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We’re excited to let you know that we recently extended the database creation workflow in the preview Azure management portal to support two new scenarios – create from sample and create from backup. The sample database provided is based on the lightweight version of the popular Adventure Works database which supports order processing for a fictitious bicycle manufacturer. Creating a database from this sample gives you a quick and easy way to try Azure SQL Database with real world schema and data. You can also create a database from the most recent daily backup of any Basic, Standard, or Premium database. To try these new ways to create a database, browse to the preview portal and select + New > SQL Database and then choose between a blank database, sample or backup as the source.
If you select Backup as the source you can create a database from any available daily backup. Creating a database from a backup using this workflow lets you create the new database in any region. Note that as these are the daily backups they may be up to 24 hours old, and will not include short-lived databases if they were deleted before their scheduled daily backup occurred. If you delete and recreate a database with the same name the backup of the new database will replace the backup of the deleted database. If you want to restore a copy of a database to a specific point in time up to 5 minutes ago you should open the database in its database blade and restore from there. If you want to restore a deleted database to the point at which it was deleted then you should use Browse SQL servers to locate its server, open the server blade and click on Deleted Databases.
Whatever approach you use to create a SQL database we’ve made it easier to develop and extend its schema by integrating the management portal with the rich set of SQL database tools in Visual Studio. When viewing a database in either the Azure management portal or the new preview portal you can now contextually open the database in Visual Studio 2013 with Update 4 (or later) with a single click. The database is opened in the SQL Server Object Explorer letting you browse and edit the schema, write and execute T-SQL queries, view data in any of the tables, and use any of the Visual Studio SQL tools, including creating an offline project for managing, building and publishing schema changes alongside your application code.
The short video below shows how easy it is to create a database from a sample or a backup, and contextually open a database in Visual Studio 2013 with Update 4. Try it out and let us know what you think!