SQL Azure - Getting Started

I started to look into SQL Azure, the database cloud computing initiative from Microsoft, and I was completely blown away. Microsoft is providing an interesting option that strikes an interesting balance between a plain-old RDBMS implementation and a scalable platform.  By definition, relational databases have difficulty scaling due to the many features and constraints that make them popular. However, SQL Azure removes some of those features in order to provide a more scalable SQL Server, while keeping intact its strong relational capabilities.

For example, outside of hashing, SQL Azure does not support encryption that uses certificates, which makes somewhat sense or those certificates would need to be deployed virtually everywhere.  Considering that encryption is CPU intensive anyway, it is probably best to leave the encryption details to the consumer.

I was initially surprised that the USE <database> command didn't work, although it doesn't generate an error either. I guess every database created could be sitting on any hardware... which makes sense from a scalability standpoint.

Finally, I had to get used to sqlcmd.exe again... but it works like a charm. There are ways to get a SQL Azure database available through Visual Studio. However you should expect that not all the T-SQL commands are available, or fully supported. For example, none of the system procedures will work... (bummer!).

To get started, go to http://www.microsoft.com/azure/sql.mspx - from there you can sign up for the CTP. 

Print | posted @ Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:16 AM

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