Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is the #3 ranked solution in top Cloud Data Warehouse tools. PeerSpot users give Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics an average rating of 7.8 out of 10. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is most commonly compared to Snowflake: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics vs Snowflake. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 68% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 20% of all views.
Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2022

What is Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics?

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is an end-to-end analytics solution that successfully combines analytical services to merge big data analytics and enterprise data warehouses into a single unified platform. The solution can run intelligent distributed queries among nodes, and provides the ability to query both relational and non-relational data.

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is built with these 4 components:

  1. Synapse SQL
  2. Spark
  3. Synapse Pipeline
  4. Studio

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Features

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics has many valuable key features, including:

  • Cloud Data Service: WIth Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics you can operate services (data analytics, machine learning, data warehousing, dashboarding, etc.) in a single workspace via the cloud.

  • Structured and unstructured data: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics supports both structured and unstructured data and allows you to manage relational and non-relational data - unlike data warehouses and lakes that tend to store them respectively.

  • Effective data storage: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics offers next-level data storage with high availability and different tiers.

  • Responsive data engine: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics uses Massive Parallel Processing (MPP) and is designed to handle large volumes of data and analytical workloads efficiently without any problems.

  • Several scripting languages: The solution provides language compatibility and supports different programming languages, such as Python, Java, Spark SQL, and Scala.

  • Query optimization: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics works well to facilitate limitless concurrency and performance optimization. It also simplifies workload management.

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Benefits

Some of the benefits of using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics include:

  • Database templates: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics offers industry-specific database templates that make it easy to combine and shape data.

  • Better business insights: With Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics you can expand discovery of insights from all your data and apply machine learning models to all your intelligent apps.

  • Reduce project development time: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics makes it possible to have a unified experience for developing end-to-end analytics, which reduces project development time significantly.

  • Eliminate data barriers: By using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you can perform analytics on operational and business apps data without data movement.

  • Advanced security: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics provides both advanced security and privacy features to ensure data protection.

  • Machine Learning: Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics integrates Azure Machine Learning, Azure Cognitive Services, and Power BI.

Reviews from Real Users

Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics users who are currently using the solution.

PeerSpot user Jael S., who is an Information Architect at Systems Analysis & Design Engineering, comments on her experience using the product, saying that it is “Scalable, intuitive, facilitates compliance and keeps your data secure”. She also says "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."

Michel T., CHTO at Timp-iT, mentions that "the features most valuable are the simplicity, how easy it is to create a dashboard from different information systems."

A Senior Teradata Consultant at a tech services company says, "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."


Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics was previously 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 Customers

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

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Video

Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics pricing:
  • "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."
  • "Pay for what you use"
  • "The solution is very expensive because it often requires the purchase of additional storage."
  • "There's no license required for Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. the model is more of a use-based system. You got to pay for computing power and disk storage. Everything has different units and is kept backed up. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics uses storage units(SU). This is how everything's computed for cost."
  • Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Reviews

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    Mukund Mishra - PeerSpot reviewer
    Sr. Technology Architect at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    MSP
    Multifeatured, has better performance over other solutions, and lets users manage structured and unstructured information, but the platform needs to be more user-friendly
    Pros and Cons
    • "What I found most valuable in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is that it's native only for Azure, so you get better performance and there's no issue. To explain further, many different types of data come, in particular, structured and unstructured data. For audit purposes, there's also unstructured data, so the most important aspect is that with Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you have the capability of using both technologies, meaning that you can use or mix structured and unstructured data which is important. This can also be done in Hadoop, and on other platforms, so you have everything in one place. You don't have to worry about how to manage both structured and unstructured data and where to store information. With Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you can take care of everything, particularly in Azure. The solution also provides you with many features apart from analytics, for example, storage which makes it better."
    • "An area for improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is its user interface. You can use it for analytical purposes, but its platform should be a little bit more user-friendly. Another small point for improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is its stability. It's good currently, but it could still be improved. Microsoft is combining different tools and technologies into one solution, so in the future, I'm expecting to see even more improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. An additional feature I'd like to see in the next version of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is the drag-and-drop feature. If you're doing some integrations where you can write Scala or you have SPARK programming or SQL, or you're combining different programming, the process should be seamless, and you should be able to drag and drop in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. When doing reporting in the solution, you should also be able to drag and drop. There should be connectors available and a drag-and-drop feature available in the user interface of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, so you won't have to worry about how all processes would work together. You need to be able to drag and drop even from the backend, and having this feature will make the solution more user-friendly."

    What is most valuable?

