Companies and organisations are faced with managing an ever-increasing volume of data. When this volume exceeds 1 terabyte, it is often called a high-volume data project. The processing of this data requires the implementation of specific technical solutions. Microsoft’s Azure Synapse service addresses these challenges and makes it possible to make the most of the power of big data.
What is a high-volume data project?
Big data is when the volume of data to be processed by a company exceeds one terabyte.
The strategic challenges of big data
Digital data offers companies unprecedented opportunities for their development. They allow managers to develop a very fine vision of performance, as well as an excellent knowledge of market needs and customer expectations. When well utilised, they are the basis of reliable predictions that are very valuable in a constantly changing economic world. However, their collection, storage and processing require the use of appropriate techniques.
The technical challenges of high-volume data projects
The characteristics of big data are defined by the 3 elements: volume, speed and variety. The volume of data collected requires the implementation of storage systems that usually exceed the capacity of corporate servers.
We then use solutions that make it possible to store data optimally on a multiplicity of servers relocated through a cloud solution. Since data is distributed among several storage units, we speak of data distribution or data lake.
In addition, tools for formatting and visualizing data in graphical form are needed for human analysis.
The Azure Synapse Solution: Overview
Azure Synapse is the solution developed by Microsoft for high-volume data projects. It ensures the storage of data, their processing and their return to the end user in an exploitable form.
The Azure Synapse solution builds on Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 which uses the concept of data lakes for decentralized storage of big data. It is a cloud solution: the data is hosted on multiple servers, their distribution being optimal according to the capacity of the servers and the needs.
Data collection processes
Azure Synapse enables you to simultaneously process data from the cloud and data hosted on-premises. The solution relies on various ETL technologies to collect data from external sources: Polybase, but also ADF (Azure Data Factory). ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes are the basis for creating data pipelines. They make it possible to retrieve data from various sources (Extract), to transform, structure and clean them in order to make them exploitable (Transform), and finally to store them in a structured way in the form of tables (Load) from which the final user can make queries according to his needs.
Powerful data processing with Apache Spark
Azure Synapse uses Apache Spark and SQL Pool technologies for distributed data processing. Apache Spark enables optimization of data preparation, ETL processes, and data exploitation by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and business intelligence (BI) tools.
Finally, Azure Synapse Analytics is an analytics service that brings together enterprise data warehousing and big data analytics. A dedicated SQL pool refers to the enterprise data warehousing capabilities that are available in Azure Synapse Analytics and also represents a collection of analytical resources that are provisioned when using Synapse SQL. The SQL Pool Serverless part allows you to query data in the data lake for example.
The main benefits of Azure Synapse
Azure Synapse has many advantages that make it an extremely powerful tool for any business looking to leverage large volumes of data efficiently:
- The collection of data from a wide variety of technologies and their storage as a single source which makes it possible to build bridges between them;
- Securing this data with encryption solutions and threat detection methods;
- Powerful tools for the analysis of this data thanks to machine learning techniques;
- Data visualization and formatting tools to enable end-user understanding, regardless of their function within the company, and to facilitate decision-making;
- The best performance/price ratio on the market that ensures a quick return on investment.
Azure Synapse is a complete storage, processing, and analytics solution that perfectly addresses the challenges of processing large volumes of data. This solution enables decision-makers to leverage big data to gain a decisive competitive advantage.