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Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is the #2 ranked solution in our list of top Cloud Data Warehouse tools. It is most often compared to Snowflake: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics vs Snowflake

What is Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics?

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a Fast, flexible, and secure analytics platform for the enterprise. Azure SQL Data Warehouse lets you independently scale compute and storage, while pausing and resuming your data warehouse within minutes through a massively parallel processing architecture designed for the cloud. Seamlessly create your hub for analytics along with native connectivity with data integration and visualization services, all while using your existing SQL and BI skills.

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is also known as Azure Synapse Analytics, Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Microsoft Azure SQL DW, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, MS Azure Synapse Analytics.

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Customers

Toshiba, Carnival, LG Electronics, Jet.com, Adobe, 

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics pricing:
  • "There is a cost calculator available online that allows you to input your entire scenario, and it will get back to you with information on what the costs are going to be."
  • "My company pays for the license and I am not sure about the price."
  • "We normally pay between $300 and $500 per month, which is quite expensive for how much we actually use it, performance- and usage-wise. They have a cheap version and an expensive version, and our usage usually falls in the middle ground, which makes it not as cost-effective as it could be."
  • "It goes by the usage, and there are some limits. Synapse goes by particular pricing, and it is expensive. Both Azure Synapse Analytics and Snowflake are pretty expensive. They don't have standard pricing. They deal with each customer differently."
  • "They are cost aggressive, and it integrates well with other Microsoft tools."
  • "This solution starts at €1000.00 a month for just the basics and can go up to €300,000.00 per month for the fastest version."

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Reviews

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JS
Information Architect at Systems Analysis & Design Engineering
Real User
Top 20
Scalable, intuitive, facilitates compliance and keeping your data secure

Pros and Cons

  • "We also like governance. It looks at what the requirements are for the company to identify the best way to ensure compliance is met when you move to the cloud."
  • "It would be beneficial to take the top vendors and identify some kind of straightforward action to work with them. Instead of having to employ a separate vendor tool to be able to move this, it would be nice to be able to go through Microsoft."

What is our primary use case?

I am a consultant, and when I go on-site, it's to determine how they can move to the cloud. Often, clients want to migrate because everyone else is. Others want to because they assume that they are going to save money. They will require less support staff in-house and they won't have to purchase servers.

Customers have a need to cut back on expenses, and equipment. Their servers are becoming obsolete and are required to update their licensing. Rather than doing that and creating a larger overhead, they look into Microsoft Azure. It might be a better way to go and it's less money upfront. 

Some clients have already implemented VMs. A lot of their data is stored that way. There is a difference when you move that to the cloud. 

If you share it back and forth, you have your hybrid where you have it in the cloud and on-premises. It depends on the company and what their plans are.

There is an automated tool that you can analyze your data sources and identify whether or not you can upgrade them and you can also use it for SharePoint. I've used Azure for that purpose.

In regards to data warehouses, I'm doing the upgrades from on-prem to in the cloud, or a combination of both.

How has it helped my organization?

With our current COVID situation and being under lockdown, many of the businesses are moving to the cloud and it's been beneficial for us.

Many consulting agencies have set up online businesses where you can reach out and they will do webinars to introduce you to things. I have been involved with that too and it gives customers a taste of things that will give you more of an opportunity to sell it to them.

What is most valuable?

What I use the most is the tool to identify the upgrades. When you have a data warehouse on-premise you have jobs that run. Similar to an SQL agent, you are not comparing apples to apples, there are differences between the way the jobs are run on Azure versus the on-premises.

We also like governance. It looks at what the requirements are for the company to identify the best way to ensure compliance is met when you move to the cloud.

They can be leary of moving to the cloud, They want to determine when someone has access to the client's data when sharing, and are in the same environment, that the data is secure. Essentially, they are accountable and need to be able to identify how secure their data is for their clients.

What needs improvement?

Technical support needs to improve.

Microsoft improves all of the time, but there are some things where different vendors offer data warehousing and data governance that you can build and workaround. It would be beneficial to take the top vendors and identify some kind of straightforward action to work with them. Instead of having to employ a separate vendor tool to be able to move this, it would be nice to be able to go through Microsoft.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse since 2012.

It's in the cloud and updated every six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution.

Our client's companies vary in size. They are across the board from insurance companies, healthcare, marketing, and manufacturing.

How are customer service and technical support?

