Azure Synapse Link: 5 Crucial Aspects You Need to Know

Amulya Reddy • Last Modified: April 27th, 2023

Azure Synapse Link FI

Azure Synapse Link is a powerful tool that has revolutionized how data is handled in the cloud. Traditionally, organizations used different tools and services to extract, transform, and load data from various sources into a central repository, such as a data warehouse. This process was time-consuming and required significant investments in hardware, software, and infrastructure.

However, with the advent of Azure Synapse Link, data integration has become much simpler and more straightforward. It allows users to seamlessly connect their data sources and perform real-time analytics without moving the data from its original location. This has reduced the workload of data professionals and enabled businesses to make faster and more informed decisions based on real-time data.

Let’s dive deeper and explore more about Synapse Link!

Azure Synapse Link : ETL Process
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Before the introduction of Azure Synapse Link, organizations had to use a traditional approach to extract, transform, and load data from multiple sources. This was done to consolidate the data into a centralized data warehouse. Let’s look at the steps involved in the traditional approach to analyzing data:

  • Extraction: The first step in the traditional data approach was to extract data from various sources such as databases, file systems, and APIs. This involved using different tools and services depending on the data source.
  • Transformation: Once the data was extracted, it needed to be transformed into a format that could be loaded into a data warehouse. This involved data cleaning, data mapping, and data aggregation.
  • Loading: After the data was transformed, it was loaded into a central repository, such as a data warehouse. This involved using tools and services such as ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools and data integration platforms.
  • Analytics: Once the data was loaded into the data warehouse, it was ready for analysis. This involved using analytics tools such as BI (Business Intelligence) tools and reporting platforms to generate insights from the data.

However, the traditional approach to data integration required significant investments in hardware, software, and infrastructure and was often time-consuming. It also had limitations in terms of real-time analytics and required a separate ETL process. To address these limitations, Microsoft has developed Synapse Link. If you want to explore more about how Synapse Link solves these challenges, let’s dive deeper!

Azure Synapse Link
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Azure Synapse Link, formally known as “Export to data lake,” is a cloud-based hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) feature offered by Microsoft Azure. With Azure Synapse Link, users can seamlessly connect their data sources, such as Azure Cosmos DB, Dataverse, or SQL database. This allows them to perform real-time analytics on the data without moving it to a different location.

Synapse Link eliminates complex data integration processes like ETL and reduces the time and effort required to make informed decisions based on real-time data. Azure Synapse Link leverages Azure Synapse Analytics, a powerful analytics service that combines big data and data warehousing to provide an end-to-end analytics solution. 

Azure Synapse Link is not a standalone feature. Instead, it’s a set of capabilities built into Azure Synapse Analytics that enables real-time analytics on operational data stores. Currently, there are three versions of Azure Synapse Link available: 

  • Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse
  • Azure Synapse Link for SQL.
  • Real-Time Analytics: With Azure Synapse Link, you can perform real-time analytics without the need for complex data integration processes like ETL. This allows you to make informed decisions based on up-to-date data.
  • Cost-Effective: Azure Synapse Link reduces the cost and complexity of data integration, resulting in lower overall costs for your business.
  • Simplified Data Integration: Azure Synapse Link provides a simplified approach to data integration without moving the data to a separate location.
  • Unified Experience: Synapse Link is designed to work seamlessly with Azure Synapse Analytics, Power BI, and other analytical tools, which provides a unified workspace for data analytics. With these integrated tools, you can manage and analyze your data by performing data preparation, warehousing, and big data analytics on the same platform.
Azure Synapse Link : SQL Overview
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Azure Synapse Link for SQL synchronizes data among Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Server, and Synapse Analytics. 

It allows you to extract data from SQL Server and Azure SQL Database and load it into a Synapse Dedicated Pool. This pool serves as a destination for the data and seamlessly integrates with Synapse Analytics, providing a unified platform for data preparation, warehousing, and analytics. With Azure Synapse Link for SQL, you can analyze your operational data stored in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server in near real-time.

