New and Updated SQL Azure Labs Available

We just shipped a whole batch of new SQL Azure content in the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit – October Release and also in the SQL Server 2012 Developer Training Kit.  Here’s a quick summary of what’s new from a SQL Azure Perspective.

New Lab: SQL Azure Data-tier Applications

SQL Azure Database supports a variety of mechanisms for deploying, versioning and migrating databases. You can use the traditional Transact-SQL script based approach to create your database objects, then populate your data either using scripts, BCP or SQL Server Integration Services. Schema upgrade scripts tend to be either hand coded or generated using additional tools. This approach is well known by SQL Server developers, but can be tedious for developers who are new to SQL Azure, especially when dealing with the complexities associated with database schema versioning.

Microsoft is addressing this complexity with a new framework called the Data-tier Application Framework, or DAC Fx, which makes it much easier to deploy, migrate and version your database schemas for SQL Server and SQL Azure. DAC Fx shipped initially with SQL Server 2008 R2, and support was soon added for SQL Azure. Since then, DAC Fx has evolved significantly and is an important part of the developer and manageability story for SQL Azure. It is being integrated into developer tools like the SQL Server Data Tools, management tools like SQL Server 2012 Management Studio, and as a service accessible from the Windows Azure Management Portal.


In this hands-on lab, you will learn how to:

  • Create a new SQL Server project using SQL Server Developer Tools Codename “Juneau” CTP3 (known as SSDT) to target SQL Azure.
  • Publish a Data-tier Application to SQL Azure using SSDT.
  • Export a .bacpac file into a blob storage container, using the Import/Export Service from the Azure Management Portal.
  • Upgrade the exported .bacpac file and update the SQL Azure database.
Updated Lab: Build Your First Report With SQL Azure Reporting

Microsoft SQL Azure Reporting provides a complete, cloud-based platform designed to support a wide variety of reporting needs enabling organizations to deliver relevant information where needed across the entire enterprise. Now developers can deliver highly visual, interactive reports as an integrated part of a Windows Azure-based solution. There’s no need to install your own Reporting Services instance or apply software updates, because SQL Azure Reporting runs as a highly available cloud service. Best of all, SQL Azure Reporting is based on SQL Server Reporting Services, so you can build reports using the same familiar tools that can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud.


In this hands-on lab, you will learn how to:

  • Create a SQL Azure data source and data set for a report.
  • Add a table to a report.
  • Work with report item properties to customize the report appearance.
  • Add expressions to calculate values to be display in the report.
  • Deploy the report in SQL Azure Report Server.
  • Embed the SQL Azure report using the ReportViewer control.
New Lab: SQL Azure Data Sync

The SQL Azure Data Sync is a cloud-based data synchronization service, which provides uni-directional and bi-directional data sync, allowing data to be easily shared between SQL Azure and on-premises SQL Server databases as well as between multiple SQL Azure databases, within the same or different data centers. The SQL Azure Data Sync Previews can be accessed directly from the Windows Azure Management Portal.

In this Lab, you will synchronize two databases, a SQL Azure database against an on-premise SQL Server database, changing the sync settings available in a Sync Group.


In this hands-on lab, you will learn how to:

  • Provision a SQL Azure Data Sync Server
  • Create a Sync Group Topology with a SQL Azure Database, a SQL Azure Sync Hub and an on-premise SQL Server database.
New Lab: SQL Azure Federations

One of the key value propositions of the Windows Azure Platform is the ability to achieve elastic scale by adapting dynamically to changes in demand. A single SQL Azure Database has limited capacity in terms of size and transactional throughput. To add more capacity you must partition your data across multiple SQL Azure databases. To release capacity, you must consolidate multiple SQL Azure databases into one. This approach is known as database sharding. SQL Azure Federations (currently in CTP) is an integrated capability of SQL Azure Database that dramatically simplifies database sharding implementations.


In this Hands-On Lab, you will learn how to:

  • Add federations to a database and spit them into different federation members.
  • Query & Perform CRUD operations over federated tables using ADO.NET.
  • Query & Perform CRUD operations over federated tables using the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
New Demo: Provisioning SQL Azure Servers using Cmdlets

SQL Azure Database is SQL Server database technology delivered as a service on the Windows Azure Platform, and is ideal for developers targeting Windows Azure who need database functionality as part of their application. Provisioning a new SQL Azure server is fast and easy, and can be done interactively using the Windows Azure Management Portal. You can also automate server provisioning using the Management REST API, or using the Windows Azure Platform Powershell cmdlets. Once your server is provisioned, you can connect to it using standard tools and technologies like ASP.NET, java and PHP. There is no need to install and maintain server hardware, software and storage, or worry about high availability or disaster recovery, these capabilities are all managed for you as part of the service. This means you can focus on building great solutions instead of maintaining infrastructure.


In this demo you will see several key features and tools:

  • Windows Azure Command Lets 2.0
  • SQL Azure Logical Servers
  • Firewall Rules in SQL Azure
Comments (2)
  1. Paras Doshi says:

    For a moment, i confused it with – Not anymore. Thanks for the post!

  2. Roger Doherty says:

    @Paras: good point, I should have entitled the blog post "Hands-On Labs".

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content