Early on, Microsoft was not good at supporting its product and issues. I had lost a contract because showed up to late to resolve an issue that I was having when doing a comparison between Microsoft and an IBM product, where I wasn't able to transfer the data fast enough.

I have reached out to the technical support team since and some of it is really good, whereas, at other times, you are better to post it online and try to resolve it yourself. They support the tool but don't have to experience with the tool.

I would rate the technical support an eight out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used Oracle as a backend, but I am not skilled with Oracle. The frontend has always been with Microsoft.

How was the initial setup?

You couldn't be a novice really and follow it.

As long as you were using the tools already, it's pretty straightforward. 

They do have resources you can contact.

You could have one or two of your team join the Microsoft groups and learn more that way as well. 

There is a lot of planning and setting the right people in motion to work with it.

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

There is a cost calculator available online that allows you to input your entire scenario, and it will get back to you with information on what the costs are going to be. You can adjust it to include different requirements to best suit your budgeting needs.

Microsoft also offers suggestions on what you would need based on your account.

Microsoft is trying to be more competitive and wants to be very accommodating.

What other advice do I have?

Clients will look at Pro Dell Compare. They use the tool to determine how simple it is or how complicated it will be to move their data. They consider whether they need to make use of one of Microsoft's partners to have them help, or can they do it themselves, and they determine how risky it is along with how simple it will be. Will they have enough manpower, and whether or not they're going to have to hire external consultants to help them. They also consider whether they are going to move their applications or are they going to wait? and what's going to come first. They create a plan.

You want your onsite team to look at, our use cases, look at what we're getting back for information, and then problem-solve. Think about any additional questions, and is this really feasible, because it's not free. You can start out using it for free for a short amount of time.

Microsoft is improving and as they grow, I see that they are pushing towards the enterprise. If you don't quite fit, then you are pushed into it whether you are ready or not.

You really have to consider where you want to be and what you are currently doing.

Anyone looking to use Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, I would advise them to do the research, hire an architect, screen them well, and know their background to ensure that they are going to provide a service for you. Have them work alongside the project manager to identify the resources and what needs to take place and build a plan.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MichelTimp
CHTO at Timp-iT
Real User
Top 5
User-friendly, informative dashboard, and excellent customer service

Pros and Cons

  • "The features most valuable are the simplicity, how easy it is to create a dashboard from different information systems."
  • "Indicating what areas need improvement in this solution is a difficult question because the organizations that I am working for are really new in this area. However, an even better more simple interface, or perhaps an extension of a connector app store solution, would be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

The healthcare sector is looking for how to accomplish certain processes because currently a lot of it is pure logistics. The goal is to announce and to make processes more transparent and see if they can be made more efficient. This is where business analytics comes in. The organization is using different kinds of information sources, such as electronic client dossiers or HR systems. They will see what kind of knowledge is required, how the patient or the clients are experiencing what quality of health, and create dashboards to see how the organization is doing. This will show which areas they can improve and which areas are already more efficient to make them more visible. This should allow a better understanding from the management, organization, and healthcare professional.

What is most valuable?

The features most valuable are the simplicity, how easy it is to create a dashboard from different information systems. We are trying to get these organizations to work with the architecture. This should allow these organizations if there is a new product or a new piece of software that is introduced to be able to handle operations themselves. For example, being able to attach the new product to a Power Bl, create a connector, or create interactive information exchange between these two or more different information systems. Standardization and simplicity, are key features.

The solution can integrate well if there is a connector. It will integrate perfectly with the Office 365 suite and Workspace 365.

What needs improvement?

Indicating what areas need improvement in this solution is a difficult question because the organizations that I am working for are really new in this area. However, an even better more simple interface, or perhaps an extension of a connector app store solution, would be helpful. For example, if your organization, has an electronic client dossier and you want to connect that information system in real-time towards Power BI, you just go to the app store and see if there is an ONS connector, introduce it, set it up, and go from there.

In an upcoming release, it would be beneficial to have the ability to have dashboards on mobile devices to receive a better experience for the user.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for approximately five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is reliable. You have to be aware that you are solely depending on an internet connection. The stability is more about the resilience and reliability of the stability of the network rather than the solution itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not tried to expand the solution into a very large extension because it is a rather small organization that I am working for. The Azure platform where Power BI is running on is expandable to whatever you like.

