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Meet Microsoft Fabric: its capabilities now and in the future

Jerrold Stolk
08 Apr, 2024

What is Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric is the 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: What can I do with Fabric?

A: These components of Microsoft Fabric are having a big impact on 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. Integration with Copilot and Azure OpenAI

Fabric is integrated with Microsoft's Copilot and OpenAI’s Azure OpenAI. This enables models to access up-to-date and refined data to enhance governance and monitoring that complements your prompts and add-ons.

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.

5. AI Copilot functionality in Power BI

This functionality allows reports to be generated through the chatbot interface. This involves not only content, but also formatting. Think of instructions like "format this report like that earlier HR report I created."

6. AI-infused development in Notebooks

To accelerate data engineering, Copilot 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 supports developers even more in their work. This leads to enormous increases in productivity.

To make use of these new Copilot functionalities 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, is garbage out. Therefore, start now to set up your data environment in a manageable way so that it can be used to its maximum potential.

Q: How will Microsoft Fabric support our AI strategy?

A: With more and more companies implementing (generative) AI applications, we see the demand for data modernization growing fast. GenAI applications like Copilot have the ability to understand unstructured data, which offers many opportunities to significantly increase productivity across different sectors.

The data infrastructure as offered by Microsoft Fabric provides huge benefits when rolling out GenAI and Copilot broadly, such as:

1. Easy data access

Fabric is designed as a universal data platform. You can securely and easy access data in the cloud.

2. Fabric can help standardize and organize your data

And Fabric’s shortcuts support different applications in locating the necessary data. Your teams are able to operate Copilot and AI using consistent and high quality data.

3. Reliable data will  help to build trust

Because Fabric brings all data together in one layer, it's less complicated to implement cross-company cybersecurity controls, governance and compliance. Fabric also included governance, security and transparency tool and integration with Purview.

Prepare for AI with Microsoft Fabric

Are you ready to take the first step and prepare your data for AI technology? There are countless opportunities for implementing powerful AI technology within your organization that create real value and Fabric can help you get there. Find out more!

Watch the video Microsoft Fabric: Data analytics for the era of AI

Discover how your data teams have all the tools they need with Fabric, in a unified experience that helps reduce the cost and effort of data integration, governance, and security.

Read more

On Microsoft Fabric, Data & AI opportunities

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