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Choosing Between Synapse and Fabric Link for Your Data Projects

Introduction Dynamics 365 ERP Data & Fabric

In the domain of data management and analytics, choosing the right tools and platforms can significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of your projects. As Microsoft Dynamics customers who used Export to Data Lake are looking forward to migrating to Synapse/Fabric Link, customers with new implementations also must decide how best to access data from their ERP.

One common dilemma faced by all is deciding between Synapse Link and Fabric Link for their data initiatives. Both offer unique features and capabilities, but understanding their strengths and use cases is crucial for making informed decisions. Let’s delve deeper into this topic to help you navigate these options effectively.

Microsoft has provided both options to handle a wide-ranging customer base with different scenarios influencing what may work for individual organizations. It is important to understand the difference in both options which helps decide better on what option will work better for you.

Comparison of Synapse Link and Fabric Link for data

Synapse Link

  • Data refresh frequency ~ 15 min
  • Ability to sync selected tables/entities
  • Recommended for Medium to Large enterprises
  • Data is stored in the Data Lake (~$26/TB/Month)
  • Spark pools for Delta conversion ($626 - $4176/Month)
  • Uses synapse serverless for analysis/querying
  • Can create shortcuts to Fabric 

Fabric Link

  • Data refresh frequency ~ 60 min
  • All tables are selected by default in fabric link
  • Recommended for enterprises which are not data driven
  • Parquet data is stored in Dataverse($40/GB/Month). (i.e. $40,000 / TB/Month as compared to Data Lake Storage)
  • Consumes fabric capacity for analysis/querying (Additional Fabric capacity cost applied)

Factors Influencing Your Choice

Now knowing the difference between both options at a high level, let's look at what may be the best option for you.

Data Volume and Complexity

  • Synapse Link: Ideal if you deal with data volumes beyond 100GB or require complex data transformations and analytics.
  • Fabric Link: Suitable if data volume is low or if sophisticated, data-driven analysis is not a priority. Simple reporting and data queries suffice.

Performance Requirements

  • Synapse Link: Provides data storage in Lake with Parquet format, leveraging big data tools and technology for optimal performance.
  • Fabric Link: Adequate for lower data volumes and queries that can tolerate relaxed performance metrics, offering a low-cost option with data storage in Dataverse.

Data Engineering and Transformation

  • Synapse Link: Best for extensive data engineering, such as building a data warehouse and merging data from multiple sources.
  • Fabric Link: Less flexible in this regard, as data is stored in Dataverse, making merging with multiple sources in Fabric suboptimal.

Cost Considerations

  • Synapse Link: Potentially more cost-effective for organizations with significant data processing needs and complex analytics requirements.
  • Fabric Link: Higher storage costs in Dataverse but may be more economical for small-scale data needs and basic analytics.

Use Cases and Recommendations

Synapse Link

Ideal for data-driven organizations with complex data processing, analytics, and reporting needs. Recommended for projects involving:

  • Multiple data sources
  • Data integration
  • Data warehousing
  • Advanced analytics scenarios

Fabric Link

Suitable for organizations with smaller data footprints or those needing quick access to data for reporting, visualization, and basic analytics. Recommended for:

  • Low-code or no-code environments
  • Simplicity and ease of use

Implementation Strategies

Migration from Export to Data Lake

If transitioning from Export to Data Lake to a more robust data platform, consider leveraging Synapse Link for enhanced data processing, analytics capabilities, and scalability.

Fabric Shortcut for Azure Data Lake

Explore opportunities to expose Azure Data Lake data to Fabric using shortcuts, leveraging the strengths of both services. This can reduce storage costs and mitigate potential performance lags in complex data warehouses and data merged from multiple applications and legacy systems.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between Azure Synapse Link and Fabric Link depends on various factors, but a better strategy is to assess your current and future needs; and decide based on that. Assess your project requirements, consult with data experts, and leverage Microsoft's ecosystem to implement the most suitable solution for your organization's data projects. Whether you opt for Synapse Link or Fabric Link, Azure provides robust tools and services to drive successful data initiatives and analytics-driven insights.

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