Meet Microsoft Fabric: its capabilities now and in the future

Jerrold Stolk
22 Nov, 2023

Microsoft Fabric is the new Microsoft service for turning data into insights. With Fabric, it is possible to make all your business data accessible for analysis. New functionalities such as Fabric's Lakehouses, Pipelines and Notebooks enable employees to extract even more value from data. This sounds great, but what can it be used for now, and what will that look like in the future? In this special Technology Blog about Microsoft Fabric, Jerrold Stolk, Technology Lead of our Data & Analytics team, answers key questions.

Q: How do I use Fabric?

A: Fabric can already be used by going to fabric.microsoft.com. A 60-day trial version can be started immediately there.

Q: What can I already do with Fabric?

A: These four components are now available and are going to have a big impact in organizations:

1. Convert data to a uniform structure with a single click

With the 'OneLake' service, data can be collected and made available for analytics. OneLake runs on powerful 'DeltaLake' functionality. This open-source technology is characterized by its performance on large amounts of data. Data, such as CSV files, can be uploaded to OneLake, and converted to this powerful DeltaLake format. This makes this data available as a table for further analysis by a variety of employees in the organization.

2. Power BI integrated with OneLake

Because of the uniform data structure created using OneLake, Power BI can use the data directly and perform analysis on it at lightning speed. This is done without loading the data into Power BI first, thanks to a new DirectLake technology.

3. Auto-create Power BI reports

Based on the data in OneLake, a report can be automatically generated and then refined. This functionality is immediately available for data in a LakeHouse in OneLake.

There are also features, such as 'Data Activator,' that are made available to a limited group. These can be requested as a 'private preview' functionality.

4. Alerts and actions with 'Data Activator'

Data Activator allows responses to events in data, which is a good addition especially with streaming data. Use of Data Activator does require an additional preview request, in addition to that of the Fabric environment.

Q: What can I do with Fabric in the future?

A: The AI (Artificial Intelligence) functionalities below will become available soon and build on the data foundation in Fabric:

AI Copilot functionality in Power BI

This functionality will allow reports to be generated through the chatbot interface. This involves not just the content, but also the design. For example, instructions like 'format this report like that HR report I created earlier'.

AI-infused development in Notebooks

To accelerate data engineering, AI is being integrated into Notebooks. Notebooks are used to transform data with Python code. The code for this can be generated, optimized or documented using AI. This will support developers even more in their work. And will lead to huge increases in productivity.

To take advantage of these new AI functionalities - once available - it is important to have and keep the OneLake environment in good order. AI is only as good as the data that goes into it, or in other words, 'garbage in, garbage out'. So start now to set up your data environment in a manageable way so that it can be used to its maximum potential.

Get ready for AI technology

Has your interest in using AI technology, including Microsoft Fabric, been piqued? We can well imagine! In fact, there are countless opportunities for implementing powerful AI technology within your organization that create real value. Find out more!

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