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[This article was contributed by the SQL Azure team.]

Check out the free trial of Microsoft® SQL Azure Database Community Technology Preview (CTP).  SQL Azure Database, a part of the Windows Azure platform, is a cloud-based database service built on Microsoft SQL Server technology.   With SQL Azure organizations will benefit from a pay-as-you grow model with enterprise-class availability, data protection, scalability, and security.

Also available as a CTP is the SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, which provides new capabilities for building PHP applications and support for SQL Azure, enabling developers to build PHP apps with relational database capabilities using SQL Server or SQL Azure Database.  The CTP for the SQL Server Driver for PHP is available for download today.

With the explosion of data-driven Web 2.0 applications, along with the need to extend existing applications and build innovative data solutions in the cloud – these are exciting milestones.  With SQL Azure, developers building Web 2.0, ASP.NET and PHP applications can use familiar tools and data models to develop on a pay-as-you-grow, secure, scalable and highly available database service at minimal infrastructure cost. In fact, there are really no comparable solutions available today — we are leading the industry by offering a relational database service.   When hosting your application in Windows Azure and with SQL Azure as your cloud database, building credible, reliable cloud-based applications becomes very easy.

The SQL Azure Database CTP includes:

· Relational data model supporting Transact-SQL (T-SQL), including T-SQL stored procedures. Access SQL Azure with familiar data access APIs such as ODBC, ADO.Net, PHP, etc.   The high degree of compatibility with SQL Server enables easy migration of existing Line of Business (LOB) or Web applications to the cloud.

· Self-provisioning, auto-healing and disaster recovery, with high availability and no physical database administration. Self service provisioning means you can provision any number of databases and not have to worry about machines, disks, or server configuration.

  • Pay-as-you-grow multi-tenant scalable service model.
  • Efficiencies from an enterprise class data center without the administrative overhead.
  • Support for familiar tools so developers can leverage existing skills to speed time to solution

SQL Server Driver for PHP CTP will include:

  • Support for SQL Azure, PHP version 5.3, and UTF-8
  • Support for Scrollable results and row count
  • Migration to the SQL Server 2008 Native Client framework with enhanced performance

SQL Azure Database will be available as a free trial until the service goes live in November. SQL Azure Database will be available in two editions: Web Edition, which will include up to 1 GB of relational data, priced at $9.99 per month, and Business Edition, which will include up to 10 GB of data, priced at $99.99 per month.

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