Azure Data Factory Review

Straightforward and scalable but could be more intuitive


What is our primary use case?

There was a need to bring a lot of CRM and marketing data for some PNL analysis. We are connecting to the Salesforce cloud. In it, there's a specific solution in Salesforce Core CRM for the pharmaceutical industry. We are using the solution to connect to that and we are bringing in the various dimensions and transactions from that data source.

What is most valuable?

Data Factory itself is great. It's pretty straightforward. You can easily add sources, join and lookup information, etc. The ease of use is pretty good. 

They have a lot of other components like a newer monitor, which helps track and generate alerts for any failed jobs and things of that nature, which is helpful.

What needs improvement?

At this point in time, they should work on somehow integrating the big data capabilities within it. I have not explored it, but it would be good if somehow we could call a Spark job or something to do with the Spark SQL within ADS so that we wouldn't need a Spark tested outside.

On the UI side, they could make it a little more intuitive in terms of how to add the radius components. Somebody who has been working with tools like Informatica or DataStage gets very used to how the UI looks and feels. 

In ADS, adding a new table or joining a new table and overriding that with an override SQL that I could customize would be helpful.

Being able to debug from the design mode itself would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the latest version, the v2 version, the solution is pretty stable. It does not give unknown letters or things like that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution allows you to create reusable components, so it can be scaled pretty easily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Being an IT services company, we have a gold or a platinum partnership with Microsoft. For us, getting the technical support we need is not a big issue. Their community is also pretty active in responding to any issues. It's quite good. We've been satisfied with the level of support that is offered.

How was the initial setup?

We were not actually involved in the initial setup. That was all with the client, so I won't be able to comment on it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In terms of licensing costs, we pay somewhere around S14,000 USD per month. There are some additional costs. For example, we would have to subscribe to some additional computing and for elasticity, but they are minimal. 

For disaster recovery and readability setups, we did that on Data Lake.

What other advice do I have?

We use the public cloud deployment model.

I'd warn others to ensure that the design should be frozen before you start building because overriding each other's code and managing code takes effort. To avoid or to reduce that effort, ensure that the design is frozen. You can build some configurable code rather than hard-coding everything into the jobs. That's the biggest recommendation.

I'd rate the solution seven out of ten. It's a pretty good solution, but over the past year, I've been limited on the number of cases I have on it. If it had a better user interface and was more intuitive I would have rated it higher.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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