Introduction to SQL Azure

Since the SQL Azure database services are in the cloud, you do not have to worry about high availability and scalability. SQL Azure will maintain a “Monthly Availability” of 99.9% during a calendar month. For example, you or your network administrators do not have to spend time on high availability which is taken care by the services. Also, you don’t have to worry about security patches and service packs which will be installed by the service provider.

Using SQL Azure

SQL Azure is still in CTP , the SQL Azure Database CTP is available for free and you can register below to receive an invitation. Due to high demand for the SQL Azure Database CTP, there may be some delays in receiving your invitation codes.

Editions & Pricing

There are two editions for SQL Azure, namely Web and Business. While self-managed DB and auto high-availability features are supported in both editions, there are few differences between them.

Main difference is the storage, as the Web edition supports only 1 GB of database storage space and the Business edition supports 10GB. In case you need to store more that 10GB of data, you will have to break the databases into small sizes. Apart from basic T-SQL facilities, there will additional features like auto-partition and CLR in the business edition. However, these features are not yet available in CTP.

Upon the availability of production ready SQL Azure, the fee will be as below:

•Web Edition: Up to 1 GB relational database = $9.99 / month

•Business Edition: Up to 10 GB relational database = $99.99 / month

•Bandwidth = $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB


Using SQL Azure Databases

As there are no options in the web interface to create tables or databases, you will need to use other tools for creating and designing Azure based databases:


SQLcmd is supported on SQL Azure and you can connect to an Azure database using the below command.

C:>sqlcmd -U <User> -P <PPassword> -S <ServerName> -d master


Management Studio

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is the most frequently used tool to connect to SQL Server databases. However, when connecting to SQL Azure there several additional steps you need to follow.


1.       Open SSMS

2.       Cancel out of the first connection dialog that pops up and click on the New Query button from the toolbar. If you enter credentials without performing this step the following error will appear: (Microsoft is working on this issue).


3.       When you are prompted to connect to a database, cancel that dialog.

4.       You should be left with an empty management console. Click New Query.

5.       For the server name, take the fully qualified host name from your SQL Azure connection string. It should look something like

6.       Choose SQL Server Authentication as SQL Azure does not support Windows Authentication. Supply the username and password that you used for your database.

7.       Click on the Options button on the bottom right of the dialog box

8.       Set the database name, manually, to the name of your database. It will not show up in the drop-down list. Please note that in case you need to connect other databases, you have to connect again.

9.       Make sure the server type is set to the database engine.

10.   Click Connect.

For SQL Azure SSMS does to show the objects in the Object Explorer and you will need to write T-SQL for all your needs.

Visual Studio

You can view the connection strings for the relevant databases by clicking the Connection String button.

Using above connection strings, you can connect to SQL Azure from Visual Studio.


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