We just raised a $30M Series A: Read our story
EK
Data Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Has good MPP architecture but Data Factory integration should be enhanced

Pros and Cons

  • "The MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) architecture helps to make things a lot faster."
  • "This is a young product in transition to the cloud and it needs more work before it is both settled as a product and competitive in the market."

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.
AveekDas
Analytics Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 10
Incremental load saves us time, and the transaction log shipping provides good data replication

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the incremental load because we do not need to refresh the entire data on a daily basis."
  • "I would like to see version control implemented into the data warehouse."

What is our primary use case?

We are developing our SQL Data Warehouse locally, using SQL Server 2016 on our private cloud, and we will be migrating it to Azure once it is ready.

The company for which I am working deals with products in the leisure industry, such as museums and swimming pools. They use the data warehouse solution for big data reporting. Currently, we are developing a multi-platform data warehouse that can support the reporting requirements for all of the customers. Whatever analytics they want to perform will be done with the data warehouse, and not the SQL database application.

My role is to design the data warehouse, and once that is complete, we need to build the data pipelines so that the data can be moved from the application databases into the warehouse. Then we will design the OLAP servers and OLAP cubes, vertically, to give us a presentation layer on top of the data warehouse. This layer is what the customers will be using.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the incremental load because we do not need to refresh the entire data on a daily basis. We have a nightly load where all of the data is updated, and it is a very good feature.

The transaction log shipping gives us the ability to replicate the database onto different servers for backup and synchronization.

What needs improvement?

The major concern is that I have a hard time with having to version control the data warehouse all the time. As it is now, I have to open all of the ports and push everything onto the server. I would like to see version control implemented into the data warehouse. This would make the tool perfect. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse for about two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The version that we have been using, 2016, is stable. We have not used the 2019 version in production yet, but there is a team that is evaluating that version right now. I'm not sure of the reason for it not being in production, whether it is related to stability or not.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. I think we are already using a high availability cluster for 2016, so I assume that it will be the same with the 2019 version. We are also using it with our data recovery system, so it is not an issue.

We have approximately twelve to fifteen developers and approx. 900+ customers who will be using the data warehouse. We are acquiring customers on a monthly or quarterly basis, so it is a pretty big user base and we expect that our usage will continue to increase.

How are customer service and technical support?

We don't have too many technical issues, so overall, I think that it's good enough.

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

I began with Microsoft SQL Server and have been on the Microsoft platform ever since.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty straightforward. It has been a long time since we first implemented this solution, but since that point, we have created a custom handbook that we can follow in order to set it up.

What other advice do I have?

There are certain design concepts that can be used to design a data warehouse. My advice to anybody who is implementing this solution is to first study the user's needs, and then go with that approach. The design will be specific to the needs.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
542,721 professionals have used our research since 2012.
JL
Senior Architect at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Top 20
Built-in pipelines, with responsive and committed support, but needs better pipeline security

Pros and Cons

  • "I think the most valuable component is that pipelines are built into it and then the feature that you can mirror a cosmos BB for analytics."
  • "It's a complicated product."

What is our primary use case?

I work for a consulting firm, with many different use cases.

Synapse DW is for traditional data warehousing with a large amount of volume, that requires you to do reporting.

In terms of Synapse Analytics, I haven't put it in yet, but I'm looking at it for kind of one-stop-shop or Swiss Army Knife type projects. They've been asking for a factory or creating something that connects to the cosmos to turn it into analytics reportings, just sort of needless connecting and just making it easy from a developer standpoint to deliver on any sort of business analytics that needs to be done.

What is most valuable?

I think the most valuable component is that pipelines are built into it and then the feature that you can mirror a cosmos BB for analytics.

What needs improvement?

I think that there should be better governance. Actual pipeline level security, if you create a pipeline within the tool, because it's a one-stop-shop for everything, you control who has access to what, and that goes for anything, whether it's an internal or an externally managed table. 

I think there needs to be an improvement with support for external tables supporting Spark, but further support of Lakehouse to make it a true data warehousing product where you have this true separation of computes and you have a separation of storage. 

I think it kind of dips its toes in there, but in order to achieve, I think with a vision that Microsoft is doing, trying to get at to replace Bolt, but compete with Snowflake and Databricks at the same time, it needs to have those features on.

In the next release, I would like to see Lakehouse and better governance.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics for six months and Synaps for a couple of years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a very stable solution. We have not had any issues with the stability of it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For its traditional data warehousing, it's scalable.

For Synapse Analytics, I am uncertain about being able to trust it with large volumes, which is what you would expect with Databricks.

There are only three or four people in our organization who do this type of work.

How are customer service and technical support?

We directly work with Microsoft in everything, so they're very responsive for us and they're definitely very committed to that product.

How was the initial setup?

It's a complicated product.

What about the implementation team?

I am a consultant. I implemented the solution myself.

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

It's very difficult to price unless you know exactly how the customer is using it.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others who are interested in using it.

I think it's definitely something that they should consider. It's come a long way from where it started. 

It's just finished out a public preview and it's great if you're looking to combine a lot of tools into one and you're running a smaller shop. I think it's a great tool.