    What I found most valuable in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is that it's native only for Azure, so you get better performance and there's no issue. To explain further, many different types of data come, in particular, structured and unstructured data. For audit purposes, there's also unstructured data, so the most important aspect is that with Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you have the capability of using both technologies, meaning that you can use or mix structured and unstructured data which is important. This can also be done in Hadoop, and on other platforms, so you have everything in one place. You don't have to worry about how to manage both structured and unstructured data and where to store information. With Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, you can take care of everything, particularly in Azure.

    The solution also provides you with many features apart from analytics, for example, storage which makes it better.

    What needs improvement?

    An area for improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is its user interface. You can use it for analytical purposes, but its platform should be a little bit more user-friendly.

    Another small point for improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is its stability. It's good currently, but it could still be improved.

    Microsoft is combining different tools and technologies into one solution, so in the future, I'm expecting to see even more improvement in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics.

    An additional feature I'd like to see in the next version of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is the drag-and-drop feature. If you're doing some integrations where you can write Scala or you have SPARK programming or SQL, or you're combining different programming, the process should be seamless, and you should be able to drag and drop in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. When doing reporting in the solution, you should also be able to drag and drop. There should be connectors available and a drag-and-drop feature available in the user interface of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, so you won't have to worry about how all processes would work together. You need to be able to drag and drop even from the backend, and having this feature will make the solution more user-friendly.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics for three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In my opinion, Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is stable. I would rate its stability seven out of ten.

    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    653,584 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is on the cloud, it's scalable, and you won't have that many issues with scalability. If a solution is cloud-based, you won't have to worry about whether it's scalable or whether it supports other features, because you'd have all features in the cloud itself. You can scale up or scale down Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics based on your requirement, so it all depends on what exactly you want. In the cloud, you won't have to schedule, wait, think, or plan. You can scale up or scale down automatically anytime.

    How are customer service and support?

    I'm working on behalf of a vendor for the client, so my team is supporting not just users of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics within my company, but several other companies as well. Apart from supporting the infrastructure, data-related services, and other services, my team provides a combined type of effort for clients. My team is a big team with people working together from three different companies providing support for Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. My team provides technical support for the solution.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup for Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is straightforward because Azure makes it very easy. Any Azure solution is very user-friendly, but you just have to know how to use the solution, and that's it. Setting up Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is not that complex if you're knowledgeable.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I evaluated AWS, and if you compare Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics with AWS, Azure excels more than AWS.

    Amazon or AWS is established, and there's no doubt about it. It's also less costly in comparison with Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, but since I worked on both platforms, if you want everything where you have to pay a little bit, and you don't want to pay or invest in some other development areas, and you want certain features to be automatically available for you, apart from a lot of features to be available on any platform you use, then your choice should be Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. Amazon is a cloud provider only and relies mostly on open-source, but Azure has support from Microsoft which is an innovative company. Whatever product is offered by Azure, Microsoft support is there, and as a company, Microsoft is always very innovative, so a product such as Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is very useful and very user-friendly, which you won't get that much, at least for now, from Amazon. If Amazon wants to be comparable to Azure and have the same capabilities, then it will need to depend on some other companies. Whereas for Microsoft products, for example, GEO, it's native to the Microsoft platform, so it's comfortable to use, even though it's open-source and you're never sure of what type of problems could arise. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, because it's an Azure or Microsoft solution, is more advantageous than AWS.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm an architect and I'm using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, and apart from that solution, I'm also using other types such as Big Data, AIML, SPARK, and Scala. I'm also into other languages and reporting services.

    I'm using the solution for my clients. Currently, I'm using it for clients, particularly Netherland-based banking institutions that have a cloud setup on Azure, but the deployment is now hybrid because of an ongoing migration. It's not completely migrated yet, so there's still something left in the data center. The clients have an ongoing migration from Hadoop and SD inSITE as well, which would be moved completely to Azure Cloud, so as of now, the deployment of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is still hybrid.

    My rating for Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is seven out of ten as it combines many different features that you can use, so it's a good solution, and in the future, I'm expecting it to be better and better.

    Several teams use Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, but then in my team, around twenty-five people use it, but that's not the complete number of users. Many people use the solution, with different features being used.

    I don't see a product comparable to Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics that's available on the cloud. Currently, there's no comparison, so you can't say whether it's good or bad, though room for improvement in any product will always be there. Based on all the features of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, my rating for it is seven out of ten, at the moment, there's no competition for the solution because I've not come across any other tool that's comparable to Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Hybrid Cloud
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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    PeerSpot user
    MichelTimp - PeerSpot reviewer
    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics
    November 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2022.
    653,584 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Alexis Bustamante - PeerSpot reviewer
    STI Data Leader at grupo gtd
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    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
    PeerSpot user

    Correction: We normally pay between $2000 and $2500 per month

    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
    PeerSpot user
    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.
    PeerSpot user
    MandarGarge - PeerSpot reviewer
    V.P. Digital Transformation at e-Zest Solutions
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Azure Synapse Analytics - one central workspace for everything you need
    Pros and Cons
    • "One central workspace to manage everything for your data warehouse including visualization."
    • "I'd like to see part of the service de-coupled."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case for Azure Synapse is as a data warehouse, for creation of data pipelines. It allows login into to one central workspace, manage our databases, and the entire warehouse. We can embed business intelligence (BI), using Power BI. This allows us to show visualizations all in one central place.

