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Microsoft Fabric Community Conference 2024 Recap

Author: Tom Hoblitzell | | April 23, 2024

Since Microsoft Fabric’s announcement in 2023, everyone in the data world has kept a close eye on its developments. The inaugural Microsoft Fabric Community Conference offered an exciting opportunity to explore what organizations are doing with this platform and find out the latest from Microsoft.

We had the opportunity to sponsor this event, and the Datavail team was thrilled to make our way to Las Vegas to dive right in.

While Microsoft Fabric was the namesake for the event, the rest of the Microsoft intelligent data platform got plenty of attention as well, including SQL Server, Power BI, the Power Platform, and other Azure services.

We started off the Fabric week by meeting up with Microsoft Global Black Belts and several Datavail customers for a Flight Club Happy Hour. Then it was off to set up our glow filled booth, complete with a light-up Jenga game!

There were so many great sessions at the Fabric Community Conference, so here’s a few of the highlights that caught our eye:

  • Data Governance for the Age of AI
  • Empowering Real-Time Business Solutions with Azure Database for MySQL and Power Platform
  • Top 10 Customer Questions while Constructing the Fabric Implementation Highway
  • Govern, Manage, and Protect All Your Data in Fabric and Beyond
  • Azure Databricks: Using Enterprise Data with Azure OpenAI to Move Beyond POCs

New Microsoft Fabric Announcements

The Microsoft Fabric announcements came fast and furious at the Community Conference. Here are a handy summary of the new and upgraded features of this platform.

General Microsoft Fabric Announcements

  • Transformed CI/CD experience that includes improved support for data pipelines, data warehouses, and Spark integration in Fabric Git. Microsoft is also integrating this into Azure DevOps and deployment pipelines APIs. In preview.
  • The Fabric dataflows and pipeline experience has been updated. Fast Copy for quick data ingestion is new, and on-premises data access is enabled with the Data Gateway. Semantic model refresh activity is being added. Supported activities in a pipeline now have double the limit at 80. In preview.
  • Folders in workspaces. In preview.
  • Creating multiple apps in one workspace. Upcoming.
  • Tagging for better compliance and discoverability.
  • Task flows to visualize projects end-to-end.
  • Azure Private Link support for secure access to Microsoft Fabric.
  • Trusted Workspace Access and Managed Private Endpoints. In preview.
  • VNET data gateway allows for safe Azure and other data services connections, including on-premises data within a VNET.
  • Shortcuts in OneLake for virtualizing data directly on GCP. In preview.
  • Shortcuts to cloud-based and on-premises S3 compatible data sources, such as Cloudflare, Qumulo, MinIO, Dell ECS, and others.

Microsoft Purview Integration with Microsoft Fabric

  • Purview Information Protection policies in Microsoft Fabric for automatic access control to sensitive data. Upcoming.
  • Purview Data Loss Prevention policies extended to Fabric, enabling automatic detection and risk remediation for sensitive information uploads. Fabric Lakehouse will be supported at first, with plans to expand to others.
  • Purview Insider Risk Management integration that detects and handles data oversharing risks in your organization. Upcoming.
  • Subdomains added for finer data structure management.
  • Managing domains is simplified with default domains for security groups and public admin APIs.
  • Native integration with Microsoft Purview Data Governance. Microsoft Fabric’s governance features, such as item inventory, data lineage, and metadata, are integrated into Purview to streamline governance practices across multi-cloud data estates.

Microsoft Fabric Mirroring

  • Mirroring in Microsoft Fabric is a zero-ETL solution for near-real-time data access and ingestion from any database to data warehousing. Currently supports Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL Database, and Snowflake, with more platforms planned. In preview.
  • Free TB of mirroring storage for each capacity unit purchased.
  • New external data-sharing feature to facilitate easier collaboration across organizations. Secure and quick data and asset sharing with external parties can come directly from OneLake storage locations without data duplication.

Power BI in Microsoft Fabric

  • Fabric Power BI visual enhancements include more layout options for matrix visuals, cartesian charts, and new types such as button slicer and 100% stacked line area chart.
  • Metrics layer that enables organizations to create standardized business metrics for reuse. Upcoming.
  • Users can preview these metrics in a simplified UI before integration into reports, scorecards, Power BI solutions, and other Fabric artifacts, including data science notebooks.
  • Live editing of Direct Lake models in Power BI Desktop and connecting to over 100 sources for paginated reports. Upcoming.
  • New previews include creating Power BI reports directly from Excel and CSV files with relationship detection, new visuals for easier report building without DAX formulas, and generating mobile-optimized report layouts for on-the-go insights.

Copilot in Fabric

  • New Explore feature for learning about semantic models without report building.
  • Enhanced DAX query view for analyzing and constructing semantic models with DAX queries.
  • A “Data overview” button in Explore for summarizing the semantic model, and the ability for Copilot to assist in writing and explaining DAX queries. In preview.
  • New generative AI feature for custom Q&A experiences. Users can explore data sources directly by asking questions with no prior configuration needed. This feature provides query insights and can be enhanced with additional data, context, and settings.

You can view the full Microsoft Fabric roadmap here.

Microsoft Fabric Community Conference was an amazing experience, and we’re looking forward to 2025! Want to discuss your Microsoft Fabric plans, whether you’re migrating from existing services or building on the platform from the ground up? Get in touch with our Microsoft data platform experts.

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