I would rate this solution a seven 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
NN
Data Architect at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Easy to set up, with good scalability and the ability to keep data in specific regions

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution's scalability is very, very good. It's one of the most important aspects for us."
  • "While the solution is flexible, sometimes this works against the user."

What is most valuable?

The solution's scalability is very, very good. It's one of the most important aspects for us. 

We really need our data to stay in Western Europe. As an insurance company, it's important for our business. Microsoft can guarantee that it stays in Western Europe. That way, data is not processed anywhere else.

It's widely acknowledged as an excellent product throughout the industry. There's a lot of knowledge about it in the Netherlands as well. It makes it very easy to find a consultancy and also employees who can help us with its modern architecture.

The initial setup is easy. You don't need extensive training. It's an intuitive process.

What needs improvement?

What I would like to see is a possibility for time travel on the data. For instance, a financial department would like to do an analysis of the data set as it was for the first of the month while another department wants to run the analysis about how things went yesterday or last week. They have different starting points for the queries. I've seen Snowflake handle tasks such as these. It's got a feature called time shuffling, which can show me what's there on a certain variety of dates. It's very convenient.

It would be great if we could query the data of the day as well as in the data warehouse. 

They should have scalable memory processor options for the data warehouse.

While the solution is flexible, sometimes this works against the user.

For how long have I used the solution?

We're new to the solution. We started using it last year around April or May. It's been less than 12 months so far.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. It's online. That means you can scale it online and can stop the database to change the scaling of it.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had a few calls with technical support. They were very helpful and responsive. We have been satisfied with their level of support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It's not overly complex. A company shouldn't have any issues with the initial setup or implementation. You don't need deep technical insights to have training.

You can create a floor space in an hour. That's no problem. Afterward, you have to work with the data and do a few more things in terms of configuration, however, it's not hard.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the latest version of the solution.

I would rate the solution at an eight out of ten.

I would recommend Synapse, however, it depends on which industry an organization is working in. It can be complex, and often, you have to choose between several tools. They're all able to do the same job, they're just more industry-specific in some cases. 

If you want to transform your data, you can choose between the database, data factory, and SQL, and even other tools.

This means it is very flexible, however, it also makes it difficult to administer. It's not that one of these sources is harder per se. It's more about what is the best for the job. Sometimes you create something and it doesn't perform and you have to start from scratch.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Flag as inappropriate
JM
Practice Director at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
MSP
Scalable with okay technical support but could be more user-friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "Technical support is okay in terms of the help they provide."
  • "The product could be more feature-rich."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is generally used as more of an Analytical Data Warehouse. It's more of an offline enterprise scale. Sometimes I've used it from a marketing perspective, as a marketing data platform. I've not really used it from a risk and the enterprise center as it tends to be more back office, and therefore less around the customer, and more around the finance procurement of HR risk and that type of thing.

What is most valuable?

The solution is scalable.

It's better than a similar solution offered by Amazon.

Technical support is okay in terms of the help they provide.

What needs improvement?

The product could be easier to use. For example, I find Snowflake more user-friendly. They should offer simpler operations.

The initial setup could be faster.

Technical support can get expensive as they charge per use. The product could do more around crowdsourcing to help users find answers or answer questions without having to resort to contacting technical support directly.

The product could be more feature-rich.

They should look at some of what AWS and Snowflake are doing. They've both got a feature stack and also push the integration of things. This is a little bit lacking with Azure.

The analytics side of the solution is pretty weak right now. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for a while. I used it before it was even called Synapse - when it was just Azure SQL Data Warehouse. It's been three or four years.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is okay, however, it can get expensive. The more you use it, the more it costs. I do not like this particular model.

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

I also have experience using Snowflake. I use both products. I originally started using Snowflake in 2017.

How was the initial setup?

The solution takes longer to set up than I would like. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed with the customer, and this can draw out the process. 

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

You do have to pay more the more you use technical support.

Clients have had a free year and then a monthly cost that they need to pay for licensing and access.

What other advice do I have?

I don't use it personally, as I'm a consultant. However, if I implement it for clients, I do use it.

I'd rate the solution at a seven out of ten. There's still some work that needs to be done on the product that can make it a lot better.

I would recommend the solution to a company if they were a Microsoft shop. In that case, it's the obvious thing for them to do and it's a good choice.

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: Implementer
Flag as inappropriate
JT
Senior Project Manager at a tech company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to set up, good pricing, and fairly user-friendly

Pros and Cons

  • "The product is very user friendly."
  • "It would be ideal if the solution could be better used intuitively by the staff without having a great deal of training."

What is our primary use case?

Our general use case is for government purposes, and therefore, I really can't get into too much detail about it.

How has it helped my organization?

The solution is great at saving time. Overall, we spend far less time putting together static reports than we used to.

What is most valuable?

We're able to generate some dynamic reports. I find that very valuable to be able to see our data in such unique ways.

The pricing is pretty good.

The product is very user friendly.

What needs improvement?

After only using the solution for three months, we haven't yet really gotten into every corner of its capabilities. It's hard to say what might be missing in terms of features.

