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Limitless analytics service with unmatched time to insight (formerly SQL Data Warehouse)

  • Pros

  • All data services in one place
  • Single unified user experience
  • Easy to get started
  • Great language support
  • Industry standards
  • Good integration between services
  • Provisioned and serverless compute options
  • Active product group
  • Strong product roadmap
  • Cons

  • In public preview
  • Missing DevOps features (coming soon)

Microsoft's new unified cloud analytics platform.

Azure's vast array of data service can be overwhelming, individually they are compelling but choosing the right services and integrating them has always been the difficult part.

Azure Synapse reduces this friction by bringing together the best of Azure's existing data services along with some powerful new features and making them play together nicely. Services that you know and love include Azure Data Factory, Mapping Data Flows, Power BI and of course SQL Pools (formally SQL Data Warehouse).

What this means is that it's now possible to explore data, run experiments, develop pipelines and operationalize solutions from a single intuitive web-based UI. While it's still early days it is starting to feel like these services were finally designed to work together and we think this will become more so as the product matures.

WE are particularly excited about the new SQL Serverless option which allows you to query data stored in your storage account or data lake without the need to spin up any clusters or compute resource. You simply point your query at your data and you are charged based on the amount of data you read. What's more, almost any existing tooling that supports SQL Server will just work.

The all new Spark environment is a breeze to setup, security and sign-on is seamless and connecting to storage accounts is very straight forward. It comes with an nteract based notebook experience for documenting your experiments which feels intuative and modern. It also comes with a .NET Kernel courtesy of the excellent .Net Interactive.

Another very interesting feature is the integration with Cosmos DB. You can now perform powerful analytical queries over your application data from Azure Synapse within minutes of it arriving in your Cosmos DB collection. Setting it up is simple and once up and running, you can run analytical queries using SQL Serverless or Spark, you can even join and combine data with other data you have in your data lake.

We also love that Power BI is part of the Synapse story, bringing all the best bits of Power BI to data engineers and professionals.

Read our blog posts about Azure Synapse Analytics

Managing schemas in Azure Synapse SQL Serverless

Managing schemas in Azure Synapse SQL Serverless

James Broome

SQL Serverless in Azure Synapse provides a structured way to query your data on-demand directly from your data lake. This consumption-based, flexible approach to data warehousing provides a compelling alternative to the traditional star-schema or RDBMS, but comes with it's own set of new challenges. This post explores some of the considerations around managing schemas in a serverless world, including an approach for ensuring that your data and schema remain in sync.
How to use Azure Synapse SQL Serverless to connect Data Lake and Power BI

How to use Azure Synapse SQL Serverless to connect Data Lake and Power BI

Carmel Eve

TL;DR - Using Azure Synapse SQL Serverless, you can query Azure Data Lake and populate Power BI reports across multiple workspaces.
How to test Azure Synapse notebooks

How to test Azure Synapse notebooks

James Broome

Interactive Spark notebooks are an incredibly powerful tool for data exploration and experimentation. And in Azure Synapse, the time to (business) value is significantly decreased due to tight integration with Pipelines and monitoring tooling. But as with any software process, the need to validate business rules is important, as is ensuring that quality doesn't regress over time - especially so in such a collaborative and productive environment. This post looks at some simple ways to add testing to your Synapse Notebooks.