Microsoft Fabric Connections Demystified

Managing data connections in Microsoft Fabric can be challenging if you’re unsure where to start. This blog post and its detailed YouTube video will help you find, manage, and share the existing data connections, making your workflow more efficient and streamlined. A meaningful use case for this feature is to reuse the existing connections leading to more controlled connections to the data sources. More on this later in this blog.

Understanding Data Connections in Microsoft Fabric

In Microsoft Fabric, a data connection links the platform to various data sources, whether in the cloud or on-premises. Different items in Microsoft Fabric, such as Data Factory Pipelines, Dataflows, Paginated reports, Semantic Models, KQL databases, and Mirrored Azure SQL databases (currently in preview), create these data connections.

Finding Data Connections

To find data connections in Microsoft Fabric:

  1. Click on Settings at the top right of the page.
  2. Select Manage connections and gateways.
  3. Navigate to the Connections tab.

This tab displays all the connections shared with you or created by you. From here, you can check the status of each connection, remove old connections, and manage them as needed.

Manage connections and gateways in Microsoft Fabric
Manage connections and gateways

This page used to be called Manage Gateways where we could configure and manage on-premises data gateways. I have a very old blog post explaining the gateway setup and configuration in the cloud and on your local server here. While it’s an old post, the topics are still relevant, so check it out if you are interested in the gateway configuration.


As the preceding image shows, the Data page is currently in public Preview, hence, it is subject to change. It is also worthwhile to mention that not all connections are currently accessible via this page such as connections that are natively created by KQL databases within Fabric.

Check Connection Status

To check the connection status, click the status button of each connection. The result shows if the connection is online or offline.

Check connection status
Check connection status

Remove Connections

To remove a connection, click the ellipse button then click the Remove button.

Remove a connection
Remove a connection

Sharing Connections

The ability to share a connection across the organisation is very helpful. Let’s say we have a group of developers working on Microsoft Fabric data solutions. By creating data connections and securely sharing it with them, they do not need to create multiple versions of the same connection to the same data source. This way, we can centralise the connections and have more controlled and governed connections to the required data sources. Follow these steps to share a connection with other users:

  1. Click on the ellipses button next to the connection.
  2. Select Manage users.
  3. Type in the user account name or a security group.
  4. Click the user/security group to add them as new users.
  5. Select the user/security group.
  6. Specify their permissions.
  7. Click the Share button.
Sharing connections in Microsoft Fabric
Sharing connections

Now that we know how to share connections, let’s see how we can control the sharing behaviour. In other words, who is allowed to share connections; which takes us to the next section.

Managing Cloud Connection Sharing

If you are an administrator, you can control who in your organisation can share cloud connections. Here’s how:

  1. Toggle on the Tenant Administration option.
  2. Click on Manage cloud connection charing.
  3. Toggle on the Restrict users in your organization from sharing cloud connections.
  4. Specify who in your organisation can share cloud connections (best practice is adding security groups).
  5. Click the Add button.
  6. Click the Confirm Policy button.
Manage cloud connection sharing in Microsoft Fabric
Manage cloud connection sharing

Creating a New Connection

Creating a new connection in Microsoft Fabric via the Manage connections and gateways page is straightforward. Depending on the connection type, the options are slightly different, but the principals are the same. The following steps explain how to create a new connection for an Azure SQL Database source:

  1. Click on the New button.
  2. Select Cloud for a cloud connection.
  3. Type in the Connection name.
  4. Choose the Connection type which is SQL Server in my case. After this point, the rest of the configurations are dependent on the selected connection type.
  5. Enter the necessary details (Server, Database, Authentication method, Single sign-on, Encryption and Privacy level).
  6. Click Create.
Create a new connection in Microsoft Fabric
Create a new connection


The created connections, or the existing connections, can not currently be used on Dataflows Gen1, Dataflows Gen2, or Datamarts. This means that when we create any of these items, we cannot simply use the existing connections and a new connection must be created.

Reusing Connections

As mentioned in the previous section, after creating a connection, you can use it in limited Fabric items. However, note that some items like Dataflows Gen1 and Gen2 cannot reuse cloud connections currently. I currently could use an existing connection in Data Factory Pipelines. Since this feature is still in public preview, I presume we’ll see more items to use the existing connections.

Follow these steps to use the existing connection in a new Data Factory Pipeline:

  1. Navigate to the desired workspace.
  2. Click the Experience Picker at the bottom left of the page.
  3. Select the Data Factory experience.
Select Data Factory Experience in Microsoft Fabric
Select Data Factory Experience
  1. Select Data Pipeline.
  2. Give it a name.
  3. Click the Create button.
Create a new Data Pipeline in Microsoft Fabric
Create a new Data Pipeline
  1. Add a Pipeline activity.
  2. Select Copy Data.
Add a Copy Data activity to the pipeline
Add a Copy Data activity to the pipeline
  1. Click the Source tab.
  2. Select an existing Connection from the dropdown.
  3. Select the Connection type from the dropdown.

The rest of the configuration depends on the selected connection. In my case, it is an SQL database.

  1. Click the Test connection button
Select and set the existing connection
Select and set the existing connection

From here, you can continue your development as usual. We wanted to check if we can use the existing connections on Data Pipelines. This is pretty handy as we do not need to create a new connection every time we want to connect to the same data source.


Managing data connections in Microsoft Fabric is essential for efficient data handling and sharing. By following the steps outlined in this blog and accompanying video, you can easily find, manage, and share your data connections. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please leave a comment or reach out to me on social media.

Follow me on LinkedIn, YouTube, and @_SoheilBakhshi on X (formerly Twitter).

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