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17 min read

Prepare your data for AI innovation with Microsoft Fabric—now generally available

Over the past year, we’ve seen generative AI experiences like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot take the world by storm. These experiences have the potential to transform how we all work, enabling vast numbers of workers to delegate tasks to AI and lessen their workloads. And now with services like the recently announced Azure AI Studio, you can not only access generative AI, but build your own experiences, tailor-made for your use cases.

Creating custom AI experiences requires data—lots of it. 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 you enter a future built on AI, you need a data estate capable of fueling AI innovation across your organization. This can be a challenging prospect for most organizations whose data environments have grown organically over time with specialized and fragmented solutions.

That’s why we introduced Microsoft Fabric earlier this year. As Satya Nadella, CEO and Chairman of Microsoft, said at Microsoft Build 2023, Fabric is “perhaps the biggest launch of a data product from Microsoft since the launch of SQL Server.”

Microsoft Fabric has caught the imagination of our customers, partners, and community members. Since the preview announcement, 25,000 organizations around the world are already using Fabric today, including 67 percent of the Fortune 500. Most customers appreciate Fabric’s end-to-end value proposition, with 84 percent of companies using three or more workloads. Check out some of the early Fabric success stories with our customers:

Milliman 

“Microsoft Fabric would have been our choice from the beginning—had it only existed then. Building a democratized data platform was too big of a distraction from our focus on supporting actuaries in managing risk,”Tom Peplow, Principal and Senior Director of Technology Strategy for Life Technology Solutions, Milliman. 

Watch Milliman’s transformation with Fabric

Zeiss 

“Previewing Fabric was a great opportunity to explore features right at the beginning and to think about how we could adopt them in our organization. We soon realized it was the natural evolution for us in our data mesh journey as it provided a complete analytics service in a single offering.Markus Morgner, Head of Enterprise Data Platform and Engineering, ZEISS Group.

Watch Zeiss’s transformation with Fabric.

Ernst and Young 

“In developing and launching EY Intelligence, Microsoft Fabric has been a game changer. Our unique analytics as a service offering gives the C-suite at our client organizations cross functional transparency and on demand insights to make better and quicker decisions,”Swen Gehring, Director, Strategy and Transactions, Ernst and Young.

Watch Ernst and Young’s transformation with Fabric

Announcing the general availability of Microsoft Fabric

We are thrilled to announce Microsoft Fabric is now generally available for purchase. Microsoft Fabric can reshape how your teams work with data by bringing everyone together on a single, AI-powered platform built for the era of AI.

Watch a quick overview: 

See why we believe Microsoft Fabric will redefine the current analytics landscape:

Fabric is a complete analytics platform

Fabric combines the best of Microsoft Power BI, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Azure Data Factory to create a single, unified software as a service (SaaS) platform with seven core workloads—each purpose-built for specific personas and specific tasks. By creating a single platform with tools for every data professional in a unified experience and architecture, Fabric can reduce the typical cost and effort of integrating analytics services and help simplify your data estate. Fabric’s unified architecture simplifies billing by providing a single pool of capacity and storage that is used for every workload. It also helps you manage and protect your data more effectively with end-to-end governance and security capabilities that work across your data in Microsoft Fabric and beyond. 

Fabric is lake-centric and open

OneLake, The onedrive for data

Learn more

Fabric’s unified, multi-cloud data lake, OneLake, is automatically wired into every Fabric workload and designed to help you simplify data management and reduce data duplication. OneLake shortcuts allow you to virtualize data into OneLake from across clouds, accounts, and domains, with sources like Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 and Amazon S3—all without duplication, movement, or changes to metadata or ownership. Once enabled in OneLake, you can use domains and workspaces to organize your data into a logical data mesh and empower everyone to search across this mesh using an intuitive, personalized data hub. OneLake’s open data format means you only need to load the data into the lake once and you can use the single copy across every Fabric workload and engine, minimizing data duplication and sprawl. 

Fabric empowers every business user

Microsoft Fabric was built to help foster a data culture—enabling anyone to quickly go from data sitting in a lake to stunning Power BI visuals embedded in a Microsoft 365 app. You can more easily empower your business with capabilities like Real-Time Analytics, which can empower your teams with real-time insights with incredibly low latency. In addition, Direct Lake mode in Power BI allows users to create a real-time connection from your Power BI reports to your data in OneLake. This direct integration between Power BI and OneLake helps ensure only one copy of the data is ever created, helping you promote reuse of the best data for business users and avoid data fragmentation. This data can then easily and securely flow to the Microsoft 365 applications people use every day like Microsoft Teams, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and more to improve decision-making and drive impact. 

