Microsoft Fabric is GA! The 5 Biggest Announcements

Blockbuster Announcements about Microsoft Fabric at Microsoft Ignite   

Microsoft Fabric is generally available! Microsoft Fabric went into public preview in May 2023, but we have been lucky enough to be in the private preview program working with it since November 2022. I have been waiting a long time to say that. Microsoft Fabric is GA! General availability is the signal that enterprises need to begin considering it for production workloads. The other biggest blockbuster Fabric announcements to me were:

#1 Mirroring

Imagine being able to click a button and having your Azure SQL Database suddenly appear in OneLake formatted for analytics in the Delta Lake format and updated in near real-time. This unlocks all the power of Microsoft Fabric on your data. It simplifies loading downstream dimensional models. Why? Instead of having to go get the source data, now it’s already there in OneLake. You can cross-database join in a Fabric warehouse and use the mirror in your dimensional model load stored procedures. Another common pain point is that over time the amount of expensive reporting or analytical queries run directly on your source systems can slow down an already overloaded server. Mirroring in Microsoft Fabric can efficiently and incrementally replicate those source database to the cloud which offloads those expensive analytical queries to a platform better suited for it. What types of databases can you mirror? Azure SQL DB, Azure Cosmos DB, and Snowflake. In 2024 you will be able to mirror SQL Server, Azure PostgreSQL, Azure MySQL, MongoDB, and more.

#2 Copilot for Power BI

The public preview of Copilot for Power BI is finally here! Chat a couple of sentences with Copilot and it can create a first draft of your report for you. Copilot can help you write DAX measures. Copilot usage will count against your Power BI Premium or Fabric capacity utilization just like any other Fabric workload.

#3 Import models can save to OneLake

Unless you are very new to Power BI, your organization likely has hundreds of import models in Power BI which have been carefully built over the years. Now you can flip a switch and your import model writes tables to OneLake in Delta Lake format! Why would you want to do that? It immediately unlocks the power of Microsoft Fabric on your most important data. Have you ever wanted to query your Power BI data in T-SQL? Now you can. Have you ever wanted to make it easy for data scientists to use Power BI data in their ML models? Now you can. This shouldn’t be a shortcut for proper data integrations that load data into OneLake. But it is an “easy button” to unlock existing data in Power BI for immediate use in other Fabric workloads.

#4 Microsoft Fabric Certification

Wanting to validate your skills in Microsoft Fabric? DP-600: Implementing Analytics Solutions Using Microsoft Fabric coming in in beta in mid-January 2024. In the meantime, there are several other learning options.

#5 Direct Lake mode over Fabric Warehouses

Previously Direct Lake mode (which means putting Power BI directly on top of OneLake) was only available over Fabric Lakehouses. Now Direct Lake mode works on top of Fabric Warehouses. If your team likes loading your data model with T-SQL stored procedures, then a Fabric Warehouse is your engine of choice. For more on Direct Lake, see my previous blog post about why Direct Lake is my favorite feature in Microsoft Fabric.  

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