Azure Synapse Analytics cheat sheet


Azure Synapse Analytics (workspaces) is currently in preview. This preview version is provided without a service level agreement, and it's not recommended for production workloads. Certain features might not be supported or might have constrained capabilities. For more information, see Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews.

The Azure Synapse Analytics cheat sheet will guide you through the basic concepts of the service and important commands. This article is helpful for both new learners and those who want highlights of the essential Azure Synapse topics.


Synapse Architecture


Term Definition
Synapse workspace (preview) A securable collaboration boundary for doing cloud-based enterprise analytics in Azure. A workspace is deployed in a specific region and has an associated ADLS Gen2 account and file system (for storing temporary data). A workspace is under a resource group.
Synapse SQL Run analytics with pools or with on-demand capabilities.
SQL pool 0-to-N SQL provisioned resources with their corresponding databases can be deployed in a workspace. Each SQL pool has an associated database. A SQL pool can be scaled, paused and resumed manually or automatically. A SQL pool can scale from 100 DWU up to 30,000 DWU.
SQL on-demand (preview) Distributed data processing system built for large-scale data that lets you run T-SQL queries over data in data lake. It is serverless so you don't need to manage infrastructure.
Apache Spark for Synapse Spark run-time used in a Spark pool. The current version supported is Spark 2.4 with Python 3.6.1, Scala 2.11.12, .NET support for Apache Spark 0.5 and Delta Lake 0.3.
Apache Spark pool (preview) 0-to-N Spark provisioned resources with their corresponding databases can be deployed in a workspace. A Spark pool can be auto-paused, resumed, and scaled.
Spark application It consists of a driver process and a set of executor processes. A Spark application runs on a Spark pool.
Spark session Unified entry point of a spark application. It provides a way to interact with Spark's various functionalities and with a lesser number of constructs. To run a notebook, a session needs to be created. A session can be configured to run on a specific number of executors of a specific size. The default configuration for a notebook session is is to run on 2 medium-sized executors.
SQL Request Operation such as a query run through SQL pool or SQL on-demand.
Data Integration Gives the capability to ingest data between various sources and orchestrate activities running within a workspace or outside a workspace.
Artifacts Concept that encapsulates all objects necessary for a user to manage data sources, develop, orchestrate, and visualize.
Notebook Interactive and reactive Data Science and Engineering interface supporting Scala, PySpark, C#, and SparkSQL.
Spark job definition Interface to submit a Spark job by with assembly jar containing the code and its dependencies.
Data Flow Provides a fully visual experience with no coding required to do big data transformation. All optimization and execution are handled in a serverless fashion.
SQL script Set of SQL commands saved in a file. A SQL script can contain one or more SQL statements. It can be used to run SQL requests through SQL pool or SQL on-demand.
Pipeline Logical grouping of activities that perform a task together.
Activity Defines actions to perform on data such as copying data, running a Notebook or a SQL script.
Trigger Executes a pipeline. It can be run manually or automatically (schedule, tumbling window or event-based).
Linked service Connection strings that define the connection information needed for the workspace to connect to external resources.
Dataset Named view of data that simply points or references the data to be used in an activity as input and output. It belongs to a Linked Service.

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