Essential Guide

This Essential Guide is a collection of articles, videos and other content selected by our editors to give you a comprehensive view of this topic.

Evolution of Windows Azure SQL Database

Gain insight into the development of Windows Azure SQL Database, tracing it from its basic cloud database beginnings to its latest incarnation -- an infrastructure with a growing set of user-friendly features.

Many large companies have been hesitant about moving data and systems to the cloud, citing concerns about security, availability and expediency. Windows Azure SQL Database, the renamed version of SQL Azure, is Microsoft's cloud database service, and it has become an essential component of Windows Azure. According to experts, if database administrators (DBAs) continue to follow standard security practices, businesses can still maintain control of data, even in the SQL Azure cloud. In fact, the Azure cloud computing platform includes built-in security measures, including a strong firewall.

Developments in SQL Azure Federations enable companies to scale out, improving storage and accessibility for larger and larger quantities of data. With Windows Azure SQL Database, Microsoft is aspiring to provide an infrastructure for petabyte-sized big data, expanding beyond the basic cloud database service. And while it offers support for high availability, fault tolerance and data synchronization, SQL Azure falls short in some areas as well. For example, it does not include the whole set of T-SQL extensions. Also, reporting, outbound data and other services incur additional charges.

This guide offers a comprehensive look at Windows Azure SQL Database, exploring its beginnings and the evolution of its features. The stories below examine the benefits and drawbacks of SQL Azure, offer insider tips for managing this technology and discuss early best practice recommendations.

New features

1. Becoming Windows Azure SQL Database

While Microsoft's database in the cloud, formerly known as SQL Azure, is not new, it continues to change and add new features. Now known as Windows Azure SQL Database, this evolving technology offers a scaling service called SQL Azure Federations. The articles in this section discuss the pros and cons of Windows Azure SQL Database and offer tips on how to get the most out of the services it offers.

Migration and management

2. Tips for migrating to and managing SQL Azure

Migrating to SQL Azure and maintaining security are relatively easy. Most IT departments can manage its many functions while enhancing business intelligence by taking advantage of tips and tools available. These stories offer advice for better migration and management, as well as workarounds that address limitations in earlier incarnations of SQL Azure.

Azure SQL early on

3. Exploring SQL Azure capabilities and development

Windows Azure SQL Database began as a basic cloud database technology, and many developers found that several familiar aspects of SQL Server development did not work with Azure in its first version. The articles in this section look at SQL Azure features such as Data Sync and SQL Azure Migration Wizard, offering perspectives from early users of this technology.

Glossary

4. Glossary of SQL Azure terms

Review these definitions to enhance your understanding of SQL Azure.

Quiz

5. SQL Azure Quiz

How well do you know Windows Azure SQL Database? Take this brief quiz and test your knowledge.

Take the quiz!