We have many organizations using this solution. The care organization I am working for has three customers using it. I am also working as an associate with another company and they have multiple organizations that are working with these solutions. My estimate would be approximately 15 organizations that are working with this solution.

We have plans to increase usage, but these organizations are all at the starting point. This is a strategic solution to improve their processes and business continuity. It is a conservative environment, every change is really hard. It is really stressful to get changes done and it will take some time. This solution changes the way in which work is done, it will take up to three to four years to be widely adopted.

How are customer service and technical support?

If I ever have to do call Microsoft support, they are really supportive. For instance, on the Office 365 suite, I had an issue and I received a call back the next day by somebody in the United States. They walked me through the issue and they resolved it within a few hours. They have service-level agreements to attend to and there is good monitoring to see what the status is, the support was really good.

How was the initial setup?

In the initial setup, to make it really easy I have, for instance, just a plain Excel sheet retrieving information in and one information system which brings in live data giving you a good starting point. It is not a really hard setup, to do it is quite straightforward. In the Netherlands, there are some major players concerning electronic client dossiers and electronic patient dossiers. Once you go through the complexity once you can then re-use it for a different customer.

The deployment just takes approximately two hours. It is the testing and the acceptance, and what to get out of the product, that is going to take a longer period of time. This could take up to a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

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

The type of license depends on what you want. This is a perpetual and monthly license, similar to Office 365.

My company pays for the license and  I am not sure about the price. Sometimes my company wants to have a micro business case study to see if it is an actual benefit for us to purchase. It is a strategic solution and we have to make sure that the organization understands this is going to save them money in the long run.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to those wanting to implement this solution would be to "Think big and act small." See what is up ahead. One of the organizations that I am working for, the big picture is population health management. We are not going to start with that, we are going to start to improve one small process, which is a cumbersome process that is been difficult for many years. That is the process that we are going to make transparent towards the organization, to see where the bottlenecks could be or are, and improve that process. 

We want the user experience to improve and that the amount of time you can save is monitored, which can be used for other care processes. Start with a cumbersome problem, resolve them first. You can actually tell within the organization, if the solution is already working, not on the larger scale, but on the small scale. Once you start seeing these results move on to the next problem.

The solution is secure. However, the organization has to be aware that if you use the security by default, the security is there. It has security by design. It is not the optimal security, I would always recommend that organizations use multi-factor authentication for an additional security layer. Additionally, if possible, have a next-generation firewall within their network in use or, if not, start implementing that if they are planning to move forward into an outsource Azure platform-based eco landscape.

I rate Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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SS
Sr. Teradata Consultant at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Consultant
Top 20
Easily scalable with lots of features and good encryption

Pros and Cons

  • "Microsoft provides both the platform and the data center, so you don't have to look for a cloud vendor. It saves you from having to deal with two vendors for the same task."
  • "The performance needs to improve in future releases."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for analytic purposes. It allows us to store data for years and then go back and look up information to learn things like how users function, react, follow trends, etc. It allows us to follow past and recent demands for products as well so that we might be able to find the reasoning behind the action or trend.

What is most valuable?

With this solution, I can better understand buying patterns and user habits. I can tell in real-time a customer's review and purchase based on that. I can tell that from the cloud data of Azure Data Warehouse.

The solution offers a variety of different features.

There are two layers, so data storage and computation are separated.

For the customer, there aren't any storage limitations, so you are able to explore and size of data including megabytes and terabytes. Once you have stored the data you can analyze the data that if you have in order to write some complex queries. After that, the solution makes it possible to visualize that data itself. 

The computation makes it so that you can run scenarios without an impact on your storage location.

If you compare the product to other solutions, you'll notice it takes less time for less cost. All other vendors have different architecture so their pricing is a little bit different and they are charging pricing per second. Microsoft charges per unit, or DTU, Data Transfer Unit. It will charge based on how much data you are consuming and how much data you are doing transactions with. It is monthly not daily.

Microsoft provides both the platform and the data center, so you don't have to look for a cloud vendor. It saves you from having to deal with two vendors for the same task.

The solution is consistently improving a lot of things, including security features. There are eight or nine different security features there. You can even encrypt your data.

What needs improvement?

There are features coming int he next few quarters that will be helpful. Soon, Power BI will be directly integrated into Azure. We need to have some Spark tools also available so we can directly select customers and don't need to install everything.

There will be features added that relate to application development. There's hopefully going to be more flexibility with the XML. Right now, for example, Data Warehouse is not able to give XML files and your file put is not correct. The feature will hopefully allow us to read XML.

