Day 8 - Windows Azure Platform - SQL Azure Data Sync

by Kev Ritchie 8. December 2010 00:12


On the 8th day of Windows Azure Platform Christmas my true love gave to me SQL Azure Data Sync.

What is SQL Azure Data Sync?

SQL Azure Data Sync (current release, CTP 1) is the technology; built using the robust Sync Framework, that allows you to synchronise your SQL Azure databases to other SQL Azure databases within the same data centre or to multiple data centres around the world!

You can access CTP 1 here

So, let’s say you have a web application that is used all around the world and you need to provide your users with high performance; this should always be the case Wink.  Well first, you would make sure that your application is running in Microsoft Data Centres close to the originating source (for example you may have your application hosted in one data centre in Europe and one in North America), but to make sure that the data your users are seeing is correct and up to date, you need Data Sync!  This was what it was built for.

Data Sync also gives you the ability to schedule the transfer of data between your databases, so you don’t need to control it manually.

Also, coming soon is CTP 2 (, which you’ll need to register for.

A nice feature; coming in CTP 2 of Data Sync and one that I think will be used a lot, is Data Sync is not just restricted to synchronising data between SQL Azure Databases; you can also synchronise data to on-premise SQL Server databases.  This is very beneficial if you are required to keep on-premise backups of your databases for security and resilience/disaster recovery purposes.

What you get when you use SQL Azure Data Sync is a reliable, efficient way of synchronising your data, without having to write a single piece of Sync code.  So, put Visual Studio down Smile

Tomorrow’s installment: Windows Azure AppFabric - Service Bus

P.S. If you have any questions, corrections or suggestions to make please let me know.

Day 7 - Windows Azure Platform - SQL Azure Reporting

by Kev Ritchie 7. December 2010 00:00


On the 7th day of Windows Azure Platform Christmas my true love gave to me SQL Azure Reporting.

Well, not quite yet Wink SQL Azure Reporting isn’t available commercially, but you can register to be invited to the CTP Enjoy!

But what is SQL Azure Reporting?

SQL Azure Reporting is the Cloud-based version of SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and provides almost all the same features that you’re used to; with the exception of scheduled delivery, subscriptions and developer extensibility, but it does however, provide a central, highly available, fault tolerant reporting system to you and your customers.

So, what are the key benefits to you?

Well, first and foremost, less work and cost Smile.  The infrastructure for delivering your reports is all ready there, which allows you to just get on and create the reports you need.

For all you security bods out there, SQL Azure Reporting includes a rich authentication/authorisation model which gives you reliable and secure access to your reports and the underlying data of the reports.  So there’s no need to worry what’s happening when you let your reports fly into the ether.

That’s all great, but I missed one point.  Any reports you create and upload to SQL Azure Reporting can be directly accessed within your Windows Azure or on-site application, through your favourite browser (in my case IE9 beta) or through the SQL Azure portal.  Brilliant, hardly any work for you; well if you don’t include building the report and an application that accesses your reports Wink

So with a small investment in the building or even migrating of your reports to SQL Azure Reporting, you get an infrastructure that opens the way for you to deliver your reports robustly and securely to your customers or even the world!

Tomorrow installment: SQL Azure – Data Sync 

P.S. If you have any questions, corrections or suggestions to make please let me know.

Day 6 - Windows Azure Platform - SQL Azure Database

by Kev Ritchie 6. December 2010 00:05


On the 6th day of Windows Azure Platform Christmas my true love gave to me the SQL Azure Database.

What is the SQL Azure Database?

The SQL Azure Database is a Windows Azure platform relational database system based on SQL Server technology and because of this provides a very familiar development model.  So; as developers, you can still use familiar connection protocols like; ADO.NET, ODBC and the Entity Framework to name a few.

You can also use the standard SQL tools that you’re used to like Management Studio, Integration Services, Analysis Services and BCP.  So, if you want to manage or move an existing database in the Cloud, it should be very simple.

But that’s not the only benefit of using a Cloud-based relational database system, there are more.

Let’s imagine that your server suddenly comes under some heavy workload; not to worry.  SQL Azure replicates multiple redundant copies of your data to multiple physical servers to maintain data availability. But what if my server fails?  Simple; SQL Azure provides automatic failover.  All this without you having to manage a single thing Smile

You can also scale up and scale down the service as your data grows or reduces and with the use of a “pay-as-you-grow” pricing model, this makes sure that you only pay for what you store.

I’ve only touched on a few benefits here, but what I wanted to show was the familiarity and ease with which you can store, manage and access data in the Cloud.

Tomorrow installment: SQL Azure - Reporting

P.S. If you have any questions, corrections or suggestions to make please let me know.

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