    What needs improvement?

    I think potential areas to improve on could be performance and if they offered a decoupled compute from storage kind of service that would be nice. But I don't think that is possible as it's a fundamental change in the underlying architecture and Microsoft won't make that decision easily. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Microsoft Azure technology for the last 4-5 years, including Synapse.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    As Synapse is hosted on the Azure cloud, it's very stable. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The Azure Synapse service is highly scalable. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is very straight forward. Azure Synapse offers you one workspace where you can do everything, creation of your data warehouse, ETL pipelines using Azure Data Factory, Create storage and data marts. Also use Power BI for visualization. 

    Before Synapse was available, all of these was offered as separate services and this is how a data warehouse was constructed. Synapse is one layer on top of this where we make use of one single workspace to initiate and manage the entire set of services that you need for creating and managing your data platform - Data Warehouses and marts using SQL Warehouse, ETL pipelines using Azure Data Factory, Data Lake using Azure Blob Storage, and it offers server-less SQL - meaning you can run queries without having to initiate an SQL database or SQL data warehouse instance. It also offers Spark compute to process non-structured data.

    What about the implementation team?

    We are a Microsoft partner and have setup and built Azure Synapse based solutions for our manufacturing, energy and healthcare clients. We are very customer centric and build and manage solutions based on our clients needs. We recommend what the best technology stack is for them. 

    What was our ROI?

    If I hosted a Microsoft setup on premise, I would need to invest in licensing for different tools and services, SQL server, SSIS, SSRS, Power BI or SSAS. Compared to this if you use Azure Synapse, the return on investment is very high. You get rid of your hardware, licensing and you move to a subscription based pay as you use model. Your operational costs reduce and your optimization increases. Capital expenditure absolutely diminishes and you move to an OpEx model. 

    Finally, the overall management of it is simplified as compared to on premise. This of course leads to high RoI. 

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

    Azure Synapse is best for people who are already invested in Microsoft technologies, in particular those who already use Microsoft data warehousing services, including MS SQL-Server based data warehouse technology. For them, migrating to Azure is very straight forward and Synapse adoption stays easy. 

    With Azure Synapse, there is no database installation, no licensing cost, no hardware setup, everything is available as a cloud service, you then pay for the service, pay only for what you use. 

    With regards to pricing, as I said you pay for what you use. The amount of data you store and compute power contributes to your pricing. If I use Azure's blob storage, the pricing depends on how much I use. If I utilize Azure Data Factory, pricing depends on how much data I process through the ETL pipelines and so on.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    For some customers we recommend Snowflake, for others Azure Synapse or Google BigQuery. In one of our cases we are building a solution with both Azure Synapse and Snowflake

    What other advice do I have?

    We have approximately 20-25 team members with knowledge of Azure Synapse service capabilities. 

    With regards to deployment and maintenance, an Azure Synapse based solution may need anywhere between 3-15 people. This depends on what type of warehouse and analytics you want to create, the number of reports and visualization. Typically a small team size would be of 3-4 people and a large team size would be of around 12-14 members.

    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
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    PeerSpot user
    Dhruv Singh - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Architect (Data and AI) at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    A highly scalable solution with no learning curve to its SQL environment
    Pros and Cons
    • "The solution operates like a typical SQL Server environment so there is no alienation in terms of technical knowledge."
    • "The product needs a tool that allows for work from a laptop instead of a browser."

    What is our primary use case?

    I work in the financial industry where the most important thing is PII so the solution's data masking feature is very useful for clients. 

    What is most valuable?

    The solution operates like a typical SQL Server environment so there is no alienation in terms of technical knowledge. A developer will feel at home using the solution. 

    What needs improvement?

    The product needs a tool that allows for work from a laptop instead of a browser. When working in on-premises environments, it is important to have all tools installed on a laptop rather than relying on internet connectivity which is a big inconvenience. For example, it would be brilliant to add an integration on Visual Studio to create all pipelines in an offline mode. 

    The solution cannot store much data and might require purchasing additional storage. For example if you have 1 TB of data, processing it in the solution will cost ten times more than processing it in Databricks. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using the solution for seven months. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The solution's stability is good. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is highly scalable. For example, if you have 100 DWUs, you can increase up to 20,000 DWUs by letting Microsoft know your requirements. Your needs for DWUs will be satisfied based on how much you are willing to pay.

