Microsoft Fabric is general available, when and why should you care?

23 November 2023
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On November the 15th at the Microsoft Ignite event, Microsoft Fabric has been announced to be general available. This is a milestone many people and organizations have been waiting for since the public preview announcement in May 2023. At Datashift we have been following Microsoft Fabric since the very first moment of its announcement, check out our blog post from back then. At first, of course we were quite excited, but we always stayed down-to-earth and tried to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this new product. We wanted to find out how we can help our partners with their data questions with Microsoft Fabric. Since then, we have been doing a plenty of study, trial and error. And we do got lots of questions and answers about Microsoft Fabric. The platform is (and will be) under continuous development, and many new great features will be released in the next period. For specific environments and ditto use cases, critical features are still missing today, however Microsoft announced they will come sooner rather than later.

With the general availability of Microsoft Fabric, the new reservation pricing model, and a wave of newly released features, the platform is ready to be deployed in your organization. But how what is the possible impact of deploying a product like Fabric? Why should you or your organisation care? At Datashift, we are optimistic about the general availability and its impact. With a realistic view, we thought about the added value this can create for our projects... And we are willing to share our thoughts. 

In this blog post we give you reasons to consider starting with Microsoft Fabric and defines when Fabric should be added to your data roadmap. This all depends on your current landscape. Here are 3 possible situations when you should definitely check our Microsoft Fabric.

When Azure Synapse Analytics is already in the landscape

Microsoft has officially announced that there are no current plans to retire Azure Synapse Analytics, users can rest assured. However, from a product point of view, we expect that over time, fewer (or no) investments will happen in Synapse, but in Fabric instead. It is clear that Fabric is Microsoft’s new flagship for modern data platforms and that sooner or later there will be a momentum that it will be better to migrate to Fabric for any reason. We recommend to put the migration of your Azure Synapse Analytics environment to Fabric on your data roadmap now.

Microsoft Fabric, as a unified data platform with its combined experiences, will offer features and integrations that will not exist or are hard to develop in Azure Synapse Analytics. Think about Fabric in your data roadmap when some particular features are missing in Azure Synapse Analytics today. You are sparked by the new released features in Fabric, or you like the idea of a unified data platform instead of creating a single component with different pricing in Azure and/or Office 365.

When Power BI is already in the landscape

Microsoft Fabric is built with the same interface as that is used in Power BI, therefore, it makes Fabric easily accessible in Power BI-enabled environments. Power BI is one of the experiences that exist in Microsoft Fabric, and thus Power BI (Premium) is included in Fabric pricing and can also leverage the unified storage named OneLake. When Power BI is in the landscape, a move to Fabric should be considered when...

  • you are considering starting to use Power BI Premium, or if you are already using Power BI Premium, and when you have a new modern data platform on the roadmap.
  • you are struggling today with high volumes of data and data processing in Power BI is taking a long time, the Direct Lake connection to OneLake will come to the rescue.

When you are looking for a new, scalable, and future-proof data platform

As was said in the previous topic, Fabric is the new flagship of Microsoft, and you will be secured for the future to have a sustainable platform. When you are looking for a new, scalable, and future-proof data platform in the Microsoft ecosystem, there is no doubt to choose Microsoft Fabric. When you are not sure yet about which technology to use for building a new data platform, but your organization is Microsoft-minded, or you are also planning to use (or already using) Power BI, then Microsoft Fabric is a very good candidate. 

With some great integrated experiences available in Microsoft Fabric, the platform is able to act as ONE, which is the key message. To illustrate this better, we can go seamless to our Top 3 most favorite functionalities in Microsoft Fabric. Of course, the top 3 are also very applicable to the previously explained “whys”.

Our Top 3 functionalities in Microsoft Fabric

  1. All-in-one analytics solution: Fabric covers everything from data movement to data science, real-time analytics, and business intelligence, … thanks to the existence of different experiences all on the same platform. Switching from one experience to another is very convenient since they are all integrated into the same interface.
  2. OneLake: Your OneDrive for all your data. All personas are using the same data in the same lake, which is makes data movements unnecessary when switching from one experience to another. Also, thanks to Shortcuts, we are able to make a sort of virtual lake in Fabric and unify data across (business) domains. Soon a new component called OneSecurity will be plugged on top of OneLake as well, which will become a key factor in securing your data, in our opinion.
  3. Direct Lake mode in Power BI: Read data directly from the data lake without having to query, import, or duplicate data. The semantic layer will be available right on top of your OneLake. However, today there are still some limitations to this functionality, but we are expecting this to be solved by Microsoft soon. In its end state, it is supposed to work on the analogy of Analysis Services. This will become a game changer for fast and swift reporting on massive amounts of big data.

The reason why we have picked out these particular functions is because we believe they can solve many problems that many organizations are facing today: having a need for centralized and governed data security, handling and scaling the amount of big data, doing reporting on top of this big data without delays, using the same data for multiple purposes without the need for copying the data, doing real-time analytics,… We can come up with many more reasons, but it is clear that it can be concluded that thanks to this new unified, integrated, and scalable modern data and analytics platform, doors to a new world are opening. With a down-to-earth view, Datashift can help your organization identify whether your use cases or burning problems could benefit from Microsoft Fabric.

Money time, what will Microsoft Fabric cost?

Since Microsoft Fabric was announced in June 2023, there has only been a pay-as-you-go licensing mode possible, which allows you to dynamically scale your capacity easily. However, the downside of this is that the costs may become unpredictable.

With the general availability of Microsoft Fabric, a new reservation pricing model has been announced. With reservation pricing, you can pre-commit Fabric Capacity Units for one-year increments. Thanks to this, the costs will become predictable, and you will save up to 41% compared to pay-as-you-go licensing, considering the Fabric capacity won’t be paused and will run 24/7. You also have to consider the small cost of storage per GB on OneLake. If you are using Power BI, some Power BI Pro licenses will be required additionally. The required number of Power BI Pro licenses depends on the Fabric SKU that you have chosen, whether you have Office 365 E5 licenses, and the number of users in your organization. Datashift can support you in making the right decision in Fabric and Power BI licensing.

More information about Microsoft Fabric pricing can be found on the Microsoft Azure website.

We hope that this information can put you on the right track and you see the opportunities that lie ahead in Microsoft Fabric. If you do have some extra questions, do not wait to reach out! We are always ready to help.