Nerve cells in the brain control all our functions, thoughts, emotions and so forth. To summarize they define who or what we are. However, even more important than nerve cells are the junction between two nerve cells and unless these junctions or pathways are connected there would be resultant dysfunctionalities and chaos. This functionality or junction between two nerve cells is called `Synapse’. Taking this analogy to enterprise IT architecture, enterprises have large data resources stored in different applications and formats. To ensure a unified view requires a pathway to a synapse as described above. Without that pathway or connection, data unification will be difficult if not impossible. This pathway to the synapse needs to be a common script, and taking the innovation lead, Microsoft’s Azure Synapse Pathway, offers this path to connect and conclude. To describe it, Azure Synapse Pathway is a code translation tool that helps you upgrade to a modern data warehouse platform by automating the code translation of your existing data warehouse to make it compliant with T-SQL based Azure Synapse SQL.
Explaining the benefits of Azure Synapse Pathway’s uses, and benefits, requires drilling down into the basics first and we need to start by understanding the need for data warehouses and its benefits.
Data Analytics and its Ensuing Challenges
There was a time when businesses were run by calculated risks based on market knowledge and the sum experience of stakeholders. This method of running large, or even SMBs is not possible in an economic and competitive climate where there is a continued fight for space, with increased customer expectations. The days of running businesses by pure chance are no longer true or relevant and the repercussions can be disastrous.
Technology has been a life saver and specifically big data has been a changing force in driving business success or failure. C-level executives today, rely on data and the truth derived from it to make large- and small-scale business decisions. This truth is already available as most enterprises have databases that store past records, transactions etc. However, managing data has become one of the biggest challenges for CTOs worldwide as the difference between data intelligence and ignorance is key to informed business decision-making.
Big data is simply data gathered from various applications that tells the truth about the business. By itself big data is practically useless and requires to be able to provide data intelligence as and when required in whatever format or detail. However, manipulating data gathers complexity as more and more applications are added or removed as each creates its own data. All this data, in various formats and sources remain information silos. For unified data intelligence, data warehouse platforms offer the needed features to unify disparate data sources. For example, data on the payrolls of various departments would be stored and amassed over the years. If the management needs access to payroll data of one particular department, a query is run on the data and this information is provided.
Overview of Azure Synapse Pathway
To modernize their data warehouses and ensure data intelligence requires overcoming technology hurdles and one of the biggest hurdles is a common script. Today SQL (Structured Query Language) as the name describes is a script that optimizes data for the new modernized system. Most of us are familiar with SQL or Structured Query Language which enables us to manipulate data for faster queries. It is easy to learn and understand, answers to complex queries can be received in seconds. Going a step further we have Microsoft’s T-SQL (Transact SQL) which is used in the Microsoft SQL server database system. T-SQL can be summarized as a better version of SQL. It takes off where SQL stops and offers added features and functionalities. It is a standard programming language that is used to manipulate, manage, and derive intelligence from relational databases.
How Azure Synapse Pathway Works?
But rewriting millions of lines of code into SQL is an impossible task. The cost not to mention would be formidable and human effort will be huge. Going back to Azure Synapse Pathway, it accelerates the migration of the scripts (tables, procedures, functions, views, etc) from other analytical store providers to Azure Synapse Analytics. Azure Synapse Pathway simplifies migration no matter who the provider is, i.e. IBM Netezza, Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery or Microsoft SQL Server. By automating the process, it takes the available scripts and converts it. By automating the process, the need for human intervention is reduced and the results are faster than imaginable.
Azure Synapse Pathway examines the data source and after assessment, it automatically translates objects into T-SQL which is the code used by Azure Synapse Analytics offering that pathway to truth.
Azure Synapse Pathway follows these steps:
- During conversion, data meaning can be lost and the sequence of characters may become incoherent. Secondly, analyzing data to ensure sensible intelligence is important. Azure Synapse Pathway ensures that lexing and parsing are coherent and can result in augmented Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) for further processing.
- Data is often fragmented and requires unification for a final augmented truth. Azure Synapse Pathway defines a common representation of all objects in an augmented Abstract Syntax Tree (AST). The Synapse Pathway AST includes additional statements or fragmented metadata that is used to make the proper decision when translating code between the two systems.
- Finally, it generates syntax for Synapse SQL using detailed information of the platform to ensure optimized results.
- Translates any number of lines of code automatically.
- Reduces human or manual errors and the total cost of migration.
- Is based on SQL which is the most common of all scripts for database management.
- Helps with transcription immaterial of the origin, i.e. IBM Netezza, Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery or Microsoft SQL Server.
Practical Application of Technology for Business Decisions
A leading animal healthcare technology firm was looking to create a business differentiator by capitalizing its existing data. It believed that this data would help it to make crucial business decisions such as launch of new products and increase its portfolio, insight into quality standards and most importantly optimize operations for cost and effort benefit by applying lean to existing supply chain management.
WinWire Technologies a a global technology and consulting company helped this company with a transformational Product 360 initiative on Azure. WinWire proposed a comprehensive Product 360 enterprise solution to help with Information Management, Data, and Insight’s capability for different groups.
The capability enabled Product Data domain for the client.
- Identified and laid out sub domains under the Product domain – Batch, Materials, BOM, Ingredients, Recipe, Product support data.
- Identified enterprise source data from SAP, Sphera and more to bring into Azure Data Platform.
- Configured data pipelines to integrate data from different source systems to Azure Data Lake and Azure Synapse for Insights.
- Delivered insights across process areas for Demand, Supply, Operations, Procurement, Inventory and Commercial.
- Enabled advanced insights capabilities for Yield efficiency, Spend analysis, supplier performance and more.
The business benefits were considerable including insights on capacity planning, material wastage, batch losses, low yield causes, packaging errors, compliance issues & more. Visibility and insight into inventory, material status, supplier contracts, pricing, and product safety. Finally, insights on inventory loss, freight and shipment costs, product demand and traceability through the supply chain.
The management could now make informed decisions based on the analytics from data. WinWire played a key role in maximizing technology to provide the necessary tools to achieve their business vision. In a way, WinWire became the synapse connecting all its existing information or data silos, using Azure Synapse Pathway to arrive at a unified truth.
To summarize, enterprises worldwide look to modernize their data warehouse systems to leverage total ownership cost (TCO) and innovation benefits. However, updating and modernizing a data platform requires support from a trusted partner. Let’s connect to discuss how WinWire is helping enterprises modernize their data platform with Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Synapse Pathway and enabling them to drive exponential growth and competitive advantage by aligning business value and digital transformation.