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Will Microsoft Fabric Replace Synapse or Azure SQL?

March 14, 2024

If you saw the announcement for Fabric and are wondering what this means for the future of Synapse and Azure SQL, you’re not alone. With Microsoft’s introduction of Fabric, it’s difficult to know which current data solutions will remain relevant and which will be replaced by Fabric. 

This article will cover the use cases for Fabric and whether or not it will replace the functionality achieved with Synapse or Azure SQL.

Brief Overview of Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft Fabric, as described by Microsoft, is an “all-in-one analytics solution for enterprises that covers everything from data movement to data science, Real-Time Analytics, and business intelligence. It offers a comprehensive suite of services, including data lake, data engineering, and data integration, all in one place.”

The shorter version: it’s a new tool that allows you to tap into the functionality of multiple existing Microsoft tools, but within one platform.

Explore more resources on Fabric:

Is Microsoft Fabric Replacing Power BI? [Article]

Power BI and Generative AI: What You Need to Know [Article] 

Will Microsoft Fabric Replace Synapse or Azure SQL?

Microsoft Fabric will not replace any Azure products - including Synapse and SQL. Fabric is a unified user interface and one-stop licensing approach rather than a new standalone environment. Using Fabric allows you to tap into the power of several existing Microsoft tools through a more coherent user experience and a single monthly fee.

Organizations can continue to license and use tools such as Azure Synapse and Azure SQL exactly how they do today. This approach allows those organizations to build out their own analytics environments in Azure exactly as they need. All of the parts and pieces of that environment, including the connective and security infrastructure (VPN, firewall, etc.) can be managed to a high degree.

What Fabric provides is an alternative to this “roll your own” environment. Fabric creates and manages the infrastructure for you. Network connectivity, security, capacity, and performance are all set up and continually tuned by the Fabric systems themselves. This allows your organization’s technical resources to concentrate on the data rather than the structure.

Fabric also creates a single architecture that can be used to support several types of solutions simultaneously. There is no need to create one environment to support data warehousing and reporting, another environment to support real-time telemetry processing, and a third environment to facilitate data mining and AI. An organization’s data can be stored in one place and harnessed for a number of uses.

Fabric’s use of a single data lake, called OneLake, and the Delta-Parquet file format makes data available through multiple interfaces for many different tasks. The data in the OneLake Delta-Parquet files can be accessed as a relational database structure through the SQL query language. That same data can be accessed through Spark Notebooks using Python code. That same data is also exposed through automatically generated data models for those wishing to interact with the data using drag-and-drop exploration in Power BI.

Fabric supports seven experiences. Here is a brief description of each experience and some of the pre-existing tools Fabric harnesses to create these experiences:


Experience Tools
Data Factory – Ingest data into your Fabric environment and transform it to the desired format for analytics.
  • Azure Data Factory
  • Power Query
Data Engineering – Cleanse and transform data for large-scale analytics and machine learning.
  • Spark
Data Science - Train, evaluate, and deploy machine learning algorithms to create predictive insights.
  • Azure Machine Learning

Data Warehouse – Combine data from across the enterprise and beyond to create a single source of truth. 

  • Azure Data Lake
  • Azure SQL Server

Real-Time Analytics – Stream, store, and analyze large volumes of data in real-time.

  • Azure Synapse

Power BI – Explore, analyze and share data through data exploration, dashboards, and reports.

  • Power BI

Data Activator – Trigger automatic actions based on thresholds set for key performance indicators.

  • New!


As this breakdown shows, if you have a Fabric account you will have access to the same functionality offered within Azure Synapse and Azure SQL - but you can still access these programs independently outside of Fabric.

Rather than thinking of Fabric as a replacement for your current tools, instead ask yourself: Can I improve functionality, reduce time waste and optimize data availability by adding Fabric to my techstack? 

To help answer that better question, we recommend contacting one of our data experts. They can provide insight into your specific use case.

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Superior Consulting Services (SCS) is a Microsoft-centric technology firm providing innovative solutions that enable our clients to solve business problems. We offer full-scale data modeling, analytics and custom app development.