What is a Data Fabric and Why Do I Need It? (2023)

Adata fabricis an integrated architecture that leverages data to provide a consistent capability across endpoints spanning a hybrid multi-cloud environment. By creating standardized practices for data management, a data fabric creates greater visibility, access, and control. Most importantly, it creates a consistency that allows data to be used and shared anywhere within your environment.

Data is combined from different sources and types, to create a comprehensive single, virtual source. Regardless of the application, platform, or storage location, a data fabric architecture facilitates frictionless access and data sharing across a distributed infrastructure.

Dell Technologies Data fabric architecture simplifies analysis, especially for use with AI and machine learning, and has become a primary tool for many organizations to convert raw data into usable business intelligence. Gartner picked data fabric as itstop strategic technology trend for 2022, noting that a data fabric can reduce data management efforts by as much as 70%.

What’s the Difference Between a Data Fabric, Data Warehouse, and Data Lake?

To understand the difference between a data fabric architecture and data warehouses or data lakes, it’s important to understand how data storage has evolved.

Data warehousesare great for storing structured data and providing data in an aggregated, summary form for data analysis. However, it doesn’t work with unstructured data, which represents the majority of data collected. One of the reasons so much data goes unused is that80% to 90% of the data collected is unstructuredand doesn’t adhere to conventional data models.

Data lakesmade handling all types of data easier — including both structured and unstructured data —even co-locating data from disparate sources. Data lakes store and maintain replicas of the data, but do not support real-time data and can result in slow response times for some queries. Data lakes can also become a dumping ground for data (a so-called “data swamp”) with data that’s unusable. This can limit effective analysis.

(Video) Data Fabric Explained

A data fabricovercomes these obstacles by creating unified access to processed data while maintaining localized or distributed storage. This also helps maintain data provenance. It’s not a copy of a data source, but rather a specific data set with a known and accepted state.

A data fabric architecture can work with data warehouses and data lakes as well as any other data sources.

Benefits of Using Data Fabric

Data fabric has three notable benefits, including:

  1. A unified, self-service data source
  2. Automated governance and security
  3. Automated data integration

Unified, Self-Service Data Source

Data fabric pulls together data from disparate sources into one unified source, which makes discovering, processing, and using data easier. It democratizes data by putting it into the hands of users who need it. Based on access policies and controls, data is accessible to anyone authorized for access.

The2021 Forrester Total Economic Impact, commissioned by IBM, estimates the potential ROI of using a data fabric for a unified, self-service data source at more than 450% providing a benefit to enterprise organizations of $5.8 million.

Automated Data Governance and Security

Localized governance and security can remain in place. This allows you to ensure specific governance and security rules are followed regardless of where the data is accessed. At the same time, you can also create holistic data management policies for governance and security on an enterprise-wide level.

(Video) What is Data Fabric?

With automated data governance and security rules in place, companies remain in compliance and reduce the risk of data exposure.

Automated Data Integration

By automating (and augmenting) data integration tasks, data scientists and data engineers can significantly reduce manual workloads. Optimized data integration accelerates data delivery and occurs in real-time so data is always in sync.

Data fabric helps organizations leverage the power of their accumulated data across a local, hybrid cloud and/or multi-cloud environment. By modernizing storage and data management, a data fabric creates significant efficiencies for business, management, and organizational practices.

Business Efficiencies

Data is processed quickly and efficiently with automated pipeline management resulting in significant time savings. Automated pipeline management also allows users to gain a real-time, 360-degree view of their data. For example, whether users want to understand their customers or supply chains better, a data fabric provides a holistic view with access to every data point.

Data fabric also create cost-efficiencies by providing a lowered total cost of ownership (TCO) to scale and maintain legacy systems rather than modernizing them incrementally.

Data Management Efficiencies

Data processing, cleaning, transformation, and enrichment is tedious and repetitive. Automating the data preparation removes much of this burden.

(Video) In 30 Seconds: What Is a Data Fabric and Why Should You Build One?

A well-designed data fabric architecture also can support significant scale, since data can be stored on-premises, in multi-cloud or hybrid environments. A well designed architecture allows organizations to store data where it is most efficient and cost-effective without sacrificing access.

Organizational Efficiencies

By creating a consistent and common data language allows users to derive greater value. A data fabric creates a semantic abstraction layer that can translate data complexity into easy-to-understand business language. Data is more useful to those without deep data training and experience.

The most common use case for a data fabric is to create a virtual database for centralized business management. Distributed data sources still maintain accessibility for local or regional use while also being accessible by organizations at large. Organizations that have a distributed workforce or regional segmentation often choose this approach while allowing for central access, coordination, and management of data.

Another common use case is when mergers or acquisitions occur. A data fabric strategy can unify disparate sources by bringing the information from the acquired company into the virtual data store without having to replace legacy architecture. While creating unified and harmonized data always requires some level of effort, a data fabric will allow for seamless and centralized data access within and throughout the entire enterprise.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI relies on robust and high-integrity data, but models are only as good as the data that’s algorithms are being fed. A data fabric architecture provides data scientists with the broad and integrative data they need for efficient data delivery. Since so much of machine learning revolves around the logistics of data, a data fabric provides the best solution to manage data complexity.

As remote work, distributed workforces, and digital business channels continue to grow, it creates a complex and diverse data ecosystem. Add in IoT, sensors, and evolving technology that creates data at a blinding rate, and you can easily create an unmanageable mess of data.

(Video) What is Data Fabric??

By using a data fabric layer on top of everything, you can overcome these challenges to bring together various data sources across cloud and location boundaries. Implementing a data fabric strategy allows organizations to modernize without having to disrupt or replace legacy systems. You can unify and access your data virtually whether it lives on-prem, in the cloud, or in hybrid or multi-cloud platforms.

