Announcing Microsoft Fabric capacities are available for purchase
Update: Please note that free preview usage of Fabric workloads (other than Power BI) has been extended from August 1 to October 1, 2023.
As of June 1, 2023, Microsoft Fabric (preview) capacities are available in the Azure portal for purchase. Fabric capacities provide the compute resources for all the experiences in Fabric – from the Data Factory to ingest and transform to Data Engineering, Data Science, Data Warehouse, Real-Time Analytics and all the way to Power BI for data visualization.
A single capacity can power all workloads concurrently and does not need to be pre-allocated across the workloads. Moreover, a single capacity can be shared among multiple users and projects, without any limitations on the number of workspaces or creators that can utilize it.
Getting your capacity
To gain access to Microsoft Fabric you have three paths.
- Leverage your existing Power BI Premium subscription by turning on the Fabric preview switch. All Power BI Premium capacities are instantly capable of powering all the Fabric workloads with no additional action required.
- Start a Fabric trial if your tenant supports trials. Learn how to turn on the Fabric trial, and review how to start the Fabric trial.
- And finally, as of today, you can purchase a Fabric pay-as-you-go capacity from the Azure portal.
To provision a Fabric capacity, navigate to the Azure portal (https://portal.azure.com), and search for Microsoft Fabric in the search bar. Check out the step-by-step instructions to buy a Microsoft Fabric subscription.
Fabric capacity sizes and prices
Microsoft Fabric is a unified product for all your data and analytics workloads. Rather than provisioning and managing separate compute for each workload, with Fabric, your bill is determined by two variables: the amount of compute you provision and the amount of storage you use.
Fabric capacities come in SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) sizes from F2 – F2048, representing 2 – 2048 Capacity Units (CU). When you provision a Fabric capacity, you will see two distinct types of charges on your bill – for compute provisioned (which is the size of the capacity you choose) and for OneLake storage which is charged for the data stored in OneLake.
Fabric capacities are priced uniquely across regions. The pay-as-you-go pricing for a Fabric capacity at US West 2 (a typical Azure region) is $0.18 per CU per hour which translates to a monthly price of $262.8 for an F2 ($0.18 * 2 * 730 hours). Billing is per second with a one minute minimum. A full list of prices is available at the Azure portal by selecting your Fabric capacity region (See Table 1 for US West 2 pricing). With the pay-as-you-go option, customers can easily scale their capacities up and down to adjust their computing power and pause their capacities when not in use to save on their bills.
|Capacity unit (CU)
Table 1: Pricing of Fabric capacity SKUs at US west 2
OneLake, the data lake built into Microsoft Fabric, serves as a centralized repository for all organizational data and is billed at a pay-as-you-go rate.
OneLake storage pricing is comparable to Azure ADLS (Azure Data Lake Storage) pricing. For example, the price at US West 2 for OneLake is $0.023 per GB per month. Cross-region data transfer network charges may apply based on source / destination of each storage access. Learn more at Bandwidth pricing.
Capacities and regions
When a capacity is provisioned in the Azure portal, you can select the region for its deployment. Workspaces that are assigned to the capacity will have all their data stored in that region, and the compute will also operate in the same region.
Provisioning capacities for different regions allows your Fabric tenant to maintain the desired data residency requirements.
Capacity management, monitoring and cost management
Multiple capacities may be provisioned by different users within the same tenant. This allows capacities to be purchased and managed separately by different business units, each powering their own projects and creators, and thus allowing easy cost management and control.
Fabric capacities are accessible in the Fabric admin portal under capacity settings under the “Fabric Capacity” tab. You can manage your Fabric capacities on this tab, assign workspaces to them, and assign other users to the capacity.
Fabric capacities also come with a centralized dashboard to monitor usage and costs in the Microsoft Fabric utilization and metrics app. In addition, you can use Azure cost management to understand your spending across workloads and optimize your capacity usage. Learn more about monitoring capacity usage.
Fabric capacities and Power BI Premium capacities
Fabric capacities and Power BI Premium capacities offer two purchasing options for you to get access to the complete range of Microsoft Fabric capabilities. Fabric capacities are similar in their behavior to existing Power BI Premium capacities and existing Power BI Premium customers will feel right at home with the Fabric capacities. Moreover, all Power BI Premium capacities are automatically upgraded to support all the Fabric workloads. A P1 Power BI Premium per capacity provides the same power as an F64 Fabric capacity, a P2 Power BI Premium capacity provides the power of an F128 Fabric capacity and so forth (See this table for a detailed comparison).
You may notice that the prices of the Fabric capacities in the Azure portal are higher than those of the equivalent Power BI Premium capacities. This is because the Fabric capacities are available on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning you can scale them up and down dynamically and even pause them completely with no usage commitment. Additionally, later this year we will introduce an Azure Reservation commitment model for Fabric Capacities which will make their price comparable to the equivalent Power BI Premium capacities.
The Power BI Pro license requirements for Power BI Premium per capacity also extend Fabric capacity. Power BI report authors and consumers will still need a Power BI Pro license. However, with an F64 – a Premium P1 equivalent – or larger capacities, Power BI report consumers do not require a Power BI Pro license. For non-Power BI authoring activities, no Power BI Pro license is required. This means users can use pipelines, create data warehouses, use notebooks, and manage their capacities without a Power BI Pro license.
Since OneLake is powered by a capacity, the new Direct Lake capability of Power BI is available only when used with Fabric or Power BI Premium capacities.
Dataflows Gen2 are part of the Data Factory workload and are only available with a capacity.
Sizing the capacities
Currently, there is no formula that can provide an easy upfront estimate of the capacity size you’ll need. The best way to size the capacity is to put it into use and measure the load. To evaluate the right size of Fabric capacity for your needs, you can either start with the Fabric trial or pick a pay-as- you-go Fabric capacity size for testing. Until October 1, Fabric workloads other than Power BI will not count against your purchased capacity limits. The capacity metrics app – supporting trial and paid capacities – will show you your preview vs paid usage, allowing you to assess your size without incurring additional costs.
Later this year, we will be releasing a planning calculator to help you size your Fabric needs.
Capacities for everyone
A key design point of the new capacities is to allow everyone to enjoy Microsoft Fabric.
It starts with a very low entry price point – the F2 capacity is available for just $0.36/hour (PAYG). This means that for less than $9 (US) dollars per day every small business or department can enjoy a full end-to-end professional-grade analytics platform.
We also made sure that the F2 capacity performs well when executing queries. Of course, don’t expect F2 to be able to run massive jobs or serve a large community of users, but for small departmental use cases, the F2 capacity will provide a great experience.
The SaaS (software as a service) nature of the capacities also provides auto-management capabilities, so they generally work in an unattended, self-managing manner, as expected from a SaaS product.
In the following months, we will be adding more capabilities to Fabric capacities, including Azure-Reservations that will provide comparable pricing to Power BI Premium per capacity 1-year subscription, autoscale that lets the system take control of your scaling needs, configurable surge protection to prevent unintentional overload of your capacities, and cross charging to allow better cost management of shared capacities.