Fabric is AI-powered

We are infusing AI into every layer in Microsoft Fabric to help every data professional get more done, faster. With Copilot in Microsoft Fabric, you can use natural language to create dataflows and pipelines, write SQL statements, build reports, or even develop machine learning models. Today, we are excited to announce the public preview of Copilot in Fabric, starting with the Power BI, Data Factory, Data Engineering, and Data Science experiences. In Power BI, you can create stunning reports and summarize your insights into narrative summaries in seconds. In Data Factory, you can simply describe how you want to ingest and transform the data using natural language and Copilot does the rest. When working in a notebook in Data Engineering or Data Science, you can more quickly enrich, model, analyze, and explore their data. 

The preview of Copilot in Microsoft Fabric will be rolling out in stages, with the goal that customers with Fabric capacity (F64 or higher) or Power BI Premium capacity (P1 or higher) have access to the Copilot preview by the end of March 2024. You don’t need to sign up to join the preview, it will automatically become available to you as a new setting in the Fabric Admin Portal when it has rolled-out to your tenant. When charging begins for the Copilot in Fabric experiences, you can simply count Copilot usage against your existing Fabric or Power BI Premium capacity. Check out the Copilot in Fabric docs for complete instructions and requirements and don’t hesitate to contact your Microsoft representative, partner, or leave a comment in the Fabric Community site if you have any questions. 

Let’s take a look at the latest features and integrations we are announcing in each of these areas. 

Microsoft Fabric

Bring your data into the era of AI

Let’s take a look at the latest features and integrations we are announcing in each of these areas.

Complete analytics platform: Govern and protect your Fabric data

Image showing the icons for the seven workloads of Fabric including Data Factory, Synapse Data Engineering, Synapse Data Warehouse, Synapse Data Science, Synapse Real-Time Analytics, Power BI, and Data Activator . Underneath the workload icons is the icon for OneLake with the text "Unified data foundation" and the icon for Microsoft Purview with the text "Comprehensive security and governance"

Over the past few years, organizations have seen a massive increase in their digital footprint, leading to data fragmentation, growth, and blind spots across their data estate. When we announced the preview of Microsoft Fabric, we shared an array of administration, governance, and security capabilities in Fabric to help provide visibility across your tenant, insights into usage and adoption, and tools to secure and govern your data end-to-end.

We are now announcing an expansion of these governance and security capabilities through tighter integration with Microsoft Purview. In Fabric, you can now manually apply Purview Information Protection sensitivity labels to classify sensitive Fabric data—a familiar concept to the millions of Microsoft 365 users who employ these labels every day. We’ve also simplified audits by automatically capturing user and system operations in Microsoft Purview audit logs. Both sensitivity labels, and the audit integration are now generally available.

In addition to integrating Purview data security and compliance capabilities throughout Fabric, we are also infusing Fabric artifacts into the Microsoft Purview Data Map. The Data Map is automatically provisioned and attached to every Fabric instance by default; no set-up required. You can browse and search your Fabric and other assets across your data estate in the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog. For easy access to all these Purview capabilities, we’ve created a centralized page called the Purview Hub, currently in public preview, which serves as a gateway to Purview and contains insights into item inventory, sensitive data, and endorsement. Read the Fabric GA announcement blog to read about these features in more detail.

Lake-centric and open: Seamlessly connect your data sources to Fabric

The modern data estate spans multiple clouds, accounts, databases, domains, and engines, making it hard to gain insights from your data. With Microsoft Fabric, we’ve simplified how you bring data into OneLake through two key Fabric capabilities: Shortcuts and a new data replication capability called Mirroring.

Shortcuts enable your data teams to virtualize data in OneLake without having to move and duplicate it. You can use shortcuts to combine your data—spread across different clouds, accounts, lines of businesses, and domains—into a virtualized data product tailored to your specific needs. We are excited to announce the general availability of shortcuts for OneLake, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2, Amazon S3, and Microsoft Dataverse. Furthermore, we’ve added features like “Link to Microsoft Fabric” in Power Apps that directly link Dynamics 365 and Power Platform data to Fabric. These links empower low-code app builders to quickly explore their data and drive action from insights.