Data fabrics provide a holistic view of data, including real-time data, reducing the time required to discover, query, and deploy innovative strategies and providing deeper data analysis that creates better business intelligence.

To learn more about data fabric visit ourwebsitefor more information on how our team can help you.

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What is a Data Fabric and Why Do I Need It? (1)


There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to data architecture modernization. It’s paramount to figure out and settle on a data ecosystem framework that fits your organization’s needs.

(Video) All about Data Fabric in 10 minutes

In need ofdata architecture modernization? Convergehelps organizations tap into their data by leading with a mix of strategy and development expertise, using data science, machine learning & AI.

Jimmy Grondin,
Architecte de solutions
Converge Technologies


What is data fabric explained simply? ›

In simplest terms, a data fabric is a single environment consisting of a unified architecture, and services or technologies running on that architecture, that helps organizations manage their data. The ultimate goal of data fabric is to maximize the value of your data and accelerate digital transformation.

What does data fabric solve? ›

Data fabric is designed to help organizations solve complex data problems and use cases by managing their data—regardless of the various kinds of applications, platforms, and locations where the data is stored. Data fabric enables frictionless access and data sharing in a distributed data environment.

What is required for data fabric? ›

A data fabric must provide the ability to deploy and execute across on-premises, cloud, and edge locations with centralized management and fully integrated functionality across the entire infrastructure. A fabric needs to stretch across locations, not simply have the ability to install and run in different locations.

What problems does data fabric solve? ›

By integrating data across platforms and users, data fabric ensures that data is available everywhere when needed. Unobstructed by the variety of applications, platforms, and locations that store data, data fabric makes frictionless access and data sharing in a distributed environment simple.

What is benefit of data fabric? ›

Data fabrics provide organizations with a powerful tool for managing and analyzing data. By consolidating data from multiple sources onto a single platform, data fabrics make it possible to process and analyze data in real-time. In addition, data fabrics offer the ability to access data from anywhere, at any time.

What are the advantages of data fabric? ›

Reduce Costs: A data fabric can help you to reduce the costs associated with data management, by allowing you to consolidate your data into a single platform. This can save you time and money. Better Safeguarding of Data and Compliance: Increasing data access does not have to compromise data security.

Why is it called a data fabric? ›

Data fabric is defined as an emerging approach to handling data using a network-based architecture instead of point-to-point connections. This enables an integrated data layer (fabric) right from the data sources level to analytics, insight generation, orchestration, and application.

What is data fabric vs data mesh? ›

A data mesh creates multiple domain-specific systems, each specialized according to its functions and uses, thus bringing data closer to consumers. A data fabric consists of a single source of truth containing high-speed clusters that grant users access via network endpoints.

What is a common data fabric? ›

CDF is a commercial software based data broker that provides enterprise intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data to consuming machines and applications throughout the Defense Intelligence Enterprise (DIE).

What is the objective of data fabric? ›

What is the purpose of a data fabric? The purpose of a data fabric is to create a unified view of the associated data to facilitate application access to information, regardless of the data's location, database association or structure. It is also used to simplify analysis, often with AI and machine learning.

How do you implement data fabric? ›

  1. Five Critical Steps to Creating a Data Fabric Framework. ...
  2. Determine essential sources of metadata. ...
  3. Construct a superior data model. ...
  4. Unite data with your model. ...
  5. Share the data with consumer applications. ...
  6. Reiterate the process when new business demands arise. ...
  7. Leveraging Data Fabric to Modernize Data Integration.
Jul 18, 2022

Is Snowflake a data fabric? ›

Talend and Snowflake

Talend Data Fabric works hand in hand with cloud data warehouses like Snowflake to provide data management with real-time speed and unshakeable trust.

What are the disadvantages of data fabrics? ›

But data fabric has its downsides — chief among them implementation complexity. For example, data fabrics require exposing and integrating different data and systems, which can often format data differently. This lack of native interoperability can add friction like the need to harmonize and deduplicate data.

What are the disadvantages of fabric? ›

Washing fabrics also causes pilling. Pilling is generally seen in man made fabrics like polyester and jute. A slower agitation and shorter cycle should be used along with detergents. Shrinking is the process where a fabric becomes smaller than its original size through the process of laundry.

Who are the users of data fabric? ›

Data consumers, of the data fabric, include data scientists and data analysts (working with data lakes), marketing analysts (involved with customer segmentation), sales, marketing, and data privacy specialists (concerned with customer segmentation), cloud architects, and more.

What is an example of data fabric? ›

One example of data fabric architecture in a multi-cloud environment may look like the below, where one cloud, like AWS, manages data ingestion and another platform, such as Azure, oversees data transformation and consumption.

What is the significance of fabric? ›

It serves a variety of purposes because it is such a flexible medium. Cloth can be wrapped tightly or draped loosely, woven to one shape or knitted to stretch and conform to changing shapes, or pieced together and combined with other materials to create items as different as rag dolls and tents.


1. What Is Data Fabric | How Data Fabric Works | Data Fabric Explained | Intellipaat
2. What's a data fabric and how does it work?
(Hewlett Packard Enterprise)
3. Demohub Tips // Data Fabric vs Data Mesh: Differences Explained Full Lecture (1hr) | www.demohub.dev
(DemoHub | Demos For Modern Data Tools)
4. Data Fabric Components, Benefits, and Functions
(TIBCO Products)
5. Data Virtualization in Data Fabric
(IBM Technology)
6. What is a Data Fabric?
(Hewlett Packard Enterprise)
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