    How are customer service and support?

    Support wavers depending on the size of the customer. For example, a Fortune 500 customer will receive tremendous support and quick turnaround time. 

    Smaller customers might find it challenging to receive support. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is very easy.

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

    The solution is very expensive because it often requires the purchase of additional storage. Many customers are willing to pay for something that is available in the open source market. If the price of the solution isn't reduced, it will not sell well in the future. I rate the price an eight out of ten. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Our company heavily promotes Databricks because of the solution's cost impact on our clients. Databricks provides a data lake and a warehouse framework that gives the same or better performance when compared to Synapse, but there is a massive learning curve to using it. Most customers are not aware of Databricks so they don't understand it or use it. 

    Two negatives of Databricks are that it is cloud native with no option for an on-premises server and it does not have good integration with any of the IDs. I provided this feedback while I was in training and their team acknowledged the web browser is an issue to resolve. Most developers do not like to work in a browser environment because accidently hitting F5 will cause complete loss or the internet goes down and all changes are lost. These type of issues do not occur when working in offline mode. 

    Six months ago, Databricks launched a new product called Databricks SQL that offers multiple platforms such as data engineering with or without a SQL server environment. There is a focus on targeting developers familiar with SQL because the product will only require a different kind of syntax but the SQL environment is still there. Databricks is investing heavily in training developers free of cost and providing certification seminars to increase knowledge of the product as it evolves. 

    There are use cases for Azure Synapse with customers who do not want to move away from SQL Server or want a similar experience. The solution offers the ability to create an on-premises server with a SQL syntax that is familiar to developers with no learning curve. Most customers prefer Synapse until they realize the high cost and then they switch to Databricks. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I rate the 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
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    PeerSpot user
    Matthew Spieth - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior Database Administrator at Summa Health System
    Real User
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Beneficial real-time analytics, simple setup, and useful tutorials
    Pros and Cons
    • "I have not used the technical support from Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, but I worked with the developers at Microsoft who were top-notch."
    • "Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics could improve its compatibility with Visual Studio. One of the challenges for people moving from an on-premise to a cloud solution, such as Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, is that you're constantly working in a browser. There are people that have been working for decades on desktop applications. For them to start working in a browser, it's quite a change. Allowing people to work and do their work inside Visual Studio than in the browser, would be a large advantage."

    What is our primary use case?

    Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics differs from the old traditional on-premise business intelligence operations, where it's set up to do real-time analytics. For example, with IoT devices. Instead of having patients come to the hospital and do their operations, the hospitals will give patients an IoT device and you can monitor the patients in real-time using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics.

    The point of the solution is to integrate the business into the analytics or vice versa. In the hospital example above, traditionally analytics is to tell us what happened. We look at reports to see what has happened. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics puts us more on the spot by telling us what's going to happen. Rather than what did just happen.

    What needs improvement?

    Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics could improve its compatibility with Visual Studio. One of the challenges for people moving from an on-premise to a cloud solution, such as Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, is that you're constantly working in a browser. There are people that have been working for decades on desktop applications. For them to start working in a browser, it's quite a change. Allowing people to work and do their work inside Visual Studio than in the browser, would be a large advantage.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics for approximately one year.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is created out-of-the-box to be scalable. That was always the struggle of Analytics and BI Teams you had to spend $2 million to receive the server with RAM and disk space needed to use this type of solution. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics will scale automatically behind the scenes. Which is one of its main powerful features.

    We have many people using the solution. The data engineer, who is moving data around and brings data in. The data scientist and the IoT developer. There are different areas in Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics for each role.

    How are customer service and support?

    I have not used the technical support from Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics, but I worked with the developers at Microsoft who were top-notch. 

    In my proof of concept project, I would simply email Microsoft directly and they were really responsive. The ticketing system on the Azure platform is very good. You just click open ticket, and they will get back to you quickly.

    There are not many books on Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics but there are tutorials and all that information online. However, the tutorials on Microsoft's site are enough to get you started.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is different than anything we've used on-site. It is different from the Analysis Services five years ago. However, even though it's different, the setup is easy.

    What about the implementation team?

    One of the benefits of Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics is that you shouldn't have to do any maintenance. It's all done behind the scenes. There is a serverless feature, where it'll expand and add RAM and add resources as needed. You have to be careful with the cost.

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

    There's no license required for Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics. the model is more of a use-based system. You got to pay for computing power and disk storage. Everything has different units and is kept backed up. Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics uses storage units(SU). This is how everything's computed for cost.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice to those wanting to use this solution is to start small to get an understanding of how it operates.

    I rate Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics 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.
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    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: November 2022
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    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.