The Hidden Consequences of Disabling Fabric in Your Organization
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Microsoft Fabric
Dec 19, 2023 2:00 PM

The Hidden Consequences of Disabling Fabric in Your Organization

by HubSite 365 about Marc Lelijveld (Data – Marc) [MVP]

Data Platform MVP | FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect | Microsoft Certified Trainer | Public Speaker | Data enthusiast | Solution Architect Data & Analytics

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Explore the Risks of Disabling Microsoft Fabric—A Must-Read for Enterprise Architects!

Two enterprise customers considered disabling Microsoft Fabric in their organizations due to potential incompatibility with existing data platforms. They aimed to use tenant settings to disable Fabric entirely until more fine-grained controls could be implemented. However, disabling Fabric may lead to unforeseen issues, providing essential lessons about analyzing the effects of such decisions.

Microsoft Fabric has been generally available since the Ignite Conference in November 2023, but was often disabled or limited due to its earlier preview state. From July 1, 2023, if not explicitly configured by an administrator, Fabric would be automatically enabled in tenants, which may have gone unnoticed by some. Understanding how Fabric interacts with and complements current data frameworks remains a significant consideration for many organizations.



Some organizations are hesitant to adopt Fabric, fearing the creation of redundant data lakes and warehouses separate from their enterprise-wide platforms. However, this mirrors historical patterns seen with Power BI semantic models, emphasizing the need for robust control, monitoring, and governance to manage data effectively without unnecessary complications.

Organizations with stringent policies may wish to disable Fabric until more detailed controls are available; however, this decision is not foolproof due to a 'gotcha.' Even with tenant-level settings disabled, capacity administrators can re-enable Fabric for their specific tenants independently, undermining central governance efforts.

Despite disabling Fabric at the tenant level, different capacity administrators can enable it for their capacities, potentially compromising the organizational architecture. Effective monitoring and governance are crucial, with APIs available to identify changes to tenant settings across capacities and determine responsible administrators.

  • Disabling Microsoft Fabric could lead to interoperability issues and unexpected consequences, warranting a thorough impact analysis.
  • Fabric became auto-enabled in 2023, a change possibly overlooked by admins which requires attention regarding compliance with enterprise architecture.
  • Resistance to adopting Fabric often stems from fears of creating disconnected data systems; however, good governance is key to integration.
  • "Gotcha" situation: even if disabled at the tenant level, individual capacity administrators can override this and enable Fabric separately.
  • APIs provide a solution for enterprises to monitor and govern capacity administrators' settings, aiding in the enforcement of data governance policies.

Understanding Microsoft Fabric and Enterprise Impact

Microsoft Fabric plays a significant role in enterprise data architecture, offering advanced capabilities that can extend and enhance the functionality of data platforms. Its integration into organizations requires careful consideration, as it affects governance, data management, and the overall data landscape. As of 2023, Fabric's auto-enablement in tenant settings raises important conversations around governance and administrative control. With potential complications from independent capacity administrators, monitoring and controlling changes to tenant settings through APIs becomes essential. The balance between leveraging Fabric's benefits and maintaining a cohesive, well-governed data ecosystem defines the core challenge that enterprises face.

Understanding Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft Fabric is an integral part of modern enterprise architectures, offering a range of solutions for data management and analytics. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with various data sources and to provide a robust framework for reporting, data transformation, and insights. Its compatibility with Power BI enhances its utility for organizations looking to leverage Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities more effectively. Microsoft Fabric's governance features are crucial for businesses aiming to maintain control and compliance as they navigate the complex landscape of data management.

Why Organizations May Consider Disabling Microsoft Fabric

Microsoft Fabric became generally available after the Ignite Conference in November 2023, but some opted to shut down or limit its use during the preview phase. With the official release, arguments against its use based on it being in a preview state are no longer justifiable.

If administrators ignored Fabric during its initial launch in May 2023, they might inadvertently activate it within their tenant settings. Until July 1st, 2023, if no action was taken by the admin to explicitly enable or disable it, the setting defaulted to enabled.

Organizations need time to evaluate how Microsoft Fabric integrates with their existing systems and whether it competes with their current services. Addressing such concerns needs careful consideration in alignment with enterprise architecture, rather than unecessarily complicating decisions.

The Misconception About Additional Data Repositories

Some organizations may avoid enabling Microsoft Fabric out of fear of creating redundant data storage infrastructures. However, the main problem lies in maintaining multiple copies of data where new logic is applied, not the number of warehouses or lake houses. With tools like Power BI, similar scenarios have existed for years, pointing to the importance of control and governance.

Effective control, monitoring, and governance over data are critical. When these practices are in place, the mere existence of additional data artifacts does not pose a significant risk.

The Choice to Disable Microsoft Fabric

There may be directives from higher management to pause using Microsoft Fabric until further customizable settings are available. As a Fabric Tenant administrator, following these directives may seem straightforward, but a "gotcha" lies in wait.

The delegated tenant settings may become greyed out, implying that capacity administrators have the power to re-enable Microsoft Fabric for their tenant. Thus, the general setting serves only as a default guideline.

Despite disabling the service across the organization, capacity administrators might still enable Microsoft Fabric for their own use. If as an administrator, you opt to deviate from the centralized decision, you must explicitly state this in your settings.

Challenges for Tenant Administrators and Enterprise Architects

When capacity administrators in an organization possess the autonomy to manage tenant settings, this may lead to Fabric's functionality conflicting with the organization's reference architecture. Consequently, some capacities might activate Fabric in spite of organizational standards barring it.

For the aforementioned customers, one had control over all capacities and thereby experienced no issue. The other had multiple capacities managed by various departments and countries, where local administrators could independently enable Microsoft Fabric.

Conclusion: The Importance of Rethinking Fabric Disabling

Halting Fabric at the tenant level might not be as straightforward as hoped. Capacity administrators retain the discretion to enable Microsoft Fabric independently, underscoring the necessity for a reevaluation by enterprise architects towards the technology.

The processes with Microsoft Fabric are not fundamentally different from familiar Power BI activities involving imported datasets. Endorsement and governance structures are crucial in ensuring certification of content and alignment with company policies. Now, keen monitoring is paramount, and APIs offer much-needed support in this aspect.

Read the full article Unveiling the Gotcha: The Hidden Consequences of Disabling Fabric in Your Organization

Microsoft Fabric - Impact of Disabling Fabric on Business Outcomes



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