The Windows Azure cloud presents many new opportunities for database developers seeking to build next-generation, cloud-connected applications.  As a new cloud paradigm, Windows Azure provides two core relational database technologies for applications that require relational data storage with transactional capabilities.  The first is Windows Azure SQL Database, and the second is running SQL Server inside a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. Both are based on SQL Server, and so existing SQL Server skills and knowledge transfer well to Windows Azure. 

With that said, I have compiled a short list of some recent technical articles that I think developers will find very useful.  The list below is certainly not exhaustive; and in fact I highly recommend developers and IT professionals spend some time browsing MSDN Library content covering SQL Database within Windows Azure.  Here are links to three recent articles I find useful:

  • Migrating your Windows Azure SQL Database Using Data-Tier Application Framework (DacFX) Technology
    Wayne Berry has posted an excellent how-to blog describing a common customer scenario:  moving a Windows Azure SQL Database (formerly “SQL Azure”) to an on-premise database instance, or to SQL Server running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. His blog post covers how to use the Windows Azure Portal and SQL Server Management Studio 2012 to easily accomplish this task via the Data-Tier Application Framework (DACFx) Technology.  Since DACFx is shipped with SQL Server Management Studio 2012 you can download both at no cost. The reasons for moving from Windows Azure SQL Database to a local SQL Server instance vary greatly, the most common reason is for testing or development, where you want to test changes locally on SQL Express without affecting your live Windows Azure SQL Database. You can also move an Azure SQL Database to a SQL Server instance running in a Windows Azure Virtual MachineClick here for the full information and step-by-step tutorial.
  • Migrating Data Centric Applications to Windows Azure
    Capturing the best practices from the real-world engagements of the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT) and the technical expertise of the SQL Database Content team, Migrating Data-Centric Applications to Windows Azure can help you simplify the migration process, provide guidance on the most appropriate migration tools, and drive a successful implementation of your cloud migration plan.
  • Data Series: SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machine vs. SQL Database
  • The introduction of new IaaS capabilities for Windows Azure leads to an important question:  when should I choose Windows Azure SQL Database, and when should I choose SQL Server running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine when deploying a database to the cloud?  In this blog post, we provide some early information to help customers understand some of the differences between the two options, and their relative strengths and core scenarios.  Each of these choices might be a better fit than the other depending on what kind of problem you want to solve. 

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