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Azure SQL Database Isn’t Meant for DBAs


[This is part One of a series on Top 10 Things You Will Hate About Azure SQL Database]Top101

A couple of years ago I started looking into Azure SQL Database because I wanted to dip a toe into the Azure cloud and as a SQL Server professional Azure SQL Database seemed like a good place to start. I suppose I could have started with Azure Virtual Machines running SQL Server, but that didn’t seem any different from the virtual machines across town that I was already using to run SQL Server.

I pretty much ignored all of the other Azure offerings (virtual machines, storage, websites, etc.) and just focused on learning all I could about SQL Database. I logged into the portal clicked on SQL Databases and created my first database. Then I created my first firewall rule and connected to Azure from SQL Server Management Studio. Very cool, I was in the cloud and it was familiar territory. I continued learning and at some point I got a hold of a copy of the book, Pro SQL Database for Windows Azure by Scott Klein and Herve Roggero. I read through the book and something finally clicked for me about SQL Database – it isn’t meant for DBAs, its meant for developers. Even the description of the book on Apress’s website says it better than I can. Just replace “Who this book is for” with “Who SQL Database is for.”

Who this book is for

Pro SQL Database for Windows Azure, 2nd Edition is aimed at developers and database administrators desiring instant access to a fully-capable SQL Server database environment without the pain of sorting out and managing the physical infrastructure.

While I might quibble over “fully-capable,” it does make my point. While reading the book I could tell the idea of SQL Database, a database as a platform, was not for a hardcore NUMA aligning, IOPs testing, SQL Server DBA. It isn’t meant for people who like the “pain of sorting out and managing the physical infrastructure.” SQL Database is a part of the Microsoft Azure platform created for developers to easily create a web site with a relational database. There is even a one-click option on the Azure Portal to create a website with a SQL Database.


Enjoy secure and flexible development, deployment, and scaling options for your web app plus a SQL Database.



SQL Database is meant to give a low cost of entry (both in money and resources) to developers wanting a relational database for their web application. It makes it great for rapid development and prototyping. Does this mean that the same issues we deal with as DBAs won’t eventually come into play (performance, scaling, security)? No, but it does mean that we are no longer a bottleneck for developers wanting to get things done. And while it is annoying to admit – this isn’t all bad. Also, if Microsoft does this correctly, and so far they are doing a decent job in my opinion, many of the issues we worry about as DBAs become less of a concern (Infrastructure, licensing, availability, disaster recovery). Or at least the baseline for these issues will be covered and when things start to get more complicated they will bring in the DBA.

The alternate title for this list item was SQL Database is Not SQL Server, but that wasn’t entirely the point I wanted to make. SQL Database looks a lot like SQL Server so I thought I could treat it like SQL Server and that of course led to some frustration. Once I starting thinking about SQL Database as a different tool created for a different purpose I stopped hating it so much.


From → SQL Server

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