Common Questions on Synapse vs. Data Factory
In the world of Azure Cloud computing, many companies need solutions to provide ETL (extract, transform, and load) functionality as well as needing a way for the data being transported/transformed to be consumed in some fashion. This leads many companies to ask- Azure Synapse vs. Azure Data Factory and what is the difference? Other common questions include why should one be deployed and not the other, what situations do we use them in tandem, and isn’t Synapse overkill for our environment? To be fair these are tricky questions, as the nuance of both applications can be difficult to grasp as many functionalities are shared across both.
What is Synapse & Data Factory?
To grossly oversimplify, Synapse lives up to its name in being a central connection point for all services, allowing for direction and control for a data engineer persona. While other people than data engineers could use Synapse, most people will find better utility in the Power BI for analysts or actual ML applications for data scientists. The focus is on cheap and effective ETL/ELT transformations for an enterprise. Another key point is that Synapse is being heavily developed currently at the time of this post, and is getting updates every few months to tweak or add new functionality.
In the Data Factory space, it is designed to orchestrate pipelines however, many of these features have been ported over. As of a few weeks ago, SSIS package execution was brought over, which was a big point of using the Data Factory. The last unique feature is CI/CD capabilities with GitHub integration have not yet been integrated into the Synapse environment.
What should be used?
As it currently stands, Synapse is generally a more integrated and functional tool with the rapid development of new features. Unless you are looking to use legacy features, use CI/CD that ADF have, or general orchestration, it’s probably better to focus on Azure Synapse. It reduces deployed resources, permissions, and general cost of maintaining multiple resources.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding which platform is better for your business!