Image showing icons for the seven workloads of Fabric including Data Factory, Synapse Data Engineering, Synapse Data Warehouse, Synapse Data Science, Synapse Real-Time Analytics, Power BI, and Data Activator. Underneath the workload icons is the icon for OneLake. Underneath the OneLake icon are three boxes, one for Azure, Amazon and Google. The image shows different services for Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google connecting their data to OneLake, shown with arrows.

We are also excited to announce Mirroring, a new, frictionless way to add and manage existing cloud data warehouses and databases in Fabric’s Synapse Data Warehouse experience. Mirroring replicates a snapshot of the database to OneLake in Delta Parquet tables and keeps the replica in sync in near real time. Once the source database is attached, features like shortcuts, Direct Lake mode in Power BI, and our universal security model work instantly. We will soon enable Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL DB, Snowflake, and Mongo DB customers to use mirroring to access their data in OneLake, with more data sources coming in 2024.

Finally, we are also making it easier to analyze the vast amount of work data you have in Microsoft 365 with native integration into Microsoft Graph, the unified data model for products like Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, Viva Insights, and more. Previously, Microsoft 365 data was only offered in JSON format, but it’s now also offered in Delta Parquet format for easy integration into OneLake.

With your data in OneLake, you can use domains, sub domains, and workspaces to organize your data into a logical data mesh. Doing so allows for federated governance and granular control while empowering everyone to find data using an intuitive, personalized data hub. Learn more about how you can optimize your data organization in OneLake here.

Empower every business user to work with data

Fostering a culture that empowers everyone to work with data and find data-driven answers to their questions is a vision shared by organizations around the world. And you can see why when data-driven organizations continually out-perform their counterparts. Organizations often start with business intelligence (BI) tools like Power BI which can provide the business with powerful insights and visuals. But achieving this vision requires more than just the right BI tool; it requires a well-orchestrated data estate that minimizes data fragmentation and makes it easy for business users to find continually up-to-date, accurate data. By combining Power BI and OneLake, your data estate finally has the tools you need to realize the goals of your data culture.

In May 2023, we announced Direct Lake mode in Power BI, now generally available, which provides a blazing fast, real-time connection to your data—ensuring only one copy of the data is created and your report is always up to date. We are announcing an expansion of Direct Lake mode to support Power BI semantic models on Fabric Warehouses, generally available, and stored credentials for Direct Lake semantic models, in public preview. Stored credentials will enable you to apply row-level security (RLS) on Direct Lake datasets, ensuring users can only access the data for which they are authorized. For those working with import-mode semantic models using the large semantic model storage, we are announcing the public preview of OneLake integration—enabling you to add your import-mode semantic models to OneLake and use it with other Fabric workloads.

Beyond enhancing our connection with OneLake, we are also announcing a set of new tools that make it even easier for business users to uncover the insights they need. This includes the public preview of Explore, a new feature that helps you learn more about your semantic model without building a report and DAX Query View which provides BI developers with an easier way to use DAX queries. You can learn more about all these announcements by reading the Power BI at Ignite blog.

AI-powered: Prepare your data for game-changing AI

Generative AI represents not just the next generation of AI, but one of the biggest changes in computing in the last decade. As Satya Nadella put it at Microsoft Build 2023, “We went from the bicycle to the steam engine with the launch of ChatGPT.” Turn-key AI solutions like Copilot are already having an immediate impact on the productivity of adopters by helping them focus on higher value activities. As mentioned above, we are thrilled to announce that Copilot in Microsoft Fabric is now in public preview, including the experiences for Power BI, Data Factory, Data Science, and Data Engineering. Learn more about Copilot in Fabric here.

However, these out-of-the-box solutions are only the beginning of the benefits generative AI can have on your organization. Organization-specific, or even team-specific, use cases can help your employees scale in amazing ways. These custom experiences require two key ingredients: a data platform that can help you unify, prepare, and model your data and an AI platform that can utilize this data with break-through AI models. Microsoft now has the ideal answer to both requirements: Microsoft Fabric and Azure AI Studio. The recently announced Azure AI Studio, in public preview, is a one-stop-shop to seamlessly explore, build, evaluate, and deploy AI solutions using state-of-the-art AI tools and machine learning models, grounded in responsible AI practices.

