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Six-minute crash course about Synapse Studio

Reading Time: 6 minutes

In this post I want to do a six-minute crash course about Synapse Studio. I wanted to do this follow-up post for a couple of reasons.

First reason is because a while ago somebody who was fairly new to Azure Data Engineering Services mentioned that they thought a lot of my posts were for advanced users. So, I showed them a previous post which was a five-minute crash course about Synapse Studio.

Whilst showing them that post I realized that some of the screenshots were out of date. With this in mind I thought I would do an updated version of the crash course for Synapse Studio. Which also allows me to highlight where to find some features.

Another reason is to help clear up some confusion about the capabilities of Azure Synapse Analytics. Because I have heard from a couple of people that it only does a couple of things. With this in mind, I want to do this post to show what it can do.

Aim of this post is for you will have a better overview of Synapse Studio within six minutes. Which happens to be the estimated reading time of this post.

To set realistic expectations, this post is aimed at those who do not have much Azure Synapse Analytics experience. However, those who have used it may also learn something new. Especially since I mention some new features and include links.

About Synapse Studio

For those who are not aware, Synapse Studio is the frontend that comes with Azure Synapse Analytics. In order to use Synapse Studio, you must first create a Synapse workspace.

I installed a basic workspace especially for this post. In order to do this crash course yourself you will need an Azure account and some Azure credit to create your own Azure Synapse workspace.

Creating a workspace

One thing that I want to point out is that creating the workspace itself for just exploring it is currently relatively cheap. Especially for just a six-minute crash course about Synapse Studio.

It will start becoming expensive when you start doing things like creating pipelines and working with SQL Pools. Microsoft provides guidelines about Azure Synapse Analytics pricing.

To save me reinventing the wheel, Microsoft has a QuickStart guide on how to create a workspace. My advice is to customize the QuickStart to suit your needs. Usually, this deployment takes a matter of minutes.

Once you have created your workspace you are ready to enter Synapse Studio from the Portal. You can do this by going into the overview section and clicking on the link next to ‘Workspace web URL’.

Link to enter Synapse Studio
Link to enter Synapse Studio

Crash course about Synapse Studio

To help you quickly get started I will give a brief overview of the different sections of Synapse Studio below. However, there is a fair amount of documentation about all the features online. For example, the various QuickStart guides here.

Home hub

In the ‘Home’ hub you have some interesting options. For example, if you click on ‘Ingest’ you can go through a wizard to ingest data using the Copy Data tool.

Home hub in Synapse Studio
Home hub

One thing to note is that when you scroll down in the home hub you get to view your recent resources. For example, notebooks and SQL scripts that you last opened.

In addition, if you click on ‘Visualize’ you can connect to an existing Power BI workspace, which you can then use natively in Azure Synapse Analytics. To connect to a Power BI workspace in another tenant you can read my post that shows a nifty Power BI fix in Synapse Studio.

One interesting option is that old ‘Learn’ box has been replaced with a direct link to the ‘Knowledge center’.

When you click on the ‘Knowledge center’ link in the Home Hub you get the option to browse the gallery. Clicking on the option here immediately opens up the new Database templates that are available. Some of which you can see below.

Some of the Database templates available
Some of the Database templates available

Those of you who have used the ‘Partner Connect‘ feature in Azure Databricks will be pleased to know you can do a similar thing in the Home Hub. By clicking on the ‘Browse partners’ link in the Home hub.

Data hub

In the ‘Data’ hub you can see all your databases in your Pools and any Linked data sources. By default, the Workspace section is empty until you start creating objects like SQL Pools and Lake databases. As you can see below.

Different databases in the Data hub in Synapse Studio
Different databases in the Data hub

Note that the Lake database was created within a Spark Pool using a notebook. It can store various objects like tables created using Spark SQL.

In addition, the top database in the SQL database was created within a serverless SQL Pool using a SQL script. As you might have guessed by the different icon, the bottom database in the SQL Pool was created by the creation of a dedicated SQL Pool.

One key point to remember is that you can also work with Data Explorer databases here as well. Which is currently in preview.

In the Linked section you can view various linked resources. Which can be of various types including Azure Data Explorer and Azure Data Lake Storage. In addition, you can also view integration datasets in this section.

Develop hub

In the develop hub you can work with various development objects development objects. For example, SQL scripts and notebooks as you can see below.

Develop Hub in Synapse Studio
Develop hub in Synapse Studio

You can view the other development objects available by clicking on the plus sign.

Development objects available in Synapse Studio
Development objects available

One key point to remember is that if you link Synapse Studio to a Power BI workspace you also get the option to create Power BI reports in the above menu. I showed how this looks in a previous post.

Integrate hub

In the integrate hub there are some interesting options.

From here you can create Pipelines internally, which are similar to the pipelines that you can create in Azure Data Factory. Plus, you can also access the Copy Data tool from here.

You can view the current differences between the pipelines in Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Factory here.

Up until recently you only had the options to create pipelines or select the Copy Data tool in this hub. However, as you can see below you can now also create your Azure Synapse Link for SQL connections here.

Develop hub
Develop hub

To find out more about Azure Synapse Link for SQL you can read some of my previous posts about Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022.

Monitor hub

In the Monitor hub you can view the progress of various things that happen relating to integration, activities and analytics. I have highlighted some newer options that have appeared over time.

Monitor hub in Synapse Studio

I do want to bring up one key point that I mentioned in another post about a complete CI/CD experience for Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022. I strongly recommend that you view any new link creations that you start in this hub, to make sure that they are running properly.

One key point to remember is that pool information can disappear if you remove or reset your pools.

Manage hub in Synapse Studio

Finally, we get to the Manage hub. Which gives you management over your workspace objects. I have highlighted some of the newer options below.

Manage hub options
Manage hub options

As you can see it is an impressive list of options you can configure. Including all the security options for the workspace.

Personally, I am glad that I can still click on ‘Git configuration’ to connect to a Git repository. Plus, I now get the option to do cross tenant sign in. Which means that I can now connect to Azure DevOps organizations hosted by different accounts if needed.

Cross tenant sign in option

Final words about this six-minute crash course in Synapse Studio

I hope my six-minute crash course about Synapse Studio proved useful.

At the end of the day, I wanted to do an updated version of my other post. So that I can demonstrate that you can quickly create an Azure Synapse Workspace and start exploring in Synapse Studio within six minutes. Whilst at the same time highlighting capabilities and some new features along the way.

If you have any comments or queries about this post, feel free to reach out to me.

Published inAzure DevOpsAzure Synapse Analytics

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