Fabric Features not found in Azure Synapse or Power BI – Data Activator

With the GA release of Fabric in November, 2023, I am dedicating several posts to new features which you will not find in Power BI or Azure Synapse, and the latest one I want to talk about is Data Activator. Data Activator is an interesting tool to include inside of Fabric because it is not reporting or ETL, rather it is a way to manage actions when the data hits defined targets.  It is a management system for data stored in Fabric or streamed in Azure using IOT or Event Hubs. You can use Data Activator to monitor the current state or to define actions to occur when certain conditions occur in the data.  Data Activator is still in preview, but you can evaluate it now.

Using Data Activator

Getting started in Data Activator requires you to have access to the Tenant Administration features of Fabric.  I have included an image of the Admin Portal Tenant settings so that you can see the Data Activator Option which must be enabled.  After this change has been made you will see the option for Data Activator in the icon menu in the bottom right corner.

Fabric Admin Portal Tenant Settings for Data Activator

Fabric Admin Portal Tenant Settings for Data Activator


Monitoring Data with Data Activator

Data activator is designed to process data in either real time or in batch and then do something with it. For example, let’s say that you are responsible for ensuring that a set of refrigerators are operating at tolerance for a set of retail stores. A series of IOT devices is in each refrigerator, which periodically sends the ID of the device and a temperature. If a temperature records over 40 Degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, a work ticket should be created, and technician should be dispatched to solve the problem. If your data is batched, you may decide that if your KPI numbers are below thresholds you set, that someone should investigate why for example the number of yards of concrete poured yesterday was down significantly as perhaps there could be something that you could do to keep the issue from happening today. Reports will show you that these sorts of events occurred, and then the person monitoring the values in the report are supposed to take action. With Data Activator, you create triggers to initiate the action which should happen in response to the changes in data.

Triggering Action

The first step for creating actions in Data Activator is to connect to your data source then you can create a trigger. The Trigger alerts are similar to alerts you may have created on a Power BI Dashboard, where you provide a measure, time interval, then a rule and then which workspace to save the trigger in. Before you create the trigger, you need to create elements which support it. In our example where we are monitoring the freezer temperatures, we have a Unique Event Id which we are going to use to create an object, which we will call Fridge Alert. Once we create the object with the Transaction ID, we will then add properties to it of temperature and location. Lastly we will need a measure for the average temperature over 40 for 15 minutes. We will call that new measure Chill Alert. We can see how many times that has occurred over the last 24 hours in the data pane. Now that we have an alert, we will create a trigger action, sending an email when it occurs. We fill out the email as shown here.

Data Activator Trigger Action Pane

We can also triggger a Power Automate action to create a dispatch event as well. Selecting the start button will start the trigger data evaluation. As you can see, Data Activator can help you easily monitor your data by completing some very simple steps.  I hope that you check out this Fabric feature as it really takes monitoring data to the next level.

Yours Always,

Ginger Grant

Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur

Leave a Reply