We are thrilled to announce the seamless integration between Azure AI Studio and Microsoft Fabric—powering a new era in AI-driven innovation. With this potent combination, you can confidently build AI solutions and custom models in Azure AI Studio using data integrated and cleaned in Microsoft Fabric. In Azure AI Studio, developers can run models against data from OneLake and any other data supported by Fabric shortcuts, including Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 and Amazon S3. Azure AI Search can store, index, and retrieve data, including vector embeddings, from any of these sources through OneLake. Learn more about this integration in the Azure AI Studio and Microsoft Fabric blog.

Maximize your existing Microsoft analytics investments

Existing Azure Synapse Analytics customers

The next generation of Azure Synapse Analytics has fueled the creation of Microsoft Fabric. With this solid foundation, we can empower new, unprecedented ways of deploying pipelines, data warehousing, data engineering, data science, and real-time analytics technologies to simplify and increase the efficiency of your solutions. But what does this mean if you are an existing Azure Synapse Analytics customer?

We will continue to fully support the Azure Synapse Analytics platform as a service (PaaS) product. This includes supporting our users fixing product bugs, and not compromising the security of the platform in any way. You can continue to deploy, operate, and expand your Azure Synapse Analytics solution. 

However, you’ve likely already started thinking about a Microsoft Fabric future for your analytics solutions. To help you on this journey, we’ve published an end-to-end guide to Fabric blog for existing Synapse customers to help you plan your upgrade strategy of your current workloads.

Existing Azure Databricks customers

We believe the future of analytics and AI applications is built on an open and governed lakehouse foundation, enabling you to combine the best elements of data lakes and data warehouses. That’s why Microsoft Fabric embraces an open and governed lakehouse as the underlying SaaS storage, standardizing on Delta Parquet format—the same format our Azure Databricks customers use today.

This means Azure Databricks customers can seamlessly choose the analytics capabilities from Microsoft Fabric, Azure Databricks, and other Azure products that work best for their scenarios, without the pain of integration. Using the ADLS Gen2 shortcut, you can bring your Azure Databricks data into OneLake without copying the data.

With that data in OneLake, an easy first use case is to use Direct Lake mode in Power BI to create a blazing fast, real-time connection to your Databricks data for your BI reports. And as a first party offering, Azure Databricks customers have easy access and native integration to many other Azure services—on top of the same open and governed lakehouse—reducing data estate fragmentation. You can learn more during the Microsoft Ignite 2023 session I am delivering, “Make your data AI ready with Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks.”

Go further with partners

As always, you don’t have to do this alone. Our top global partners, Accenture and Capgemini have over 4,200 individuals trained on Microsoft Fabric and are ready to help you meet your analytics goals.

“At Accenture and Avanade, we are ready to securely unify data, analytics, and AI for our clients with Microsoft Fabric. We have launched the Microsoft Fabric University that already has trained 3,000 data professionals to be fluent in Fabric, and we are taking lessons learned from building our own operations on Fabric to accelerate AI opportunities with our clients across the globe.”—Simon Thomas, Data and AI Global Lead for Avanade. 

“Through our strategic partnership and the transformative capabilities of Microsoft Fabric, we are accelerating data value creation for our customers. Capgemini’s investment in scaling Fabric competency is paving the way for excellence through our Fabric-specific assessment and certification via Capgemini’s OCEANS Tool, provides enterprises with the opportunity to unleash unified data and drive their organizations forward.”—Niraj Parihar, Insights and Data CEO of Capgemini.

With the surge of customer demand for Fabric, many partners have already completed the first wave of pilot projects during preview—helping customers unlock the early potential of Fabric. Our Microsoft engineering team worked closely with these partners to enhance their capacity and capabilities on Fabric, ensuring the successful delivery of customer implementations.

For example, Microsoft partner SDK Tek Services Ltd. implemented a Fabric solution with Regional Oil Sands Operating Alliance that reduced their data compilation time by 85 percent, enabling them to focus on their core business instead of managing data. In another project, Sonata Software worked with Alltech to empower their business users with self-service access to analytics and to remove the burden on their IT department. You can find more Fabric partners and their stories featured on Fabric partner website.

As a sample, here are some of the partners that successfully completed customer pilot project(s) on Fabric. Each of these partners are well positioned to drive meaningful business outcomes with Microsoft Fabric:

Image shows 18 different partner logos including Accenture, Capgemini, Avanade, IBM, Cloud Services, iLink Digital, Sonata, TCS TaTa Consultancy Services, SDK, Mandelbulb Technologies, Bakertilly, 3Cloud, ReadyMind, Macaw, PreludeSys, Kanerika, Simpson Associates, and InSpark.