The performance needs to improve in future releases.

We're hoping that Microsoft will add integration with the Amazon AWS platform.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for four years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. We haven't had any issues with it in terms of experiencing bugs and glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Microsoft has different sizing options that comes at different price points. It's easy to scale up or down. If you find, after a few years, your needs are growing, you can increase your BTU size the maximum may be about 13,000. 

With this solution, we can actually automate scalability, which makes it very easy to scale. If you require more data, it will automatically increase your DP size and process the data. We have the flexibility we need so that, whenever a node gets filled, we never have to worry. Another node will pick up and process the data.

With Snowflake, in comparison, if your system is not running, then Snowflake will go into an auto suspend mode. You can sync the time, and, within the 10 minutes, if the system is not running, it will go to an automatic suspended mode. There is no charge in this mode. In that case, we have to manually find what we need to virtualize the function. 

Azure has other mechanisms in place. We can write Azure functions and we can schedule the Azure functions in order to automate them. We can do similar kinds of functionality, however, we have some additional coding we require for Snowflake. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had no need for support. Everything is automated and pretty much taken care of. We need to configure everything and the Azure portal will get us to the dashboard. In that dashboard, you'll get all of your current information including information on how the system and the cluster is running. 

The backend is very nice. There are a lot of additional features that help you manage the product. As users, you will get the visualization dashboard. It is very easy to see, which nodes are running and how much data is processed. We can see everything on the portal, and that makes everything very easy to handle.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've had prior data warehouse experience with traditional systems like the Oracle, Superserver, or Teradata.

Snowflake is the only provider with no cloud platform. You have to buy a platform in order to adopt it. Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud all have their own dedicated platform. They have their own dedicated data centers.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not difficult. If you have access to the subscription you can start using Azure Data Warehouse and being to create the services. There are security features also. You can give someone full access, and you can set access for others too. Developers will need access so that they can develop it out. It's a pretty straightforward process.

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

In comparison, I find that AWS is much more costly.

What other advice do I have?

We're a Microsoft partner.

I have experience with the Microsoft Cloud Data Warehouse specifically within the Unix cloud environment.

We're using the latest version of the solution.

It's important for organizations considering the solution to consider their business requirements and expectations. They need to be clear about what type of cloud solution they are looking for. We help our clients do this and interview them to find out what their needs are so that the best platform can be chosen for them. It may be Azure. It may be Snowflake. It depends on the company's needs.

At the end of the day, the customer will always want the best possible pricing. They'll typically ask how they can save money but have high throughput or more input with less price. If that's the case, Microsoft may be the perfect solution.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
Alexis Bustamante
STI Data Leader at grupo gtd
Real User
Top 5
Smoothly integrates data from diverse sources, but can be prone to bugs

Pros and Cons

  • "We use Azure Synapse Analytics in many different areas and industries, so I like that you can administrate and create pipelines for difference sources of data and later integrate and deploy it to other internal areas, such as separate dashboards for financials, and so on."
  • "Unfortunately, we have had some issues with the dashboard reporting. Sometimes, the data for specific periods would just appear blank on the dashboard. To investigate this, we worked with a Microsoft incident agent and it turned out to be a result of bugs in the platform when dealing with specific types of queries in Azure Data Factory."

What is our primary use case?

I work with Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, and Premier as a data administrator, using Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure. Azure Synapse Analytics is the principal data administration tool for our internal data warehousing, but we also use it for our customers' data warehousing and analytics in different industries. For data entry, we use Microsoft Power BI.

Internally, we have about 200 personnel currently using Azure Synapse Analytics, including data specialists, service managers, and other tech workers. It is not extensively used by all, however, because we don't often use it for very large amounts of data, except where financial data is involved.

How has it helped my organization?

Azure Synapse Analytics helps us move quickly when it comes to finding data warehousing and analytics solutions for our customers.

What is most valuable?

We use Azure Synapse Analytics in many different areas and industries, so I like that you can administrate and create pipelines for different sources of data and later integrate and deploy it to other internal areas, such as separate dashboards for financials, and so on.

It is our main data warehouse solution, and the one big feature I appreciate is all its various analytics functions. The built-in analytics also makes it an attractive option for our customers, where we act as a service provider for them.

What needs improvement?

