Crash course in Microsoft Azure SQL Database

 Jul 24, 2014

Microsoft Azure SQL Database (formerly known as SQL Azure) is an easy to provision and manage cloud-based database management solution based on SQL Server technologies. Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) relational database service based on SQL Server. SQL Database provides a familiar relational database storage solution that implements many of the fundamental capabilities of SQL Server, including tables, views, stored procedures, and other database objects. The goal of SQL Database is to enable rapid provisioning of databases that scale to meet the needs of a business while removing the need to manage the operating system and hardware. This enables administrators to focus primarily on the logical management of the database platform. From the perspective of the SQL Server query writer, SQL Database operates much like a traditional SQL Server instance. You can write SELECT queries against tables and views, and invoke functions and stored procedures against databases hosted in SQL Database just as you would in your local SQL Server. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the model behind the Azure platform. Once we’re across this, I’ll publish another post to set up your own account, provision a server, and create databases. There is a relationship between three core objects in SQL Database: the subscription, the server, and the database. The following table describes these objects:

Introduction to Microsoft Azure SQL Database

One of the goals of SQL Database is the abstraction of logical database administration from physical administration. In SQL Database, Microsoft manages the physical hardware and storage. Your organisation’s administrators still need to manage security, implement databases, and create database objects such as tables, views, and indexes. However, there are some key distinctions between how some of these tasks are performed in a SQL Database environment and how they are performed in SQL Server. The following table summarises these differences:

Introduction to Microsoft Azure SQL Database

In addition to the differences outlined above, you cannot switch database context from one user database to another; the USE statement is not supported in SQL Database. Furthermore, SQL Database does not support all of the SQL Server database engine features. For example, SQL Database does not support multi-database and multi-server capabilities. For information on the Transact-SQL statements that are supported in SQL Database, see the Transact-SQL Support (Microsoft Azure SQL Database) webpage here. So there you have it, a quick run through of Microsoft Azure SQL Database. Remember to stay tuned for my next blog post about setting up your own account, provisioning a server, and creating databases.

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About the Author:

Adam Keats  

With over 25 years of real-world IT experience Adam is one of New Horizons’ most senior Database and Software Development trainers. Starting out as a physics teacher Adam displayed exceptional mathematical and technical capabilities early on in his career. He went on to work in a variety of programming and technical management roles within several government agencies including the Department of Defence and Maritime Patrol. In 1998 Adam found his true calling, gaining MCT status and thus beginning his technical training career specialising in SQL Server administration, development, BI, and .NET development. Since then he has worked for several training organisations and found a home at New Horizons where he is now our resident Database and Development specialist. Throughout his tenure at New Horizons, Adam has assisted over 500 students in their endeavours to improve their skills, knowledge, and to achieve industry certifications.