Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse Review

Has good MPP architecture but Data Factory integration should be enhanced

What is our primary use case?

Our general use of this solution has to do with the needs of one of our clients. They had an SQL server and they were migrating from an on-premises SQL Server to Azure SQL server on the cloud. We use this solution because it fits their budget and they have some clients in other countries they want to give access to the product through Power BI.

What is most valuable?

What I like the most would be MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) architecture. Because we had to migrate a lot of data and it helps us a lot to make things faster.

What needs improvement?

As far as improvements to the product, I think the Data Factory integration should be enhanced to be properly implemented because right now it is still lagging behind other vendors like Informatica. We ended up having to use Data Factory because we don't have any expertise in Informatica. But I want to see Data Factory get better overall.

An enhancement I would like to see is in data loading for Data Factory. Right now we are seeing a little bit of a performance lapse in the cloud server. Specifically, this happens between Azure and our clients maybe because we are connecting to SQL Server Management Studio. There is a slight but noticeable delay. I do not know if it has to do with Azure and whether it is their problem or our problem.

I can't complain much about Data Factory, but because I used to use SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) which was the prior on-prem version, I know what capabilities it is missing in comparison. They changed it over to Data Factory, but by comparison, Data Factory has a long way to go to reach the level of SSIS as a product.

For how long have I used the solution?

Right now we have been using the product for four months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Right now is still early in our implementation so I can't really say that I am sure it will remain stable in production under larger loads. But so far it is good and we are happy with the solution and its stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

One of the reasons we decided to go with Azure was because we knew we could scale-out. We were happy with this scalability before we committed to the product.

Right now, I know only two of our clients are using the solution. They are actually a government organization. But we know we can scale up when we have to.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not had direct contact with technical support. Someone else handles that. But I have not heard any complaints.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was not very complex. It was easy to install this product.

What about the implementation team?

We had a partnership with another team and together we did the installation. They helped us to figure out some architectural decisions which they were very helpful with.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to other people considering this solution is that this is a great product. But there is one problem and that is the rate that Microsoft is changing its software implementations. The rapid changes could make it hard to keep up with upgrades. Some of the features get enabled and disabled very quickly. So we are waiting now until everything settles down because cloud technology is still evolving. We understand that. But, on the other hand, as they make so many changes to keep up with the technology, it remains hard to predict what the future of the product is. I might say to anyone that they wait for some time in 2020 and then start using the product.

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate the product as somewhere between a seven or an eight. If I have to choose seven or eight, I would pick seven-out-of-10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.

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