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SQL Azure May 2011 Update

[This article was contributed by the SQL Azure team.]Announced earlier today at TechEd, there are several key updates to the SQL Azure service that I wanted to share with you.  Zane Adam covered…

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

Announced earlier today at TechEd, there are several key updates to the SQL Azure service that I wanted to share with you.  Zane Adam covered these at a high level on his blog this morning as well as talking about improvements in AppFabric.  The theme of this service release was to continue improving on making SQL Azure databases easier to manage, and the service enhancements go a long way towards making automation and keeping track of geo-distributed deployments more convenient.

For the May 2011 service update, there are four key improvements the engineering teams have been hard at work on:

  1. SQL Azure Management REST API – a web API for managing SQL Azure servers.
  2. Multiple servers per subscription – create multiple SQL Azure servers per subscription.
  3. JDBC Driver – updated database driver for Java applications to access SQL Server and SQL Azure.
  4. DAC Framework 1.1 – making it easier to deploy databases and in-place upgrades on SQL Azure.

Let’s go through these one by in a little more detail.  For deeper technical details you can read more in the MSDN documentation here.

SQL Azure Management REST API: With the latest release, managing databases can be accomplished via a web API to programmatically manage SQL Azure servers along with configuring the firewall rules.  While managing the servers via the Windows Azure developer portal is straightforward enough, doing this via an API provides the ability automate these tasks.  Many SQL Azure solutions created by our partner ISVs create new databases or add a firewall rule when onboarding new customers.  This API makes scenarios such as this much more convenient and efficient.   The REST API we’ve implemented utilizes standard and open web protocols to make it easy to use by any variety of programming platforms.

Multiple servers per subscription: You can now create multiple SQL Azure servers per subscription, making it easier to manage multiple database deployments across different servers – whether they’re in the same datacenter, or a geo-distributed deployment across worldwide Windows Azure platform datacenters.

JDBC Driver: Java developers can download the updated driver here.  The SQL Server JDBC Driver 3.0 driver is now available, a Type 4 JDBC driver.  This version fully supports both SQL Server and SQL Azure and is free of charge.  This enables on-premises Java applications to communicate with SQL Azure to make data available in the cloud; or to deploy a Java app to Windows Azure and utilize SQL Azure as the underlying data store.  More information on Windows Azure cross-platform capabilities are here.

DAC Framework 1.1: At the end of March I put up a post about the new import/export feature for SQL Azure that makes migrating databases between on-premises SQL Server and SQL Azure pretty simple, and will be tightly integrated into the database tools shipping with the next version of SQL Server (“Denali”).  Both schema and data are packaged together into a .bacpac file format (and no, I wasn’t involved in the naming of that file extension 🙂 . 

The improvements to the DAC Framework in 1.1 takes this a step further by enabling in-place upgrades of SQL Azure databases, changing the database schema as necessary while still preserving the data.  Very cool.  Used in conjunction with SQL Azure Data Sync, synchronizing data across on-premises and cloud creates very compelling opportunities to extend data from on-premises to reach users on the web, phone, tablets, and in next generation web apps via AJAX and jQuery.

Over the next few weeks I’ll post more updates and examples of the new service enhancements.  Leave a comment and let me know which of these features you’re most interested in learning more about.


– Steve