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We’re about to make some updates to the SQL Azure service, which will pave the way for some significant enhancements and announcements we plan to make later this year.  This July 2011 Service Release is foundational in many ways, with significant upgrades to the underlying engine designed to increase overall performance and scalability.  This upgrade is also significant in that it represents a big first step towards providing a common base and feature set between the cloud SQL Azure service and our upcoming release of SQL Server Code Name “Denali”.

What’s coming in the SQL Azure July Service Release?

We’ll implement these upgrades over the coming weeks in all our global datacenters.  Once these upgrades are complete, co-administrator support will enable customers to specify multiple database administrators, and SQL Azure will have increased capability for using spatial data types, making it the perfect cloud database for location-aware cloud and mobile applications. 

To prepare for the service release, we urge all customers and developers download the latest updates to the SQL Server Management Studio tools, otherwise you may experience connectivity issues connecting to the database.  Users who only use the database manager tools in the Windows Azure developer portal will be unaffected.  The details and download links to accomplish this are below.

Applications running in Windows Azure, on-premises, or with a hoster that interact with data in SQL Azure will be unaffected and will continue to work normally.

Preparing for the Service Release: Download updated management tools

As the datacenters get upgraded, the version number of the database engine will increase, which will result in errors when connecting with the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) management tool. 

To prevent experiencing any connectivity issues with management tools, we encourage you to immediately download and install the latest updates to the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) tools for managing your SQL Server and SQL Azure databases.  The links to get the latest updates available in SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 are:

Applications that utilize SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) will need to apply the Cumulative Update Package 7 for SQL Server 2008 R2e Update Package 7 for SQL Server 2008 R2.”>.

If you encounter connectivity issues with SSMS over the next few weeks, please double-check that you have the latest updates. To verify you have the latest version of SSMS, open the tool, click on the help menu, and select ‘About’.  You’ll get a dialog box listing version numbers of various SQL Server components.  The first row, “Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio” should have a version greater or equal to 10.50.1777.0 once you’ve installed the updates.


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