Unfortunately, we have had some issues with the dashboard reporting. Sometimes, the data for specific periods would just appear blank on the dashboard. To investigate this, we worked with a Microsoft incident agent and it turned out to be a result of bugs in the platform when dealing with specific types of queries in Azure Data Factory.

We have also encountered some bugs regarding incompatibility with certain versions of Power BI. In the past, Power BI used to integrate nicely with Azure Analysis Services which we used as a bridge between Power BI and Synapse Analytics, but they have since discontinued the features that worked so well for us.

Apart from fixing bugs, I would also suggest:

  • The learning features and documentation could be improved and expanded on.
  • The calculation and forecasting tools could be made more clear and easy to use.
  • The price could be lower.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics for one and a half years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

When it comes to stability, Synapse Analytics has suited us well, because it's very fast, i.e. it has good performance. Compared with the on-premises SQL solutions we've used, the results are two times as fast.

There are some bugs that we've encountered with the platform but we are able to work with Microsoft directly to resolve them as they come up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm very impressed by the scalability of Synapse Analytics, even though we don't use it for huge amounts of data most of the time. Combined with the availability of machine learning and other features in the cloud, it has a lot of potential, especially in the area of finance.

How are customer service and technical support?

In our context as service provider, normally we have direct contact with the server. But in some cases, we have needed extra support which was very slow.

For technical issues, I often solve them myself using Microsoft's learning resources and support forum.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For me, it's the fifth data warehouse I've used. Other specialists here also use other warehousing solutions based on SQL but for the moment Synapse Analytics is the best overall solution for us primarily because of its ease of implementation and flexibility.

How was the initial setup?

Because I was not familiar with the solution beforehand, the initial setup was quite complex. I had to learn a lot in the beginning stages. I'm grateful that there is help to be found in the Microsoft forums, however, and there are also options to study for certifications that help you learn how to use the platform properly.

What about the implementation team?

It took approximately six months to implement Azure Synapse Analytics in our organization. We set up the data warehouse features for internal use across 200 users, including data specialists, service managers, and tech workers who manage our own data and also our customers' data.

For the main deployment, we used a third-party support provider in Chile who helped us greatly.

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

We normally pay between $300 and $500 per month, which is quite expensive for how much we actually use it, performance- and usage-wise. They have a cheap version and an expensive version, and our usage usually falls in the middle ground, which makes it not as cost-effective as it could be.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated on-premises SQL solutions for data warehousing, but our main motivation for using Synapse Analytics instead is that it lets us come up with and manage customer solutions very quickly. Some specialists are still using other SQL solutions as well, however.

What other advice do I have?

There is always room for improvement with Azure Synapse Analytics, but for our use cases it works very well. 

I would rate Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
DR
Director, Consulting, Technology Services at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
MSP
Easy to scale out and scale down services and relatively straightforward to install, but needs Managed VNet and more compatibility with SQL Server

Pros and Cons

  • "The ability to scale out services on-demand and scale them down when they are not required is most valuable. You are in control of your expenditures, and you are also in control of the horsepower that you need. That's a major advantage."
  • "The major challenge that we're seeing with Azure Synapse is around security concerns. The way it is working right now, it has Managed VNet by Microsoft option, similar to the implementation of Azure Databricks, which may pose a concern for financial institutions. For managed environments, the banks have very strict policies around data being onboarded to those environments. For some confidential applications, the banks have the policy to encrypt it with their own key, so it is sort of like Bring Your Own Key, but it is not possible to manage the resources with Microsoft or Databricks, which is probably the major challenge with Azure Synapse. There should be more compatibility with SQL Server. It should be easier to migrate solutions between different environments because right now, it is not really competitive. It is not like you can go and install SQL Database in some other environment. You will have to go through some migration projects, which probably is one of the major showstoppers for any bank. When they consider Synapse, they not only consider the investment in the actual service; they also consider the cost of the migration process. When you scale out or scale down your system, it becomes unavailable for a few minutes. Because it is a data warehouse environment, it is not such a huge deal, but it would be great if they can improve it so that the platform is available during the change of configuration."

What is our primary use case?

We mostly provide cloud data warehousing platforms for major banks in Canada. What we're trying to do is to create a standard platform environment that is compliant with the regulatory requirements imposed by the government and financial overseeing institutions for the banks. We help them to onboard the lines of business to these platforms and migrate the existing workloads to the cloud platforms.

What is most valuable?

