approach: Fabric addresses every aspect of analytics, from data movement and storage to data analysis and visualization.
Comprehensive platform: Fabric provides a wide range of capabilities, including data movement, data lakes, data engineering, data integration, data science, real-time analytics, and business intelligence.
Unified platform: Fabric is a single platform that can be used to manage all of an organization's data.
Data security, governance, and compliance: Fabric prioritizes data security, governance, and compliance. This ensures that organizations have a solid foundation for their analytics endeavors.
Some of the exciting features and functionality of Microsoft Fabric include:
Git integration for Power BI: This allows users to work on their local machine and push their Power BI changes into a remote repository to be able to work with others.
Delta Lake: This is a new storage format that is optimized for analytics workloads. It supports ACID transactions, schema evolution, and lineage tracking.
OneLake: This is a unified data lake that can be used to store all of an organization's data, regardless of its source.
Data Fabric: This is a set of services that help organizations manage their data across multiple systems and platforms. "
Several new announcements came forth, but one that stood out for me was Microsoft Fabric! Now in public preview, Fabric is a unified SaaS experience targeted at supporting Business Intelligence and Analytics community. It brings best tools of the Microsoft Data Engineering ecosystem combined with Power BI for Visualisation and Purview for Governance into a single offering. Like a Microsoft Data Engineering Swiss Army knife!
This presents a very exciting opportunity to Agile Analytics in being able to assist our customers in realizing their reporting, data visualization and analytics goals with greatly streamlined efficiency. Fewer headaches with set-up and gets straight into extracting the most valuable insights from your data!"
Direct Lake: This is probably the most groundbreaking feature for Power BI and has the potential to be an absolute game changer. In the past we have always had to make a choice between performance with Import Mode or real time queries with Direct Query. Import mode almost always wins because for most customers blazing fast insights across all their data is more critical than to the minute numbers. Even if we can live with scheduled refreshes throughout the day with import mode, we all still pine for real time querying. There have been different solutions in the past like composite models and hybrid tables which can give you some of the best of both worlds, but they still have the restrictions of direct query and require careful performance consideration. Direct Lake claims import mode level performance whilst querying your data directly in the OneLake lakehouse. This is possible because OneLake stores your data in Parquet files which have the same columnar database storage as the VertiPaq engine in Power BI. Power BI and Parquet can speak the same language as opposed to Direct Query where queries must be converted to SQL. It’s too early to tell how Direct Lake stacks up against import mode in terms of performance but the initial signs are very promising. Pricing will be another key factor.
Git integration: Source control and having multiple developers contribute to the same Power BI project has always been painful as there was nothing in place to facilitate it. You had to do things manually or turn to external tools. Now the Power BI team has introduced a new way to save Power BI projects. When you save a project as a PBIP file the entire model and all report pages are saved in a folder that can support source control and CI/CD. This is supported by the new Tabular Model Definition Language (TMDL) which was announced shortly before Build and serializes tabular model metadata from the Tabular Object Model (TOM). Perhaps not so exciting for Power BI users but its something developers have been waiting on for a long time!”
A lot of people in the tech space have already been playing with generative AI for a while now, but I think Copilot will actually enable the non-technical users to bring more to the table. In the past, a client would generally have an idea of what they want to accomplish but not always the skills to prepare a first draft of how this might look. A Consultant would then guide them through this first draft, iterate with them, and work towards a final design. Copilot will accelerate the design process by letting these stakeholders get something on the page, test their assumptions, make some tweaks and changes, and really understand what it is they are asking for. This will shift the role of the Consultant more towards the Editor and keep our focus on providing value to the client through our knowledge, expertise, and project management skills while still guiding them towards the end result. “
In particular, it’s going to be beneficial from SME’s and slightly larger firms who may not have data teams that can automate reporting across different applications.
It will be a much easier selling point to see everything sit within the service for non-technical or data savvy people.
From a marketing point of view, Power BI is a market leader in reporting and analytics. It’s well ahead of its competitors and the other cloud solution providers do not have analytic/reporting applications that are comparable.
I think Fabric is going to make it easier for firms to choose Microsoft for their data management and reporting as they will see everything bundled in the one software/service.
It’s going to further entice companies to move to the cloud, as it will allow for easy access to Azure cloud resources and analytics in the one place.
Upon initial examination, it appears that this will indeed streamline the data engineering aspect of data pipelines and storage, thereby enhancing the ability of businesses to automate processes more effectively.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not going to go away, and it appears have a number of AI features that will let business discover readily available insights from their data.”
We are busy getting ready to take our clients on their data journey with this new SaaS offering, providing them the best data landscape architecture to leverage the power of Data for their business needs."