Azure Synapse Link : Dataverse Overview
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Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse allows for near real-time analysis of data stored in Microsoft Dataverse. Microsoft Dataverse is a cloud-based data storage and management service that provides a scalable and secure environment for storing your data dynamically.

As Synapse Link provides tight integration between Dataverse and Synapse Analytics, you can carry out analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning tasks on your data. Azure Synapse Link also enables continuous exporting of data from Dataverse to both Azure Synapse Analytics and Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2.

You can connect your Microsoft Dataverse data to Azure Synapse Analytics using Azure Synapse Link. This helps you explore your data faster. To connect Dataverse to Synapse workspace, follow these steps:

  • Sign in to Power Apps and choose the environment that you want to work in.
  • Go to the left navigation pane and select Azure Synapse Link. If the item isn’t in the left navigation pane, select …More and select the item from the list.
  • Click on the “+ New link” button on the command bar.
  • Choose the “Connect to your Azure Synapse workspace” option.
  • Select the subscription, resource group, workspace name, and storage account that you want to use. Make sure that both the Synapse workspace and storage account meet the requirements as a prerequisite. Click on “Next” to proceed.
Azure Synapse Link : Link Creation for Dataverse Step 1
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  • To export tables, add the desired tables and save them. Tables with change tracking enabled can only be exported. Refer to the “Enable change tracking” for more information.
Azure Synapse Link : Link Creation for Dataverse Step 2
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You can use the above steps to establish a link between a single environment and multiple Azure data lakes within your Azure subscription. To do this, add an Azure data lake as a linked service on a Synapse workspace in Azure Synapse Analytics.Similarly, you can link multiple environments to a single workspace and data lake. This allows you to manage and analyze data from multiple sources in a single location.

Azure Synapse Link : Cosmo DB
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Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB is also a cloud-native hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) service. 

It allows near real-time analytics on data stored in Azure Cosmos DB without the need for complex data movement. It provides seamless integration between Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Synapse Analytics. 

This allows users to easily analyze their data without creating and maintaining an additional copy of data in a separate data warehouse.

With Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB, users can perform real-time analytics and gain insights from their operational data in Azure Cosmos DB. This can be done using familiar tools such as Azure Synapse Studio, Power BI, and other tools. 

This allows for faster decision-making, as users can get real-time insights into their data without the delay of traditional ETL processes.

  • Azure Synapse Link for Azure Cosmos DB does not support Cassandra and Table APIs, but it does support API for NoSQL and MongoDB.
  • Granular role-based access control is not supported when querying from Synapse. Users who can access the Azure Cosmos DB account and the Synapse workspace can access all containers (MongoDB and SQL) within the account.
  • Existing Azure Cosmos DB containers can only have Azure Synapse Link enabled for Cosmos DB NoSQL accounts. However, now it supports both Cosmos DB NoSQL and Cosmos DB MongoDB accounts.
  • The data in the analytical store cannot be backed up or restored. But you can rebuild your analytical store by re-enabling Azure Synapse Link in the restored container.
  • Azure Synapse Link is not fully compatible with the continuous backup mode at this time.
  • Go to the Azure portal.
  • Create a new Azure account or select an existing Azure Cosmos DB account.
  • Navigate to your Azure Cosmos DB account and click on “Azure Synapse Link” under “Integrations” in the left panel.
  • Click “Enable”. This step may take 1 to 5 minutes to complete.
Azure Synapse Link : Link Setup
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  • Your account is now ready to use Synapse Link. 


Azure Synapse Link is a game-changer in the world of data analytics. Azure Synapse Link connects operational data in (Azure Cosmos DB, Dataverse, SQL) and Azure Synapse Analytics, allowing for seamless and near-real-time data analysis.

It eliminates the requirement of complex ETL pipelines or change feed jobs. This feature overcomes the limitations of traditional systems that require data to be copied into a separate system for analysis. In addition to its efficiency and speed, Azure Synapse Link is also cost-effective and easy to set up. It’s an effective tool that can help you gain a competitive edge by unlocking the full potential of your data. 

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