The ability to scale out services on-demand and scale them down when they are not required is most valuable. You are in control of your expenditures, and you are also in control of the horsepower that you need. That's a major advantage.

What needs improvement?

The major challenge that we're seeing with Azure Synapse is around security concerns. The way it is working right now, it has Managed VNet by Microsoft option, similar to the implementation of Azure Databricks, which may pose a concern for financial institutions. For managed environments, the banks have very strict policies around data being onboarded to those environments. For some confidential applications, the banks have the policy to encrypt it with their own key, so it is sort of like Bring Your Own Key, but it is not possible to manage the resources with Microsoft or Databricks, which is probably the major challenge with Azure Synapse.

There should be more compatibility with SQL Server. It should be easier to migrate solutions between different environments because right now, it is not really competitive. It is not like you can go and install SQL Database in some other environment. You will have to go through some migration projects, which probably is one of the major showstoppers for any bank. When they consider Synapse, they not only consider the investment in the actual service; they also consider the cost of the migration process.

When you scale out or scale down your system, it becomes unavailable for a few minutes. Because it is a data warehouse environment, it is not such a huge deal, but it would be great if they can improve it so that the platform is available during the change of configuration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Generally, it is stable. We all heard about the Active Directory issue earlier this week, but it was not related to Synapse. It was related to the Azure platform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. The only thing is that when you scale out or scale down your system, it becomes unavailable for a few minutes. Because it is a data warehouse environment, it is not such a huge deal, but it would be great if they can improve it so that the platform is available during the change of configuration.

How are customer service and technical support?

We're working with banks, and they have great support because Microsoft has multiple representatives closely monitoring each account. Whenever there is an issue, they're being proactive. They're making a lot of money out of it. Most of the banks, on average, spend between 30 to 50 million a year on Azure. They're pretty large accounts, and Microsoft has dedicated people supporting everything related to Azure.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We deliver platforms to different banks. Some of the banks go with Synapse, and some of the banks go with Snowflake. Overall, these are two major alternatives available right now.

There are multiple differences in terms of the support of different workloads. When one of the banks made a decision to go with Snowflake, the major reason for it was the support for the multi-cloud environment. The major pro of Synapse is the service, and the major con is that when you decide to move out of Synapse, you would have to rewrite the entire thing, whereas, with Snowflake, it would be just simple migration to different cloud providers.

How was the initial setup?

It is relatively straightforward as long as you understand what you're doing.

What about the implementation team?

You don't really need to maintain it. That's the entire point of the cloud. You pay for it to be maintained. 

We do deal with monitoring and other similar things, but most of the activities are automated. Overall, it doesn't require a lot of labor around it. We're delivering the platform as infrastructure as a cloud, so everything is going through the pipeline. 

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

It goes by the usage, and there are some limits. Synapse goes by particular pricing, and it is expensive. Both Azure Synapse Analytics and Snowflake are pretty expensive. They don't have standard pricing. They deal with each customer differently.

What other advice do I have?

For working with Synapse, you need to have an understanding and knowledge of the product to take full advantage of it. Synapse has a lot of features in terms of scalability, such as resource management, distribution, and partitioning. There are a lot of things that you need to consider when you go for it. It is not a simple database that you put in there, and it is running itself. 

I would rate Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Mukul Biswas
Enterprise Solutions at Celebal Technologies
Real User
Top 10
Scalable, easy to use and set up with an intuitive platform that integrates well with Power BI

Pros and Cons

  • "They are available on the Cloud, and the platform is very intuitive."
  • "It needs strong support for social media, internet data, and native support for NoSQL."

What is our primary use case?

We are service providers for our clients.

My clients primarily come from the enterprise segments, such as manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical, and industrial. Most are supported by a large ERP solution like SAP.

Some of our clients are mid-size and others are large enterprise companies, some of the largest in India.

What is most valuable?

Some of the most valuable features would include Familiarity for practitioners like us and also familiarity for the businesses. SQL servers have been around for several decades and there are many who are familiar with SQL servers, such as SSIS and SSRS.

They are available on the Cloud, and the platform is very intuitive.

It integrates very well with Power BI, which I would rate as the best self-service BI. All the data warehouses eventually end up in BI or Machine Learning. 

Instant Apps that are more integrated rather than desperate components. You need to get different components engineered together, and with SQL everything comes together.

Instant Apps is a combination of your Spark compute platform, your SQL data platform, and your object storage. It's a platform that is integrated all together. 