Learn more about the Fabric momentum driven by services partners in our Fabric Partner blog.

Join the ISV community building on Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft Fabric was created with ISVs in mind—built from the ground up to be extensible and open at every level. Fabric provides a rich set of capabilities that allow ISVs to accelerate their application development and create disruptive industry-leading offerings. This includes a new public preview, Fabric REST API that enables ISVs and our users to build custom applications, integrated systems, and automate deployment of environments within Fabric.

As an example, the London Stock Exchange Group, a leading provider of financial markets infrastructure, are adding their technology to Microsoft Fabric to give their customers easier data discovery and access, greater interoperability, and cost-effective digital rights management. Esri, a leading geographic information system (GIS) software company, have combined their industry-leading spatial analytics, powered by their ArcGIS, with Microsoft Fabric to accelerate time to insights and reveal unexplored patterns, trends, and connections for customers. SAS have infused their Intelligent Decisioning analytics technology with Microsoft Fabric to drive real-time interactions and define the next best actions at scale, providing unprecedented ability to automate decisions across the enterprise.

Learn more about the vibrant ecosystem of ISVs building on Fabric.

Get started with Microsoft Fabric

New customers can try out everything Fabric has to offer by signing up for afree 60-day trial—no credit card information required. To start your free trial, sign up for a free account (Power BI customers can use their existing account), and once signed in, select start trial within the account manager tool in the Fabric app. Existing Power BI Premium customers can already access Microsoft Fabric by simply turning on Fabric in their Fabric admin portal. Learn more on the Fabric get started page.

If you are considering purchasing Fabric, there is a selection of pricing options to help you minimize your cost and maximize your return. In June 2023, we announced pay-as-you-go prices for Fabric that allow you to dynamically scale up or scale down and pause capacity as needed. We are excited to announce reservation pricing for Fabric that will allow you to pre-commit Fabric Capacity Units in one-year increments, helping you save up to 40.5 percent over the pay-as-you-go prices (excluding Power BI Capacity SKUs). You can pay for all your consumption, across every Fabric workload, with a single, unified bill and use the Capacity Metrics app to understand and track your usage. We are also announcing OneLake BCDR and cache storage prices, expanding on our already announced OneLake storage pricing. Check out all these pricing options on the Microsoft Fabric pricing page

With these announcements, current Power BI Premium per capacity customers have an additional pricing option to experience everything Fabric has to offer. Along with the pay-as-you-go option, Fabric customers also enjoy smaller compute SKUs that start far below the entry level P-SKU. And since Fabric SKUs are eligible for Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC), Fabric customers can deprecate their Fabric spend against their MACC commitment.

Join us at the Microsoft Fabric Community Conference

If you would like to gain hands-on experience with Microsoft Fabric and learn directly from the people who created it, join us from March 24-29, 2024 at the Microsoft Fabric Community Conference. We will bring together experts from Microsoft and the global analytics community to share, demo, and discuss the latest developments in Microsoft Fabric, Power BI, and more. At this event, you will be able to learn from top data experts and AI leaders while having the chance to interact with your peers and share your story. We hope you will join us and see how cutting-edge technologies from Microsoft can enable your business success with the power of Microsoft Fabric. Register today.

Build the skills you need to take full advantage of Microsoft Fabric

We’re announcing an enhanced portfolio of Microsoft Credentials, including the new “Microsoft Certified: Fabric Analytics Engineer Associate” certification along with several new Microsoft Applied Skills covering scenarios using Microsoft Fabric, like implementing lakehouses, data warehouses, and real-time analytics solutions. These credentials are coming in the next months.

Ready to dive into Fabric and start preparing for these credentials? Take the “Microsoft Fabric Challenge” as part of the Microsoft Learn Cloud Skills Challenge, Ignite edition. Skill up for in-demand technical scenarios and enter to win a VIP event pass for the next Microsoft Ignite or Microsoft Build. Terms and conditions apply. See official rules for more details. The challenge is available now through January 15, 2024, so get started now to avoid missing a beat.

Engage with a vibrant community of data professionals to get all your Fabric questions answered, suggest new features, stay current on the latest updates, and so much more.

Explore additional resources for Microsoft Fabric

If you want to learn more about Microsoft Fabric, consider: