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Updates in Azure Synapse Analytics

Saveen Reddy shows how the Synapse product team has been busy this year:

Previously, Synapse workspaces had a kind of database called a Spark Database. Spark databases had two key characteristics:

– Tables in Spark databases kept their underlying data in Azure Storage accounts (i.e. data lakes)

– Tables in Spark databases could be queried by both Spark pools and by serverless SQL pools.

To help make it clear that these databases are supported by both Spark and SQL and to clarify their relationship to data lakes, we have renamed Spark databases to Lake databases. Lake databases work just like Spark databases did before. They just have a new name.

Okay, this is the kind of change I can do without. That’s a really dumb name. Spark databases tell you what a thing is. It’s a database which lives in Apache Spark. Lake databases run what? Apache Spark. But if anything really should be called a Lake database, it’d be a serverless SQL pool’s database because everything in there is built on top of the data lake—it’s all external tables pointing to a lake. So calling a Spark database a Lake database brings more confusion than elucidation.

Most of the other changes on that list? Really cool. This one? Not at all.