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SQL Guides Microsoft SQL Azure Is A Cloud-based SQL Database Service From Microsoft.
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On January 1, 2010, a fresh new Microsoft SQL technology was released. Perhaps it would be more accurate to state that a rebranded Microsoft technology has just entered the market. Microsoft's most important foray into cloud computing is Azure services. It works as a complete cloud platform, combining computation, storage, and fabric to connect different systems into a unified network that can balance processing load and share resources.

What exactly is SQL Azure?

The most important aspect for this review is how Azure interacts with SQL. This service was previously known as SQL Server Data Services, then SQL Services, until being renamed SQL Azure lately. The name change is simply another step in the direction of cloud computing, which SQL Server has already taken.

SQL Azure, like Amazon S3 and many Google Apps, offers "cloud" data storage. SQL Azure has the advantage of allowing relational queries to be run on data stored in the cloud, regardless of whether the documents are structured, semi-structured, or unstructured. Users can search, analyze, and synchronize SQL data stored by Azure in addition to conducting data queries.

After your data is uploaded to SQL Azure, applications can use the Internet to conduct direct queries to the data in the cloud. This works for both local and cloud-based applications (such as those that operate on Microsoft's Azure computing services). Provisioning and synchronization between local SQL servers and the SQL Azure database should be easy. Microsoft also ensures great failure tolerance by making numerous copies of your data available.


Why Should You Use SQL Azure?

The biggest benefit of SQL Azure, according to Microsoft, is that it requires less maintenance. The service eliminates the need for you to store and administer SQL databases on your own computer. Administrators shouldn't have to install database software or deal about server setup, patching, or management in theory. Servers, disaster recovery, and high availability do not require any hardware. Because physical maintenance and administration are unneeded, businesses may be able to reduce their staffing costs as well. If you're having trouble maintaining database servers, this could be a wonderful solution.

Another benefit is the ease with which it may be scaled. If you need to raise or decrease the size of your database, Microsoft can help you with that as well. One of the key differences between SQL Azure and other hosting services is that data storage is dispersed over numerous servers, and you only pay for the storage you utilize. SQL Azure can be used to supplement current database hardware. If you anticipate a quick spike in data needs, or if you want to be ready in case one occurs unexpectedly, Azure can be used temporarily, but you can switch back to local or alternative storage once the need has passed.

Another benefit of scalability is that it gives a functional yet cost-effective database solution for small and medium-sized organizations.

Microsoft also expects Azure services will make it easier for independent software developers to sell their work as a service (SaaS). Azure services can fulfill all of the compute requirements for this architecture, but SQL Azure would, of course, meet the database requirements. Because Microsoft is in charge of data storage, this might potentially make data security easier. SQL Azure might be used in the same way by Line of Business (LOB) apps built on Azure computing services.

One final benefit of cloud computing, like with any type of cloud computing, is that the information is accessible from any application or query that is linked to the Internet. However, transferring SQL databases to the cloud has the added benefit of consolidating data (such as databases in many departments of a large corporation) and better integrating information. This should make it possible to run more complicated searches that span several database tables.

When all of these factors are considered, the basic advantage is scale: the cost of allowing Microsoft to handle SQL should be significantly lower than the overall cost of hardware, software, and maintenance (TCO).


The devil is in the details

Now for the meat of the matter. Most things remain the same in terms of programming model modifications, albeit a few aspects will be different. The main distinction is that relational data has taken the role of entity-based data and the ACE programming model. T-SQL is still the code for accessing data, albeit developers will have to make a few tweaks to connect with the fully relational database service. Most data-access frameworks, such as ADO.NET Data Services, can be used with only little modifications. The data is transferred using an XML-based format, the query language is T-SQL, and the internet access protocol is Tabular Data Stream.

What distinguishes SQL Azure from SQL Server? Azure is a service that runs on top of SQL Server. SQL Azure, on the other hand, offers new relational data functions to the cloud. The most significant distinction is, as previously noted, ease of use, simplicity, and accessibility from anywhere. The CTP can be downloaded for free from Microsoft's website, but hurry. At the end of January, some goods will no longer be available for free. In the previous few months, Microsoft has made considerable changes to the program, and each of the production versions differs significantly.

What about the cost? Microsoft charges $9.99 per month for 1 GB of relational database space, $99.99 per month for up to 10 GB, and 10 cents per BG for data transport. There are also a few options: pay as you go with no monthly commitment or cost, or commit to 6 months with a basic fee to obtain better prices.

It should come as no surprise that Microsoft's new Azure offerings demonstrate the company's commitment to the future of cloud computing. SQL Azure is a key component of this advancement, and it offers excellent support for web 2.0 apps. Small and medium-sized organizations and independent software developers who require cost-effective storage and computing would most likely gain the most. Getting into the market first is a sensible approach if Microsoft's prediction about future computing is correct (which it most likely is). It remains to be seen whether SQL Azure can maintain its position as the finest cloud SQL database solution.

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