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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Azure Synapse Analytics’ New Updates

by Spanish Point - Sep 5, 2022
Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Azure Synapse Analytics’ New Updates

Data has fast become the most strategic and powerful asset of our time and it is at the heart of every successful digital transformation. It is clear that it serves as the foundation of organisations who’ve proven most resilient during uncertain times. Data is what enables both analytical power; analysing the past and gaining new insights; and predictive power, predicting the future and planning ahead.

To help companies harness the aforementioned analytical and predictive power effectively, Azure Synapse Analytics was developed. It brings together data integration, enterprise data warehousing, and big data analytics—at cloud scale. The unification of these workloads enables organisations to massively reduce their end-to-end development time. With its release, the management and monitoring of analytics systems becomes significantly easier, giving valuable time back to teams hired to discover insights—rather than investing considerable time securing connections between services, building firewalls, or managing subnets.

It is safe to say that Azure synapse analytics has been a success and our developers here at Spanish Point who use the software on a regular basis can attest to that. Building on its capabilities, new features, some overdue, have been added to take the platform to the next level. Keep reading to find out what improvements have been made to an already impressive product.

New Azure Synapse Analytics Features

General Updates

  • Azure Orbital Analytics with Synapse Analytics – Microsoft has now added the Azure Orbital analytics sample solution that shows an end-to-end implementation of extracting, loading, transforming, and analysing spaceborne data by using geospatial libraries and AI models with Azure Synapse Analytics.
  • Azure Synapse Success By Design – The success of a project requires careful, intentional planning and execution. To assist with this, the Synapse Analytics’ Success by Design playbooks have been made available. It provides a guide to scope, design, execute, and evaluate a proof of concept for SQL or Spark workloads. These guides contain best practices from the most challenging and complex solution implementations incorporating Azure Synapse.

Synapse Data Explorer Updates

  • New Web Explorer Homepage – The Synapse Web Explorer now has a new homepage, making it easier to get started using Synapse Web Explorer. This new homepage features a ‘Get started’ section with popular example queries and dashboards, a ‘Recommended’ section displaying suitable modules design to help users master Synapse Web Explorer and KQL as well as a ‘Documentation’ section that gives users access to basic and advance Synapse Web Explorer documentation.
Azure Synapse Analytics Homepage
  • Web Explorer Sample Gallery – One effective way to learn about a product is to see how others are using it. The Web Explorer gallery provides samples of exactly how other customers have been able to leverage Synapse Data Explorer popular use cases such as Logs Data, Metrics Data, IoT data and Basic big data examples.
  • Drill Through Capabilities – You can now add drill through capabilities to your Synapse Web Explorer dashboards, allowing you to easily jump back and forth between dashboard pages.
  • Time Zone Settings – Displaying data in different time zones is very powerful and is now possible. You can decide to view the data in UTC time, your local time zone, or the time zone of the monitored device. The Time Zone settings of the Web Explorer now apply to both the Query results and to the Dashboard. By changing the time zone, the dashboards will be automatically refreshed to present the data with the selected time zone.

SQL Updates

  • Increase in Result Set Size Limit Azure Synapse Analytics is known as the go to particularly when working with large amounts of data and with that in mind even more capability for large datasets has been added. Previously, the maximum size of query result sets in Serverless SQL pools was 200GB but that has been increased to 400GB to accommodate the demand.

Data Integration Updates

  • Fuzzy Join option in Join Transformation – Fuzzy matching with a sliding similarity score option has been added to the Join transformation in Mapping Data Flows. You can create inner and outer joins on data values that are similar rather than exact matches! Previously, you would have had to use an exact match. The sliding scale value goes from 60% to 100%, making it easy to adjust the similarity threshold of the match.
  • Map Data Is Currently Generally Available – The Map Data tool is now Generally Available. The Map Data tool is a guided process to help you create ETL mappings and mapping data flows from your source data to Synapse without writing code. 
  • Rerun Pipeline with New Parameters – You can now change pipeline parameters when re-running a pipeline from the Monitoring page without having to return to the pipeline editor. After running a pipeline with new parameters, you can easily monitor the new run against the old ones without having to toggle between pages.
  • User Defined Functions Now Generally Available – User Defined Functions (UDFs) are now generally available. With user-defined functions, you can create customised expressions that can be reused across multiple mapping data flows. You no longer have to use the same string manipulation, math calculations, or other complex logic several times. User-defined functions will be grouped in libraries to help developers group common sets of functions.

Machine Learning Updates

  • Distributed Deep Neural Network Training with Horovod and Petastorm – To simplify the process for creating and managing GPU-accelerated pools, Azure Synapse takes care of pre-installing low-level libraries and setting up all the complex networking requirements between compute nodes. This integration allows users to begin using GPU-accelerated pools within just a few minutes.

Get Started with Azure Synapse Analytics

As the importance of data grows in the modern digital age, so too must businesses adapt if they hope to remain competitive. The larger your business grows, the more complex processes become. Azure Synapse Analytics accelerates time to insights, helping organisations get a clear view of their business performance in real-time. These new features help improve what you can get out of the platform and make life easier for your teams. At Spanish Point, our consultants have considerable knowledge and experience helping a range of clients benefit from Microsoft’s Azure Data Platform with a focus on Synapse Analytics and helping them take advantage of its different capabilities.

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Interested in how Azure Synapse Analytics could help you? Join our upcoming data analytics webinar