Learn how Microsoft Fabric can help you transform your business with cloud computing, data analytics, and AI.

What is Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric is a Microsoft and Azure Data’s unified data analytics platform, seamlessly amalgamating various data toolsets, some of which are already integral to the Azure product lineup. It serves as a comprehensive solution, consolidating these tools under a single, user-friendly umbrella. Consider it as a powerful engine geared towards processing vast datasets and deriving valuable insights.

The main objective of Microsoft Fabric is to empower both business and data professionals, unleashing the untapped potential within their datasets during the era of Artificial Intelligence. Fabric marks a revolutionary shift in data interpretation, democratizing analytics by making it accessible to a broader audience beyond just data science experts. In essence, Microsoft Fabric is at the forefront of transforming the landscape of data analytics, making it more inclusive and impactful for a wide range of users.

With Microsoft Fabric, you can access a rich set of tools and services that help you design, develop, test, and monitor your applications and services, as well as manage your cloud resources, security, and compliance. Microsoft Fabric also offers a comprehensive portfolio of data and AI solutions, such as OneLake, a single unified, logical data lake for your whole organization. Microsoft has compared OneLake to OneDrive and stated, “Similar to how Office stores Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files in OneDrive, Fabric stores lakehouses, warehouses, and other items in OneLake.”

How does it work?

Microsoft Fabric establishes a cohesive data foundation anchored by an open OneLake structure. This framework facilitates seamless connectivity to diverse data sources, offering built-in governance and streamlined management capabilities. In essence, Microsoft Fabric unifies the robust functionalities of Data Factory, Power BI, and the next generation of Synapse, creating an integrated, singular experience for all your data and analytics workloads. This convergence not only simplifies data management but also enhances the synergy of powerful tools within a unified ecosystem.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Fabric Key Components

Microsoft Fabric offers six key components, each playing a pivotal role in shaping the platform’s architecture:

1. Data Engineering

Leveraging the robust capabilities of Spark, Microsoft Fabric’s data engineering component provides an unparalleled authoring experience and facilitates large-scale data transformations. This plays a pivotal role in democratizing data through the innovative lakehouse model. Integration with Data Factory allows seamless scheduling and orchestration of notebooks and Spark jobs.

2. Data Factory

Microsoft’s Azure Data Factory combines the simplicity of Power Query with the scalability of Azure Data Factory, offering a powerful tool with over 200 native connectors for linking data from both on-premises and cloud-based sources.

3. Data Science

Microsoft Fabric’s data science capability empowers users to build, deploy, and operationalize machine learning models within the Fabric framework. Interacting with Azure Machine Learning, it facilitates built-in experiment tracking and model registry. This enables data scientists to enhance organizational data with predictive insights that business analysts can seamlessly incorporate into their BI reports, transitioning from descriptive to predictive analytics.

4. Data Warehouse

The data warehousing component of Microsoft Fabric delivers top-tier SQL performance and scalability. Featuring a full separation of computing and storage for independent scaling, it supports native data storage in the open Delta Lake format.

5. Real-Time Analytics

Observational data, sourced from diverse channels such as apps, IoT devices, and human interactions, represents a rapidly growing data category. Microsoft Fabric’s Real-Time Analytics provides an advanced solution for analyzing semi-structured, high-volume data often presented in JSON or Text format with varying schemas.

6. Power BI

Recognized globally as a leading Business Intelligence platform, Power BI within Microsoft Fabric empowers business owners to access all Fabric data swiftly and intuitively. This seamless integration facilitates data-driven decision-making, enhancing the overall analytical capabilities of the platform.


Why use Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric provides organizations with several benefits such as:

  • Encompassing the entire data analytics lifecycle, from data movement to data science. This eradicates the necessity for organizations to cobble together various tools and services, resulting in significant time and cost savings.
  • Integration of all services into a unified platform, simplifying the management of data analytics workloads, and granting users easy access to all their data from a centralized location.
  • Incorporation of robust data security and governance features, empowering enterprises to safeguard their data and adhere to regulatory requirements effectively.
  • A scalable and high-performing platform tailored for organizations dealing with substantial volumes of data.

