Azure

Azure Data Factory (ADF) Overview For Beginners

What is Azure Data Factory?

Azure Data Factory is a managed cloud service that’s built for these complex hybrid extract-transform-load (ETL), extract-load-transform (ELT), and data integration projects.

Why to Choose ADF over on-prem SSIS package?

So, whenever anyone hear Azure data factory ETL, ELT packages, first question will hit our brain is why not to use on-prem SSIS packages to achieve same. Right? but ADF is not a replacement for SSIS instead these are both ETL tools with some amount of shared functionality, they are separate products, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

So, here are few important things which will help us to understand benefits of ADF over SSIS.

  1. ADF comes along with 90+ built connector at no added cost. This means, ADF allow us to perform data migration across multiple platforms. Please find below snap for popular platforms with ADF connector.

    Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/data-factory/connector-overview


     

  2. Given below is quick comparison between SSIS and ADF which describes the benefits to use ADF over SSIS in this cloud world.

Overview of Azure Data factory

As we can see below, ADF current version is V2 which is latest and recommended version as V1 version is going to be deprecated very soon.

You can find more details about V2 advantages over V1 on Microsoft site.

Reference: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/data-factory/compare-versions

Create Azure Data factory

ADF also support version controlling along with CI/CD pipeline deployment with Azure Dev-Ops as well Github. This makes deployment and migration easier from one environment to next environment.

Create Azure Data factory

Networking is most important part when we deal with Data over cloud. So, ADF comes with Managed virtual network as well as it has capability to make use of Private endpoint for self-hosted integration runtime.

The Integration Runtime (IR) is the compute infrastructure used by Azure Data Factory and Azure Synapse pipelines to provide data integration capabilities across different network environments:

Creating an Azure IR within managed Virtual Network ensures that data integration process is isolated and secure.

It does not require deep Azure networking knowledge to do data integrations securely. Instead getting started with secure ETL is much simplified for data engineers.

Managed Virtual Network along with Managed private endpoints protects against data exfiltration.

Create Azure Data factory

As we can see description below, by default data is encrypted with Microsoft managed keys but in addition to this managed key, ADF allow us to take control over encryption by defining own Customer managed key and that key can be accessed through Key Vault.

Create Azure Data factory

With above set of configurations our first ADF is ready to be deployed.

Create Azure Data factory

Once resource is deployed, we can see all properties in below screen. However, pipeline development happens on ‘https://adf.azure.com/’ portal and to navigate to portal simply click on ‘Open Azure Data Factory Portal’ box below ‘Getting Started’ title.

Create Azure Data factory

This is how ‘Data Factory Studio’ looks like.

Create Azure Data factory

To create pipeline click on Author and it will give you further options to create variety of packages.

Create Azure Data factory

First step in data factory is to create datasets which would be required in pipeline as source and destination of data.

So, to start with Dataset configuration, I have created two azure SQL databases to keep this demo simple.

Also, I have created table employee and added few entries into this table of source database and in destination database created empty table.

Create Azure Data factory

Create Azure Data factory

As I mentioned above, please find below number of connectors which we can configure to migrate or transform huge amount of data.

Let’s create two datasets i.e., source and destination.

Create Azure Data factory

Create Azure Data factory

In Dataset, we need to configure linked service as below.

Create Azure Data factory

On linked service configuration, select subscription, server name and database. We can also make use of Key vault here to connect with SQL instance.

We can configure SQL connectivity with many ways like SQL authentication, Managed Identity Service Principal and User assigned managed identity.

Create Azure Data factory

In this demo, we are using SQL authentication.

Create Azure Data factory

Post configuration, you can verify SQL connectivity by hitting ‘Test Connection’ link at bottom. In case, if you get below mentioned error then make sure that ‘Data factory’ IP is added into firewall rule of azure SQL server.

Create Azure Data factory

With above steps we are done with Source dataset configuration. Same steps, we need to follow for Destination dataset configuration.

Source Dataset:

Create Azure Data factory

Destination Dataset:

Create Azure Data factory

Now, we are good to start with data factory pipeline creation. We will be using ‘Copy Data’ control to transfer data from source SQL database to destination SQL database.

Create Azure Data factory

Configure created source dataset in Source tab as below.

Create Azure Data factory

Configure created destination dataset in Sink tab as below.

Create Azure Data factory

Verify mapping and make changes as needed under Mapping Tab.

Create Azure Data factory

Once Source, Sink and Mapping configuration is done then click on ‘Validate’ to verify that there is no error.

Create Azure Data factory

Now we are ready to publish our change to server.

Create Azure Data factory

After successfully publishing change we can trigger pipeline. There are two way to execute pipeline, either we can schedule for future or we can trigger now as below.

Create Azure Data factory

So, we triggered pipeline and we can see progress/status of pipeline in Monitor tab.

Monitor (From left panel) -> Pipeline Run

Create Azure Data factory

So, pipeline executed successfully and we can see employee data has been migrated to destination SQL database as below 😊.

Create Azure Data factory

Thanks for reading this article. Please share your thoughts and comments.

Happy Coding 😊.

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