SQL Azure: Automated Database Export (Archived Post)- Please use automated-backup built-into Azure SQL Database

Great news for SQL Azure, looks like the feedback’s been heard. In July’s scheduled updates we released some great updates to Windows Azure. One of the enhancements for SQL Azure include:

Support for Automated SQL Export and a New Premium Tier SQL Database option

One commonly requested feature we’ve heard has been the ability for customers to perform recurring, fully automated, exports of a SQL Database to a Storage account and we always landed up delivering this using custom toolset and SSIS, SSMS. Starting today this is now a built-in feature of Windows Azure.  You can now export transactional-consistent copies of your SQL Databases, in an automated recurring way, to a .bacpac file in a Storage account using any schedule you wish to define.

Here it is, and this is how it looks- “Spread the Word”


Also, along with the above option to export, we handed over a New Database Creation wizard as well from Exported DB’s- this is just insane, absolutely exciting-




Cost Impact

When an automated export is performed, Windows Azure will first do a full copy of your database to a temporary database prior to creating the .bacpac file. This is the only way to ensure that your export is transitionally consistent (this database copy is then automatically removed once the export has completed). As a result, you will be charged for this database copy on the day that you run the export. Since databases are charged by the day, if you were to export every day, you could in theory double your database costs.  If you run every week then it would be much less.

If your storage account is in a different region from the SQL Database, you will be charged for network bandwidth.  If your storage account is in the same region there are no bandwidth charges.  You’ll then be charged the standard Windows Azure Storage rate (which is priced in GB saved) for any .bacpac files you retain in your storage account.

Conditions to set up Automated Export

Note that in order to set up automated export, Windows Azure has to be allowed to access your database (using the server login name/password you configured in the automated export rule in the screen-shot above) . To enable this, go to the “Configure” tab for your database server and make sure the switch is set to “Yes”:



SQL Databases: Announcing New Premium Tier for Windows Azure SQL Databases

Today, we’re excited to announce the preview of a new Premium Tier for Windows Azure SQL Databases that delivers more predictable performance for business-critical applications.  The Premium Tier helps deliver more powerful and predictable performance for cloud applications by dedicating a fixed amount of reserved capacity for a database including its built-in secondary replicas. This capability will help you scale databases even better and with more isolation.

Reserved capacity is ideal for cloud-based applications with the following requirements:

  • High Peak Load – An application that requires a lot of CPU, Memory, or IO to complete its operations. For example, if a database operation is known to consume several CPU cores for an extended period of time, it is a candidate for using a Premium database.
  • Many Concurrent Requests – Some database applications service many concurrent requests. The normal Web and Business Editions in SQL Database have a limit of 180 concurrent requests. Applications requiring more connections should use a Premium database with an appropriate reservation size to handle the maximum number of needed requests.
  • Predictable Latency – Some applications need to guarantee a response from the database in minimal time. If a given stored procedure is called as part of a broader customer operation, there might be a requirement to return from that call in no more than 20 milliseconds 99% of the time. This kind of application will benefit from a Premium database to make sure that dedicated computing power is available.

To help you best assess the performance needs of your application and determine if your application might need reserved capacity, our Customer Advisory Team has put together detailed guidance. Read the Guidance for Windows Azure SQL Database premium whitepaper for tips on how to continually tune your application for optimal performance and how to know if your application might need reserved capacity. Additionally, our engineers have put together a whitepaper, Managing Premium Databases, on how to setup, use and manage your new premium database once you are accepted into the Premium preview and quota is approved.

Requesting an invitation to the reserved capacity preview requires two steps:

  1. Visit the Preview Features page to request access to the Premium preview program. Initial acceptance requires customers with active, paid Windows Azure subscriptions and account administrator responsibility.
  2. Once your subscription has been activated for the preview program, request a Premium database quota from either the server dashboard or server quickstart in the SQL Databases extension of the Windows Azure Management Portal.

For a closer look at signing up for the Premium preview, please review the short tutorial page, Sign up for Premium preview for Windows Azure SQL Database.  For more details on Premium for SQL Database pricing, please visit the Windows Azure SQL Database pricing page.

NOTE: There are some more changes to the Traffic manager which is now included in the Windows Azure Portal as well. Will write about it in next blog probably.

Happy times in the cloud !!!