It's easy to work with a faster turnaround time on my project deliveries.

Also, the integration with Power BI self-service is much, much easier and familiar.

You can have several SQL servers, they have large .NET artifacts that combine various components together very well.

What needs improvement?

What I would like to see more and more of in Azure is its support for IoT and streaming media information.

It needs strong support for social media, internet data, and native support for NoSQL. At this time, it works very well with the structured data

Stability could be improved.

Technical support is very good, but could also be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

My company has been working with SQL Data Warehouse for approximately three and a half years, and I have been working with this solution for one and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the last six months, there have been a couple of incidents. We have experienced som outages. One of our clients was in a blackout for a couple of hours. Most of the clients in India have experienced outages also. They were restored, so I refer to them as glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In principle, it's a limitless, serverless solution. As long as your region has resources, you can go on expanding. We have not had any problems with scalability.

Microsoft Azure comes integrated with Databricks as a Machine Learning platform, it's highly scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technicals support engages very well. We have account managers in place who correspond with technical support. 

The technical support team has a good relationship with our Account managers.

If we have an issue, we advise our account managers and present the ticket, they contact Technical support and resolve the issue very quickly.

If however, I have to contact Microsoft technical support at the backend, they are not very knowledgable. They have a good understanding of their products, but most of the time they struggle with that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy. The learning curve for Microsoft platforms is very low. An engineer with very little experience would be able to complete the initial set up with ease.

It has a quick turnaround time. We have completed the deployment in weeks.

For a BI project scheduled for six months, within the first month we would have completed the data warehouse installation, and the remaining five months would be for building the content, the data pipelines from the sources, the semantic models, and the BI.

When you compare it with other solutions that take months to get your sandbox running or to get your development running.

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

They are cost aggressive, and it integrates well with other Microsoft tools. For example Downstream and Teams.

What other advice do I have?

We use the serverless platform as a service, that is only available with Microsoft Azure.

You don't have to hire experienced engineers to set up and implement the solution, saving you money, because it is very intuitive and the turnaround time is very low compared to other data warehouses. I would put it in par with solutions such as Redshift and BigQuery.

It's very modern, easy, and intuitive.

Most of the services are cheaper than other vendors.

This definitely falls into one of the top three or top four solutions and platforms in the world. I would definitely recommend it. If someone should ask me if they should use Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, I would say yes.

Personally, I don't see one great solution that exceeds in all aspects. Every solution has some good points and I think they have very beautifully found their strength and they're building upon it.

When asked what would best suit me, I would assess their environment requirements and could easily recommend any of the top four, being AWS Redshift, Google, Big Query, and Microsoft Azure.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
MD
Managing Partner at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
A good solution for simple data warehousing that scales well, but it needs better technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the scalability."
  • "It's pay as you go, so you never know what your bill is going to be beforehand, and that's scary for customers. If you have someone who makes a mistake and the program's a loop that is running all night, you could receive a very expensive bill."

What is our primary use case?

This is a data warehousing solution.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the scalability. It scales out, so you can build a large database and not have to think about whether it performs, or about connecting to the servers to become larger.

What needs improvement?

There are several specific features and functions available on the on-premises version that do not work with the cloud version. There are many issues regarding migration.

They are building it more and more, but if you have the same version on local you cannot just go to the cloud because some of the functionalities don't work yet. You would have to re-code everything, and maybe even do it differently.

In terms of documentation, they can make it easier or start with some advising or instruction. As it is now, it's like making a puzzle.

Technical support needs some improvement.

They will need to include some features for the Cloud version.

They can make subsets of the database so you can schedule the marking department to work only between nine to five, but ETL can run at night. 

With a subset database, you can cut costs, similar to Snowflake whose price is a lot lower.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for almost two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable.

We have a couple of administrations using this solution and the rest are indirectly using third-party tools. They are developers and administrators.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is difficult. I don't think that their support is good.

You can call for help, they take your request, but they don't have an understanding of the tool.

You have to wait a couple of days for someone to call you back.

There have been times where I knew more than they did, so you have to figure it out for yourself.

I am not satisfied with the support, but I do understand that when you have a service desk or a help desk, they cannot go through the entire solution. What I expect is that the second line should, but they don't have a second line.

You submit in a support ticket and three days later you get a callback and have to explain the problem that you are having again. It takes more time.

