Azure Databricks vs Azure Synapse

Soumak Das
3 min readSep 22, 2023

Introduction

Azure Databricks: A Deep Dive

Azure Databricks, built on Apache Spark, stands as a powerful analytics platform optimized for Microsoft Azure. It’s designed to facilitate seamless collaboration among data scientists, data engineers, and business analysts. The platform offers a dynamic workspace that fosters interactive cooperation, ensuring that teams can efficiently work together.

Azure Databricks has earned its reputation as a powerhouse for machine learning development. With ML-optimized runtimes and GPU support, it’s a prime choice for organizations with a focus on machine learning. Furthermore, it’s closely integrated with Azure Machine Learning, making it a versatile tool for various analytics scenarios. Notably, it places a strong emphasis on version control and continuous integration/continuous deployment (CICD) capabilities, ensuring data science projects can maintain efficiency and accuracy.

Azure Synapse Analytics: Unleashing Limitless Analytics

Azure Synapse Analytics transcends conventional boundaries by merging enterprise data warehousing and Big Data analytics into one coherent service. Its unique blend allows for querying data with serverless, on-demand, or provisioned resources at an unparalleled scale. This synergy between data warehousing and Big Data analytics is designed to provide a unified experience across data ingestion, preparation, management, and serving.

For immediate business intelligence and machine learning needs, Azure Synapse Analytics is a robust choice. It bridges the gap between these two worlds, offering a versatile ecosystem for analytics. Whether you need ad-hoc querying, data preparation, or advanced analytics, Synapse has you covered.

When to Leverage Databricks and Synapse Analytics:

Machine Learning Development: If your primary focus revolves around machine learning development, Azure Databricks should be your go-to choice. Its ML-optimized runtimes, GPU-capable clusters, and seamless integration with AzureML provide the necessary tools to excel in this domain. Furthermore, it simplifies version control and CICD processes for entire environments.

Ad-hoc Data Lake Discovery: Both Azure Synapse and Databricks excel in the realm of ad-hoc data lake discovery. Databricks allows you to query data with Python, Scala, or R after mounting your data lake to your workspace…

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Soumak Das

Sr. Data Engineer @EY & Snowflake/Airflow/Databricks/AWS writer