How can you use MS Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric can support a wide range of use cases and scenarios for different industries and domains, such as:

  • Integrating your data and systems: You can connect your data and systems across different cloud providers, data sources, and devices, and create a unified and consistent view of your business. You can also use Microsoft Fabric to integrate your data and systems with external partners, customers, and vendors.
  • Enabling data and AI capabilities: You can use Microsoft Fabric to store, process, and analyze your data, and apply advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to generate insights and predictions. You can also use Microsoft Fabric to create and deploy AI models and applications, such as chatbots, recommendation systems, and computer vision.
  • Enhancing data governance and security: In an world marked by the growing prevalence of data breaches, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of your data requires robust governance and security practices. The Fabric platform is strategically crafted for seamless integration with various Microsoft products. It boasts built-in security, governance, and compliance mechanisms, aligning with the highest standards to fortify the protection of sensitive information. Microsoft goes one step further with OneLake, its unified layer dedicated to elevating data management and governance to new heights.

Types of Licenses

Microsoft Fabric offers a broad spectrum of licensing options, primarily classified into two categories: capacity-based licenses and individual user licenses.

Capacity Licenses – F SKUS (Dedicated Capacity)

  • Recognized as Premium licenses within Power BI.
  • These licenses serve as the backbone for Microsoft Fabric, playing a pivotal role in enabling user operations within the Fabric environment.
  • The capacity licenses are segmented into distinct Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), each providing a specific set of Fabric resource levels. These levels are quantified in Capacity Units (CU), a novel metric measuring the computational power available for each SKU.
  • Noteworthy is the enhanced computational capability offered by each license, with each succeeding iteration doubling the power of its predecessor. For example, F4 boasts twice the potency of F2 and half the power of F8.
  • Introducing a “pay as you go” model, these licenses bring about:
    • The user pays for actual usage, eliminating minimum term commitments. SKUs are available on an hourly or monthly basis.
    • Unlike Premium Capacity, Fabric Capacity licenses can be paused, providing a flexible cost structure.
    • Charges are applicable only during active capacity usage.
    • With a competitive starting point at $8 per day, these licenses ensure accessibility for organizations of varying sizes.

Individual Licenses

  • Free: This license empowers users with access to Fabric Capacity, enabling the creation and sharing of content within Microsoft Fabric. It encompasses key functionalities like pipelines, data warehousing, notebook usage, and capacity management. Notably, while Power BI content can be created and shared, a Pro license is necessary for content sharing.
  • Pro: Indispensable for those intending to share Power BI content with peers. A minimum of one Pro license is required for any organization utilizing Power BI. When acquiring a Microsoft Fabric license, it is imperative to include at least one Pro license in the procurement.
  • Premium Per User (PPU): Operating on a shared capacity, this license provides restricted access to Microsoft Fabric. It remains an ideal choice for organizations seeking to leverage Power BI’s premium features without expanding into Fabric content. PPU can offer a more cost-effective solution when Power BI Premium features are required for a user base of fewer than 250 individuals.

Source: Microsoft

Additional Licensing Points

  • Power BI Embedded (A SKUs): Designed for embedding purposes, Power BI Embedded, also known as A SKUs, remains an option. However, it’s important to clarify that while it serves embedding needs, Power BI Embedded does not grant access to the new Fabric workloads.
  • Microsoft Fabric Trial: This feature includes access to the full spectrum of Fabric product experiences and resources for creating and hosting Fabric items. The trial extends over a 60-day period, with the possibility of extension at Microsoft’s discretion. It is critical for users to transition to a paid Fabric capacity post-trial to retain data and continue usage. Failure to do so may result in the removal of non-Power BI Fabric items, aligning with the stipulated retention policy.

Storage Cost

In the realm of Microsoft Fabric, OneLake serves as the designated storage solution. It’s important to highlight that the expenses associated with OneLake’s storage are distinct from capacity licensing and necessitate independent payment. The pricing model for OneLake closely mirrors the Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS) one. Furthermore, it’s crucial to be aware that data transfers between regions may incur additional charges. These considerations should be taken into account when strategizing your Microsoft Fabric implementation.

Power BI Licensing vs Fabric

You may have observed that the pricing structure for Fabric capacities tends to be higher than their equivalent Power BI Premium counterparts.

For instance, a P1 Power BI Premium capacity delivers the same computational power as an F64 Fabric capacity, and a P2 Power BI Premium capacity matches the capability of an F128 Fabric capacity. However, a closer look at the annual costs reveals that the F64 plan amounts to $100,000, whereas the P1 plan costs $60,000. The rationale behind these variations can be attributed to the following factors:

  • Pay-as-you-go Basis: Fabric capacities operate on a flexible pay-as-you-go model. Users can pause and restart services, dynamically scale them up and down, all without any usage commitment. This approach optimizes resource utilization, ensuring a cost-effective solution.
  • Contractual Commitment: The F64 plan under Fabric offers unparalleled flexibility with no mandatory minimum contract duration. In contrast, Power BI Premium involves monthly or annual contracts, which may limit flexibility.
  • Service Scope: The F64 plan within Fabric provides comprehensive access to all Fabric workloads. Conversely, the P1 plan is specifically tailored for Power BI items, making it more targeted in its service offerings.
  • Storage: Power BI Premium licenses come with a dedicated storage allocation for Power BI items. In Fabric, the storage calculation is based on the amount of data stored within OneLake, offering a different approach to managing and calculating storage costs.

