Microsoft Fabric: A new frontier for data analytics and AI

Hailed by Microsoft’s CEO and Chairman, Satya Nadella as “perhaps the biggest launch of a data product from Microsoft since the launch of the SQL Server”, Microsoft Fabric is set to redefine the current data analytics landscape. But what exactly is Microsoft Fabric and more importantly what can it do to help my organisation? That’s why I’ve written this blog to help demystify Microsoft Fabric and how it will be a game changer in your data analytics strategy.

Read the blog as written by our Data & Practice practice lead, Alberto Mernios to find out more..

What is Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric is an all-in-one analytics solution that covers everything from data movement to data science, real-time analytics and business intelligence. Built on a foundation of Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, it takes simplicity and integration to a whole new level. Fabric brings together new and existing components from Power BI, Azure Synapse, and Azure Data Factory into a single integrated environment and these components are then presented in various customised user experiences.

 Harnessing the era of AI

Fabric will undoubtedly become a game changer for many businesses looking to build a modern-data strategy and unlock the potential of their data, whilst fuelling AI innovation.

Generative AI experiences like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot have been taking the world by storm over the past 12 months. Data is the foundation on which AI is built and the simple fact is, AI is only as good as the data it’s based on. As we enter a future built on AI, businesses are recognising that they need a data estate capable of fuelling AI innovation, but this can be a challenging prospect when data environments have grown organically over time with specialised and fragmented solutions.

 AI has been infused into every layer of Microsoft Fabric to help every data professional get more done, faster. This is why Copilot will be introduced as a new feature of Fabric early next year allowing businesses to use natural language to create dataflows and pipelines, write SQL statements, build reports, or even develop machine learning models. Unlike Azure, which requires a customised solution, bringing Copilot and Fabric together into a complete and integrated ecosystem will allow businesses to start or advance their AI adoption strategy and take their business to the next level.  

Data Lakehouses

Data analytics has undergone several phases in the last few decades from data cubes, power BI and data warehousing to the latest one - lakehouses. Lakehouses are a hybrid of data lakes and data warehouses, which aim to combine the best features of both. For the end users, lakehouses may not make much difference in the final outputs, but for the IT industry, they can offer a faster and more efficient way of extracting and processing data from various sources.

 This can provide businesses with a single source of truth for their data-driven decisions. It is this ‘single source of truth’ that underpins Microsoft Fabric. Fuelled by OneLake, Fabric can transform timelines. Instead of the usual six, seven or even 12 months to deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), business decision makers can showcase an MVP to their internal stakeholders within two months, bringing a whole new meaning to the words, efficiency and ROI.

 Key considerations before taking the leap

Naturally, there is huge excitement in the market around Fabric but it’s still early days and there are currently some limitations that businesses need to be aware of to ensure the business case makes sense. This should never be about technology for technology’s sake.

 Ingesting data within certain business environments is a challenge. For example, if your business requires cloud to cloud ingestion and all your data is stored within AWS or Google, Fabric will work effectively. However, if your business has a hybrid estate where data is stored ‘on prem’ and on the cloud, and you want to move data back and forth, there are still some challenges and Fabric may not be the best technology for your business to adopt right now.

It’s very easy to get lost in the hype around this technology and believe that all your data problems will be sorted if you invest in Fabric now, but that is not the case. One of the core factors that businesses need to take into consideration is that they will still need an Azure infrastructure as Fabric will never replace their entire Azure estate. The two services need to work in parallel.

The Industry Sweet Spot

So, what industries could benefit from this new technology? This can depend on various factors, such as the level of innovation, the speed of change, the return on investment, and the security requirements.

 The technology industry needs to move fast and is always looking for new ways to improve products and services - Fabric is a great segue to securing a competitive edge in the market. Healthcare is also an industry that can benefit greatly from new technologies such as Fabric, to enhance diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research. Adopting new technologies with a long-term vision is crucial and you need to be prepared to invest in them and work through the issues as they arise. You aren’t likely to see a return on investment like the one you are getting in the next 15 years, so now is the time to invest in Fabric to guarantee a state-of-the-art infrastructure.

 To find out more or to speak to a member of the pre-sales team, please email or call us on +353 1 603 4300.



Back to all blogs