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SQL Azure Database is Always Updating

2014/06/27

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

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“As of this presentation” or “As of this writing” are words you get used to saying if you talk about Azure SQL Database. For Example – as of this writing the version of Azure SQL database is

Microsoft SQL Azure (RTM) – 11.0.9214.51  Jun 16 2014 21:09:51  Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation

I gave the lightning talk this blog series is based on a few hours before that update. I know this because I checked the version before I got up and talked in front of a live studio audience. I’m not 100% sure what was released with version 11.0.9214.51, but I was glad I didn’t have to figure it out a few minutes before my presentation.

Presenting on Azure SQL Database is always exciting. I presented at SQL Saturday Madison back in March on Federations in Windows Azure SQL Database. Except less than a week before I had to through all my slides and change everything to Microsoft Azure SQL Database (and this isn’t the first time the product has changed names, when it was originally available it was called SQL Azure). I gave the same presentation again in Chicago a month later and this time the thing I had to change was my entire presentation. In April when they announced the new pricing and performance editions they also included this piece of information.

Based on customer feedback and our best practices working with customers, Microsoft has determined Federations in its current implementation does not sufficiently meet the dynamic and high-end scale out needs of customers.

It was announced 5 days before my presentation and it was a busy week for me so I didn’t notice until two days before. Things worked out in the end because after sending out a slightly snarky tweet I was contacted by Microsoft and I now have a better perspective on where they are headed with this use case. I hope to blog more about that some day when it becomes bloggable.

All of this change is not a bad thing. The value for Microsoft in being able to change the product quickly is that they can react to what the market wants/needs faster than the traditional software release cycle. The value for developers is that you get the latest and greatest features and security patches as soon as they are available. None of that pesky testing required in your development sandbox to make sure nothing breaks.

You get some features before they are even announced. I know that right now (or at least as of this writing) Extended Events and Page/Row Compression are available in SQL Database, but there has been no official word so I wouldn’t recommend making them part of your solution yet.

If you are a small shop doing web development not having to worry about patching your SQL Server is probably pretty attractive. Like most things with SQL Database it isn’t meant for a DBA, but it is something the DBA will need to be aware of when things start to scale.

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