I see a lot of confusion among many people on what features are available today in Azure Synapse Analytics (formally called Azure SQL Data Warehouse) and what features are coming in the future. Below is a picture (click to zoom) that I describe below that hopefully clears things up:
So, if you log into the Azure portal today and use Synapse Analytics, you are using the GA version and nothing is different – it’s simply a name change form SQL DW. For the purposes of this picture we will call the GA version “v1” (the v1, v2, and v3 in my diagram is not in any way officially part of the product naming and is just used in this blog). This v1 will get certain new features over time (shown on the left) that I blogged about here.
In private preview are other new features, shown as v2 in my diagram. If you join the private preview, your Azure subscription will be whitelisted and you will have these new features available to you. You will not see these new features unless you are accepted into the private preview. The major new features in v2 include Azure Synapse Studio (a single pane of glass that uses workspaces to access databases, ADLS Gen2, ADF, Power BI, Spark, SQL Scripts, notebooks, monitoring, security), Apache Spark, on-demand T-SQL, and T-SQL over ADLS Gen2.
Much further down the road will be “Gen3”, or v3 in my diagram. The biggest feature in that version will be Multi-master cluster, where user workloads can operate over the same shareable relational data set while having independent clusters to serve those various workloads. This allows for very high concurrency. This was demo’d at Ignite by Rohan Kumar showing 10k concurrent queries (video at 0:28).
Any of the features that get added to the v1 version will also be added to v2 and v3.
Hope this helps!