It would be ideal if the solution could be better used intuitively by the staff without having a great deal of training. An organization should be able to adopt and operationalize it throughout their company with minimal training.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three months at this point. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite reliable. We haven't experienced any problems with crashing or freezing and haven't really had experience with bugs or glitches. It's stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable. A company shouldn't have issues expanding it out.

In our organizations, we have less than a dozen users, and those are mostly IT and IT management people.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay. I'd rate them seven out of ten. We're satisfied with the level of support we are given.

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

We were searching for a solution. When we found it, we found something we could use, and then we just stuck with that. We didn't have a previous solution. We had nothing before.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex at all. It's pretty straightforward. I'm not that technical, and I was able to handle it.

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

We've found the pricing to be fair. It's not too expensive.

What other advice do I have?

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations. If they have time, I would suggest a company spends more effort looking at some different offerings. That said, generally, if you don't have a whole lot of money to do something, it's a decent option.

We haven't used the solution for too long, however, it's offered us everything we need in terms of features and capabilities. On a scale from one to ten, I'd rate it at an eight.

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
Alexis Bustamante
STI Data Leader at grupo gtd
Real User
Top 5
Stable and user-friendly but technical support needs improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The useability, the user interface, is very user-friendly."
  • "The initial setup is complex."

What is most valuable?

The stability of the solution is pretty good. It's one of the solution's most valuable aspects.

The useability, the user interface, is very user-friendly.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to improve its integration capabilities. It needs better integration with SQL and other databases. 

The initial setup is complex.

The product needs to implement more machine learning and artificial intelligence.

If they had more IoT and streaming capabilities, it would be helpful.

The product could use more analytics tools.

It would be helpful if we could use the product with less coding.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Normally, the solution is quite stable. The performance is pretty good. We don't regularly deal with issues. It doesn't crash or freeze, and I can't recall any bugs or glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution can scale, however, it is expensive to do so. If a company wants to expand, it will have to pay. Therefore, they should be prepared for that.

Currently, we have about 200 people using the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't have a direct relationship with the technical support when I have a problem. They aren't very good. We aren't satisfied with the level of support we get.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not too straightforward. It's rather complex. We had to get some outside assistance.

The deployment process took us about three months. It was a while.

What about the implementation team?

We hired a consultant to help us with the implementation of the solution.

What was our ROI?

I don't have exact KPIs on this, however, I need to improve the sizing in order to improve our ROI.

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

The is a monthly licensing fee. I can't speak to how much we actually pay, however.

There is just one fee. You do not have any more costs over and above that.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

While we didn't previously evaluate other options, in 2021, we need to explore the other solutions. I intend to look at the Amazon and Google Cloud platforms as other options.

What other advice do I have?

We are both partners and end-users of the product. We use it internally and we use it with some of our clients.

I would caution new users that there is one parameter they need to watch carefully. That is the size of the data warehouse. If you don't configure this parameter to be as small as possible, your costs will be quite high.

I would rate the solution at a seven out of ten. It's a stable platform, however, the price model is questionable in comparison to Amazon and Google and the contact with support is a problem for me. 

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.
Flag as inappropriate
MS
Project Manager at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very scalable with good documentation and fair pricing

Pros and Cons

  • "The pricing seems to be quite fair."
  • "The initial setup has a bit of a learning curve."

What is our primary use case?

We are an IT service provider. We develop solutions for our clients and this solution is used in some aspects of that.

What is most valuable?

The dashboards are good.

We haven't had any issues when it comes to customization.

The security seems to be okay. It hasn't given us any problems and we don't feel insecure.

The pricing seems to be quite fair.

I know their roadmap, and I am looking forward to what they have already published.

We've been happy with the level of reporting and documentation on offer.

What needs improvement?

There aren't any features that are really lacking in the solution. We don't really have any issues with it in its current form.

When we used the on-premises deployment model, we had data latency issues and suffered from page performance problems. However, since we've moved to the cloud, we haven't had these problems.

The initial setup has a bit of a learning curve.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for the past 18 months so far.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution seems to be scalable. We haven't had any issues with bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's quite good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been pretty good, in our experience. We have been able to scale it twice to the number of users we needed. We were also able to double the amount of data load. We haven't had issues. If a company needs to expand, it should be able to do so without problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've dealt with technical support and have found them to be quite responsive and knowledgeable. We're quite satisfied with the level of support we have been getting so far. They're helpful.

How was the initial setup?

It's hard to gauge the difficulty or simplicity of the setup. For our company, we were learning the processes as we were doing it. In that sense, it was challenging due to the fact that we had to learn and then do. After a period of time, we were able to get comfortable.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the implementation ourselves. We taught ourselves about the process as we went.

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

We pay a licensing fee on a monthly basis. We find the pricing to be fair among the competition.

What other advice do I have?

We're just end-users and customers. We don't have a business relationship with the organization.

We're using the latest version of the solution right now.

I'd recommend the solution to other organizations.

I'd rate the solution at a nine 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.
Product Categories
Cloud Data Warehouse
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.