SQL Azure – Let’s Get Started

SQL Azure

As you may know we’ve announced that Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Windows Azure, will have commercial availability as of the first day of the upcoming Professional Developer’s Conference in Los Angeles on November 17th, 2009.  In addition to data storage via Windows Azure, included in our offering will be SQL Azure.  I’ve been following the product team’s progress with SQL Azure for quite some time now, given my long-term interest in, and professional use of, SQL Server. 

In fact, just this week the product group announced on the the SQL Azure blog, that the current build is feature-complete for PDC09 now.  The product team’s most recent blog details features that have been added to the most current CTP, such as the ability to configure firewall (access) rules, support for bulk copy (mostly for initial data load-in), and more. I’ve been watching and waiting, eager to ask lots of detail questions of product group as we start our first phase of commercial availability.  Of course, the paramount questions are around security of your data in our cloud.  We have a large number of sessions at the upcoming PDC in Los Angels, which runs from November 17 to November 19.   The announced schedule to date already included 9 dedicated sessions on SQL Azure.  These sessions are being conducted by members of the SQL Azure product group team.

If you can’t attend the PDC and want to get started learning the capabilities of SQL Azure, then I recommend downloading the October 2009 Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.  It includes power point decks, demos, hands on labs and more.  Of course this kit will be updated to reflect changes in the product as we add features.  There will also be a good bit of SQL Azure coverage at the upcoming SQL Pass Summit in Seattle from November 2 to 5th.  In addition, there will be sessions at TechEd, Europe in Berlin from November 9th to 13th.

An interesting new development is the recent update to the SQL Azure management portal.  The CTP access URL is changing as of PDC (from https://ctpportal.database.windows.net to https://sql.azure.com) and the portal itself has been updated to reflect the newly-added features of SQL Azure.

Due to the level of interest in SQL Azure (including my own interest), I have decided to write a technical book about the topic.  Readers of this blog will get to preview partial chapters, as I plan to begin the writing in December.  I intend to write about topics thtat will have interest for developers, ITPros and architects.  These will include development of .NET and non .NET front-end solutions (i.e. PHP, Java) which use SQL Azure as a partial or entire storage solutions, also deployment and management considerations such as auditing and synchronization between cloud and local copies of data stores.  Of course there will be a strong emphasis on security implementation best practices throughout the book.

I am quite interested in your feedback if you have worked with any version of the SQL Azure CTP (beta).  Take a minute to drop me a mail via this blog to tell me what you’ve liked or not liked about your experience so far.

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