I have called Microsoft and even they were not sure and nobody could really help me.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for me was straightforward, but I have a lot of experience. I think that for some people who are less experienced it would be complex.

It's not just the documentation on what version you need to have and what pricing. It is really difficult.

You have to read a lot to understand what you are doing.

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

This solution starts at €1000.00 a month for just the basics and can go up to €300,000.00 per month for the fastest version.

It's pay as you go, so you never know what your bill is going to be beforehand, and that's scary for customers. If you have someone who makes a mistake and the program's a loop that is running all night, you could receive a very expensive bill.

The bad side to pay as you go is that sometimes it can stop the enthusiasm of the data scientists, as they are afraid to run a query because they are afraid of the bill and how much it will be.

What other advice do I have?

It's a nice solution for a simple data warehousing, but it's still an immature solution.

It is stable but it takes a lot of time. 

Smaller companies have better products, but the problem will always be there and the smaller company will not survive.

Customers will have tools that are not supported anymore.

Microsoft is so big that people trust them, they will eventually get there but it will take time to get the features with quality. There are, however, some solutions available that are better and cheaper. You can purchase them instead of having to reprogram everything that you have already done.

My advice would be to compare this solution with others. Snowflake would be a comparable solution. It's cheaper, faster, and better.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ML
Managing Director at a consultancy with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 20
Good scalability and stability but needs user training

Pros and Cons

  • "The stability is pretty good."
  • "The macro functions, though useful, are not totally user-friendly. Some people have difficulties in learning them."

What is our primary use case?

We are using it internally and afterward some of the outcomes are made public, either to customers or in different projects.

It's mainly for preparing internal documents when we use Word. Otherwise, we use it for externally or for a lot of PowerPoint and Excel for budget purposes. Being a small company, we don't need a very sophisticated software solution, so with an Excel spreadsheet, we can handle the different budget of different projects simultaneously.

How has it helped my organization?

When connecting one project to the other, especially when it's handled by the same project director, the possibility of linking one spreadsheet to the other has been useful. Also, when using a Word document and making a link to another document based on an Excel spreadsheet, that's very useful. It's also great that we can interrelate one document to the other and sometimes one project to the other.

What is most valuable?

The macro functions of Excel are very useful. 

The stability is pretty good.

The solution has the potential to scale.

What needs improvement?

The macro functions, though useful, are not totally user-friendly. Some people have difficulties in learning them.

If the project keeps growing we will need to link some of the documents to the data warehouse. However, at that time, I'm not sure about the possibility of keeping the same systems that we are using right now. We may need some kind of migration. I cannot say for sure, as I am not an expert. We'll need advice on that.

The initial setup is not straightforward.

The solutions not user-friendly and does require training of some sort.

The solution requires a lot of the memory of the different devices.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for a while. We use it pretty much every day and have used it over the past 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

My intention is to increase productivity. As long as a project can still be handled the way they are, we will keep using the current system. If we see a better alternative with better productivity achievement, we will most probably think about migration. For now, we find it to be stable and acceptable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We do plan to increase usage and we may hire a consultant to help with an expansion in a few months. This will likely happen, however, anything can change in terms of the business and the larger industry.

Scalability is good. I foresee scalability in terms of the possibility of using more features and the only difficult thing that I see already is the macros of the Excel spreadsheets. I also know that it has a good opportunity for scalability, in terms of the more complex tasks that can be achieved. 

Currently, we have ten people on the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We use an outsourcing service for technical support. We've been satisfied with their level of service.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We haven't used a different product. We've always used Microsoft.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. It's not straightforward.

In many ways, implementation is a never-ending process, as there are always things to improve. In a few months, most of our people are familiar with the product and have a good sense of the basics, however, there's always more to do.

What about the implementation team?

There was actually one consultant at the beginning of the project. We will also definitely need someone for future migration. However, it's not something that we are considering at present. It's something we'll need to do probably in the next few months. It will depend on the growth of the business.

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

The licensing is okay. There might be a few extra fees in addition to the standard license.

What other advice do I have?

I'm just an end-user and customer.

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten.

I'd rate them higher if they could make it more user-friendly in terms of those more sophisticated capabilities that the system offers. Also, the training requires long hours. That's something difficult to organize when people have to be allocated to specific training sessions, instead of being on the projects. There's a kind of complex way of balancing the possibility of some people using the more sophisticated solutions and getting trained. 

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