Fabric Sentinel – The New Power BI Sentinel?

Can Power BI Sentinel still support my Power BI Estate?

Yes! Power BI Sentinel will continue to support your business in the same way it always has, now with added functionality for those using Microsoft Fabric! Power BI Sentinel and Fabric Sentinel are now two names for the same product.

The team has been working very hard since the release to investigate and integrate Microsoft Fabric activities seamlessly into Power BI Sentinel – Have you noticed any Fabric activity in your audit log captures? As more Microsoft Fabric functionality becomes available we’ll continue to expand the capability of Fabric Sentinel, offering you even more control, monitoring, and governance over your data analytics estate.

Keep an eye on our What’s New? page to see new Fabric capabilities that have been released!

What is Microsoft Fabric?

Microsoft Fabric is the new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platform by Microsoft that brings together the entire analytics process into Power BI. A single point of access for three key Microsoft products - Azure Data Factory, Azure Synapse Analytics, and Power BI.

Scalability is a key feature of the Microsoft Fabric architecture, offering the ability to build projects in varying sizes (think up-to multi-terabyte data solutions). You can start off with a small-scale project and as business needs grow, so can the project!

What is Microsoft Fabric?

How is my data stored?

Microsoft Fabric utilises OneLake, a new technology that stores all data from data warehouses, data lakes, delta lakehouses and Spark notebooks in one central data lake. OneLake allows users across an organisation to access the same, single source of data. It is also all secured, so you can decide who has access to the different components. The SQL Server engine used by the data warehouses and SQL endpoints is fully ACID compliant, even when storing in a data lake using Delta Parquet file format!

What is Data Activator?

Data Activator is a no-code insights tool for any data stored in Microsoft Fabric, from Power BI datasets to real-time data streams. It continually monitors the data for “actionable patterns” that can be defined. Once this pattern has been detected, it will then trigger the chosen action, from a Teams notification, Power Automate flow and even a line-of-business app within the organisation.

This is now being rolled out in Preview, however, requires you to join a waiting list.

Find out more here!

How will my Power BI experience change?

You may notice some small visual changes to Power BI since Microsoft Fabric was introduced in May 2023. In the bottom left corner of the screen, you will now see a button with the Power BI logo and the ability to choose between the above features – called “Experiences”. Power BI web and desktop versions will still work in the same way, with added features such as connections to Fabric data Lakehouses and Warehouses.

A game-changing addition to Power BI web version is the use of DirectLake to build reports directly from the data from OneLake, without the need to import the data to Power BI.

To get a real time Power BI dataset we currently use DirectQuery mode. Power BI has to convert DAX into SQL, and then fire off the SQL query against the underlying data source. This can be very slow and costly for compute on the source system. To make reports fast, we have to import data into the dataset.

Power BI and OneLake both use a highly compressed column store format to store data, Vertipaq and Delta. DAX can now be natively run against Delta stores meaning that you can create a data Warehouse or Lakehouse in Microsoft Fabric, and Power BI will be able to report on this, in real time, with no processing, with high performance!

Do I need Power BI Premium when using Fabric?

Yes, existing ‘Premium’ capacity is changing to ‘Fabric’ capacity, with P1 being equivalent to F64.

This means there will be a much lower entry level to Microsoft Fabric, with an F1 only costing a couple of hundred USD per month, enabling all of this amazing new functionality! Note that you would still need an F64 (P1) to avoid having to have Power BI user licenses. Below this you would need an F capacity to provide the Fabric functionality, and Power BI Pro licenses to develop or consume Power BI reports.

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Do you want to know more about Microsoft Fabric and its capability?

Power BI Sentinel's parent company, Purple Frog Systems, is a Microsoft Gold Partner specialising in Microsoft Data Analytics consultancy, and is renowned for its expertise in this field.

They'd be happy to provide any help and guidance on your Microsoft Fabric journey, whether you're in the early stages of research, or you're knee deep in Lakehouses and Spark ML jobs and need some additional hands.

If you're a Power BI Sentinel customer, you can get a free session with a Purple Frog consultant to discuss Microsoft Fabric and get all of your questions answered!

Drop an email to help@PowerBISentinel.com to get a session scheduled.