Posted on: June 30, 2017

Microsoft recently hit a pretty major milestone with Azure Analysis Services: General Availability (aka: GA). Now that it has achieved this status, the tech giant is taking steps to ensure that the Azure experience is as modern as possible. In fact, it recently released Tabular 1400 models for public preview.

While it does still remain a preview feature, this is exciting news because it means that cloud solutions now have the opportunity to start enjoying all of the incredible features supported by Analysis Services at the 1400 compatibility level. This includes a whole load of powerful features such as Detail Rows, Object Level Security, and the most current and modern Get Data experience. This Get Data experience is what we’re going to be focusing on today.

What’s the big deal with a cutting-edge Get Data experience within the scope of Microsoft Azure? We are living in the age of data. With every passing day (and even every passing minute, second, and millisecond), insane amounts of data are being generated. In order to succeed and thrive, modern businesses need to be able to leverage the power of this data through advanced, modern analytics, and that’s where the Azure experience at the 1400 compatibility level comes into play.

Right Now

It is important to note that the modern Get Data experience is still growing and evolving. After the initial public preview release, there are obviously still going to be some lingering limitations. This is because both SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) for Analysis Services Tabular and various cloud infrastructure components aren’t 100% ready at this time. Even so, the SSDT Tabular is closing a growing number of feature gaps with every passing month, while simultaneously working to take on and support more data sources. This means that we will see a lot of growth and positive change in the Get Data experience in the following year. At this time, however, there are several cloud-based data sources that may be utilized at the 1400 compatibility level within Azure Analysis Services, allowing you to leverage the power of modern data. They are:

  • Azure SQL Database – Any business whose applications depend upon Azure SQL DB are able to use Azure Analysis Services in order to easily connect to data. In addition, BI capabilities can be added to business solutions.
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse – Azure SQL Data Warehouse is an incredible parallel processing database that is cloud-based and fully scalable. This can serve as a reliable foundation for larger scale BI solutions that are based upon Azure Analysis Services. Interactive analysis is achieved by connecting Tabular 1400 models to Azure SQL DW in import.
  • Azure Blobs Storage – To have the ability to create large-scale Tabular 1400 models upon unstructured data, a completely scalable storage solution is required, and Azure Blob storage is that solution. It is believed that SSDT Tabular will soon feature advanced mashups, which will allow for the importing of file-based data in a completely efficient manner.

Into the Future

So, what’s next for SSDT Tabular? We predict support for named expressions, which extends to parameters, functions, and shared/mutual queries. This will assist in the process of building advanced mashups. From here, we expect to see emphasis placed on improving the overall quality, robustness, and performance levels of Tabular while simultaneously increasing connections with Power BI Desktop.

At this time, the plan for on-premises data sources is to offer connectivity at the 1400 level in Azure Analysis Services in the very near feature. It’s being speculated that this will occur in conjunction with the upcoming monthly release of SSDT Tabular.

Until then, it’s time to start building and testing your own Tabular 1400 models in workspace mode, and to learn more about all that it has to offer. Uncommon Solutions is here to provide you with an insider look at the modern Get Data experience and what’s next in modern data and Azure.