Analytics and Big Data is key to the success of businesses of every size today, from startups and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like yours, to large enterprises.
The rise of cloud computing contributed greatly to making big data analytics – which only large enterprise had the resources for – more affordable for SMEs like yours, with many investing in cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solutions to generate actionable insights from their data.
But with a huge amount of data being stored across big data lakes, data warehouses and pipelines, it can be more difficult than expected to analyse such scattered and siloed business data to generate actionable insights for your business.
To resolve this issue, Microsoft released Azure Synapse Analytics into general availability in December 2020. An evolution of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Synapse Analytics unifies a range of analytics workloads within your business, such as your data warehouses, data lakes, machine learning (ML), and data pipelines.
This provides your business analysts and data engineers with a single source of truth in a user-friendly interface, and a common workspace in which they can manage and analyse the data generated by your business with ease.
But what exactly is Azure Synapse Analytics? Let’s find out.
What Is Azure Synapse Analytics?
Demo of Azure Synapse Analytics; Source: Microsoft
Azure Synapse Analytics is a scalable, cloud-based integrated analytics service which brings together a wide range of Azure, Microsoft, and other services in a single unified development experience.
Through this, Synapse Analytics offers end-to-end cloud data warehousing, machine learning (ML) analytics and dashboard in a single workspace, allowing your business analysts and data engineers to quickly process large volumes of your business data through SQL queries.
There are four main components to Azure Synapse Analytics:
Overview of Synapse SQL Pool; Source: SQLShack
Synapse SQL Pool provide enterprise data warehousing features. Formerly known as Azure SQL Data Warehouse, it’s a Big Data solution that stores data in a relational table format with columnar storage. It also uses Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) technology to leverage up to 60 nodes to run queries.
Example of the Synapse Workspace; Source: SQLShack
Used for Big Data operations, Spark enables you to perform data loading, data processing, data preparation, ETL,s and other tasks that are generally related to data warehousing.
Azure Synapse Data Integration
Overview of Synapse Analytics Pipelines; Source: SQLShack
An integrated orchestration engine identical to Azure Data Factory, this service enables the creation of data pipelines, and provides rich data transformation capabilities within the Synapse workspace. It supports more than 90+ data sources from Azure or open-source data warehouses or databases, amongst others.
Azure Synapse Studio
Example of Azure Synapse Studio ;Source: SQLShack
A web-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool that allows your developers to use every feature in Synapse Analytics from a single console. It also provides features for other functions such as debugging code, optimising performance by assessing metrics, and integrating CI/CD tools.
Now that you have a better idea of what Azure Synapse Analytics is, why should you consider using it for your SME’s analytics and Big Data needs?
Why Should Your Business Use Azure Synapse Analytics?
You can gain several business benefits from using Azure Synapse Analytics as the cloud-based Big Data analytics tool for your SME. Here are some of these benefits.
1. Unified Data Platform
Synapse Analytics brings together the best of Azure’s and other data services, and ensure that they work with each other seamlessly to provide a unified data analytics platform for your needs.
These services include Azure Data Warehouse, Azure Data Lake, Azure Active Directory, Azure Data Factory, Apache Spark, and Microsoft Power BI
With this, you’ll be able to use a single web-based user interface (UT) to carry out various data tasks, such as data exploration, running experiments, and developing data pipelines that ensure an uninterrupted flow of data for generating actionable business insights.
2. ML Integration
Synapse Analytics comes with Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, which you can apply to several purposes.
The most common of these is the application of ML algorithms to facilitate data acquisition and understanding. You can use Azure Data Factory to build data pipelines that transform your business data into a format that can be consumed for ML, and generate insights from that data through reports prepared via Apache Spark or serverless SQL pools.
You can also train ML models using either Apache Spark Pools, or through Azure Machine Learning Automated ML. These ML models can then be deployed to generate predictions within the data warehouse itself.
3. Built-in Security
Azure Synapse Analytics comes with an array of security features, and is compliant with almost 30 industry-leading compliance regulations such as ISO, SOC and HIPAA amongst others.
It supports Azure Active Directory (AD), SQL-based, and multi-factor authentication. In addition, it support data encryption at rest and in transit, as well as classification for sensitive data.
Azure Synapse Analytics also supports row-level, column-level, and object-level security with dynamic data masking, as well as network-level security with virtual networks and firewalls.
This ensures that when your sensitive business data is being processes through Synapse Analytics, it will receive the highest level of security for data in the cloud.
4. Integrated Power BI
Azure Synapse Analytics integrate directly with Microsoft Power BI, which comes with dashboards and visualisations that provides a robust set of analytical and reporting capabilities.
Using Synapse Studio, your business analysts will be able to easily analyse data and generate dashboards that provide useful business insights, while your data engineers will be able to manage your business’s data pipelines in a code-free environment.
With Azure ML and Power BI being integrated with Azure Synapse Analytics, your business analysts and data engineers will be able to glean actionable insights and carry out their tasks in the most effective manner.
Azure Synapse Analytics Provides A Unified Platform For Generating Useful Insights
The ability to analyse all data generated by your business processes, and generate actionable insights that inform your business decisions, is key to achieving success for your business in a digital world.
But with such a large volume of data being generated every day, and all of it being stored in various data warehouses and data lakes, actually leveraging on the data your business is sitting on is easier said than done.
With Azure Synapse Analytics, you get a data analytics platform that unifies all of the data stored in your business’s systems, and provides a single user-friendly UI through which your business analysts and data engineers can manage your business data to best effect.
And this is but one of many ways that Microsoft Azure can benefit your business, should you choose it as the cloud computing platform for your business.
If Microsoft Azure sounds like the right choice of platform for your business, you might be interested to know that AFON is an official Microsoft vendor in Singapore, with the expertise and resource to carry out an implementation of Microsoft Azure in your business.
Do give us a call at +65 6323 0901 or drop us a note, if you’d like to arrange for a consultation with us.
Otherwise, if there’s any other questions you might still have about Microsoft Azure, you can find the answers to them by clicking on the image below.