Unlocking Cloud-Scale ETL: Azure Data Factory vs. Fabric Data Factory

Azure Data Factory vs. Fabric Data Factory: In the fast-evolving landscape of cloud-scale data movement and transformation, Fabric Data Factory emerges as the next generation of Azure Data Factory (ADF). Designed to provide enterprise-grade solutions for complex ETL scenarios, Fabric Data Factory promises an enhanced user experience, powerful features, and a redefined approach to data integration. This comprehensive guide explores the key distinctions between Azure Data Factory and Fabric Data Factory, helping businesses make informed decisions for their data integration needs.

Azure Data Factory: Foundation for Transformation in Cloud-Scale ETL

Pipeline and Mapping Dataflow: Discover how Azure Data Factory lays the groundwork with data pipelines and introduces the potent Mapping Dataflow Gen2, empowering users to efficiently build complex data transformations.

Activities and Datasets: Explore the expanding library of supported activities in Azure Data Factory, alongside Fabric Data Factory’s introduction of new activities such as the Office 365 Outlook activity. Additionally, understand how Fabric Data Factory adopts a connection-centric approach, eliminating the need for traditional datasets.


Linked Service Connections: Dive into the world of Linked Services in Azure Data Factory and discover how Fabric Data Factory introduces a more intuitive approach to create connections.

Triggers: Learn about triggers in Azure Data Factory, primarily schedule-based with ongoing work to introduce additional triggers. Explore how Fabric Data Factory leverages schedules and integrates more triggers supported by ADF.

Publishing Process: Contrast the content publishing process in Azure Data Factory with Fabric Data Factory’s streamlined approach, saving content directly and initiating saving before executing the pipeline.

Autoresolve and Azure Integration Runtime: Understand the concept of Autoresolve and Azure Integration Runtime in Azure Data Factory and how Fabric Data Factory simplifies the architecture by omitting the concept of Integration runtime.

Self-hosted Integration Runtimes: Explore how Azure Data Factory relies on the On-premises Data Gateway for self-hosted integration runtimes, while Fabric Data Factory actively develops capabilities in this area.

Azure-SSIS Integration Runtimes, MVNet, and Private Endpoint: Uncover the yet-to-be-determined roadmap and design for Azure-SSIS Integration Runtimes, MVNet, and Private Endpoint capabilities in both Azure Data Factory and Fabric Data Factory.

Expression Language and Authentication: Examine the consistent expression language between ADF and Fabric Data Factory, and understand the shift in authentication with Fabric Data Factory, emphasizing authentication within connections.

Embracing Fabric Data Factory: What Sets it Apart

Explore how Fabric Data Factory stands out, offering a connection-centric approach, a streamlined publishing process, and additional activities, making it an enticing choice for organizations seeking an intuitive and powerful data integration solution.



  1. Q: Can I migrate my existing Azure Data Factory pipelines to Fabric Data Factory seamlessly?
    • A: Yes, Microsoft provides migration guides and tools to facilitate a smooth transition from Azure Data Factory to Fabric Data Factory. Refer to the official documentation for detailed steps.
  2. Q: What advantages does the connection-centric approach in Fabric Data Factory offer in terms of data retrieval?
    • A: Fabric Data Factory’s connection-centric approach simplifies data retrieval by eliminating the need for traditional datasets, providing an intuitive way to manage and organize data sources.
  3. Q: How does Fabric Data Factory address security and compliance concerns?
    • A: Fabric Data Factory inherits robust security features from Azure Data Factory, ensuring encryption, access controls, and audit logging. Organizations can maintain compliance with industry standards.
  4. Q: Are there any cost implications when transitioning from Azure Data Factory to Fabric Data Factory?
    • A: Microsoft typically provides cost calculators and guidance to help organizations understand and plan for any potential cost implications during the transition. Consult the Azure Pricing page for detailed information.


Fabric Data Factory represents a significant evolution in cloud-scale data integration. Understanding the distinctions between Azure Data Factory and Fabric Data Factory is pivotal for organizations aiming to optimize their ETL scenarios. By exploring enhanced features, streamlined processes, and ongoing developments, businesses can make informed decisions to propel their data integration strategies into the future.

For detailed information, refer to the official documentation for Azure Data Factory and Fabric Data Factory.


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