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Webcast Follow-Up: Getting Started with Windows Azure and SQL Databases

WebcamLate last month, I delivered a webcast for Pragmatic Works Training on the T’s.  The session was titled Getting Started with Windows Azure and SQL Databases.  In the session, I how data platform professionals can start looking at Microsoft Azure and some of the services and their benefits that are available.

The abstract for the sessions is:

The Microsoft Windows Azure platform provides service-based offerings for your data needs. These include services from file storage to SQL databases that are scalable to your specific needs. Regardless of the size of your data platform, Windows Azure has options that fit to your business needs. In this session, we’ll discuss the Windows Azure platform and discuss how the SQL Database and other services enhance and extend your data platform. By session end, you’ll understand how Windows Azure is able to fit into your environment and be ready to start using Windows Azure.

Webcast Recording & Materials

If you missed the webcast, you’ll can watch the recording here.  For those that want to download the slide deck, you can click the following link – .

Also, if you just want to flip through the slide deck again, here you go.

Session Q&A

Q: Can you run a SQL Server Agent job in Azure?

Yes, fire up a Virtual Machine with SQL Server installed and run the SQL Agent job from there.

Q: Does Azure Backup Block Blobs support de-dup?

Not currently, instead leverage compression during the SQL Server backup process.

Q: Does SQL Azure provide Sharding capabilities?

SQL Database, formerly SQL Azure, does support sharding.  Currently, though, sharding capabilites are driven by custom coding outside the database level.  More information here - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/dn495641.aspx

Q: Have you compared MS Azure to other hosted systems (Amazon, Google, ???)

Not with enough experience to comment on this now.

Q: How to open Windows Azure Tool for backups?

Download and install the tool from Microsoft, from there, it’ll be in your Start menu. - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40740

Q: How safe is SQL database? As you showed, it tracks and stores the various IPs from where users have accessed, the timestamps etc

SQL Database is as safe as any database that you have on-premise that uses SQL Logons, which is fairly high.  The IP list is the list that you’ve allowed for the database, which is higher security that most configure for their on-premise databases.

Q: In VM, whats the difference b/w Basic and Standard Tier?

The main difference that I’ve see is the IOP capabilities for disks that can be presented.  Basic is 300 IOPS, while Standard is 500 IOPS.

Q: What happens to my SQL databases, storage etc when my Windows Azure account is expired?

Great question, I haven’t run into this yet or done any research here.

Q: Can I install Linux, Oracle etc on a cloud based VM?

Yes, there are a number of templates already available that provide pre-installed Linux and Oracle.

Q: Why would I choose a same database server?

The same server would be useful if there is a need for cross database queries.  Or other dependencies.

Q: In Azure DB platform is eveything MPP or SMP. I am trying to understand whether we can subscribe something similar to PDW in cloud.

The design currently is SMP.  There is not an MPP offering (yet) through Microsoft Azure.

Q: Is the cost different between the Web and Business editions? Can a database me switched back and forth between editions?

Yes, the costs are different.  The tiers control performance and that performance is tied to costs.  You can change the tier for the database as the need arises.

Q: Starting with a 10 GB DB, can one increase it over time to a larger size?

Yes, you can grow and adjust tiers as is needed.

Q: Security: how does it works for AD/Wndows Auth vs SQL Auth?

For SQL Database (SaaS), you only have the capabilities for SQL Auth right now.  With Virtual Machines, if the Virtual Network has domain controllers, then both Windows Auth and SQL Auth can be leveraged.

Thanks for Attending

Thanks to those that attended the webcast.  If you have any questions on the webcast or suggestions for improvements, please leave a comment on this post.

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