Azure Capacity

Microsoft Fabric leverages the Azure Capacity service, which allows you to reserve and manage your cloud resources and capacity across different cloud providers and platforms. Azure Capacity helps you optimize your cloud resource utilization and costs, as well as ensure your availability and performance. Azure Capacity also provides you with visibility and control over your cloud resource consumption and allocation, as well as alerts and recommendations for your cloud resource optimization.

Experiences in Microsoft Fabric

  • Ferguson: Ferguson is a leading distributor of plumbing, HVAC, and waterworks supplies, operating across North America. They use Fabric to manage their data sources and gain insights from their data. By using Fabric, they have reduced their delivery time by removing the overhead of using multiple disparate services and improved efficiency.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile, one of the largest providers of wireless communications services in the United States leverages Fabric to query across their lakehouse and warehouse from a single engine. It has saved three minutes on every job.
  • ABN AMRO Bank: With financial crime on the rise, ABN AMRO Bank realized that they needed a new approach to handle their vast transactional data. They leveraged Power BI, Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Explorer (ADX) to improve their monitoring capacity, reducing false positives and optimizing case management. Microsoft Fabric will be brought soon to their environment for real-time analytics with immediate responses.

You will find more client stories on Fabric on the Microsoft’s website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-fabric#customer-stories

OneLake in Microsoft Fabric

OneLake is a data lake service that is part of Microsoft Fabric. OneLake allows you to store, process, and analyze large volumes of structured and unstructured data, such as text, images, videos, and audio. OneLake supports various data formats, such as CSV, JSON, XML, Parquet, and Avro, and various data sources, such as Azure Blob Storage, Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Cosmos DB, and Azure SQL Database.

OneLake provides you with a scalable and secure data lake environment, with features such as encryption, authentication, authorization, and auditing. OneLake also provides you with a rich set of tools and services that help you manage, access, and query your data, such as Azure Data Factory, Azure Databricks, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Azure HDInsight.


Microsoft Fabric stands out as a revolutionary platform that seamlessly integrates a diverse array of Azure tools and services, bringing them together cohesively under one unified umbrella.

At its core, Microsoft Fabric boasts indispensable features like OneLake and many workloads, providing businesses and data professionals with the tools they need to make informed, data-driven decisions. Whether you’re a seasoned data scientist navigating intricate datasets or a business analyst seeking to unlock the power of data, Microsoft Fabric presents a comprehensive solution that simplifies even the most complex data tasks.

If you want to learn more on how Microsoft Fabric can help your organization, feel free to reach out to us!


Microsoft Fabric FAQ

What is the difference between Microsoft Fabric and Azure?

Azure and Microsoft Fabric are complementary offerings that work together to provide you with the best possible data experience. Azure is the foundation that powers Microsoft Fabric, as well as many other Microsoft cloud services and applications. Microsoft Fabric is a specialized layer that sits on top of Azure and adds value by providing enhanced data capabilities, such as unified data access, governance, and analytics across different sources and formats. Microsoft Fabric leverages Azure’s scalability, security, and reliability to deliver high-performance data solutions for your organization.

Is Databricks part of Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric and Azure Databricks are two distinct services, but they can work together in the Azure environment. Microsoft Fabric is a platform that connects different Azure services, but it does not use or depend on Databricks. With Databricks, you can easily share data with Fabric. Databricks is able to directly source and save data into a Fabric OneLake, and Fabric can also directly reference data from an existing Databricks data lake.

Is Microsoft Fabric in production?

While Microsoft Fabric has reached general availability, it remains a product in active development. Key features highlighted in the roadmap below are paramount for customer adoption, and the product’s continuous evolution emphasizes a commitment to refining and expanding its capabilities.

  1. Private Endpoint Support – Q2 2024
  2. Fine-Grained Security in OneLake (public preview) – Q2 2024
  3. Lakehouse Schema Support – Q2 2024
  4. Data Factory Git Integration – Q1 2024
  5. Data Factory Connection Parameterization – Q1 2024





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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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