Blog Post

Azure for Prototyping and Development



Developers. Man, have I got something good for you.

Are your DBAs slowing down your development processes? Are they keeping you from flying down the track? Bypass them.

Let’s assume you’re working in the Microsoft stack. Let’s further assume you have an MSDN license. Guess what? That gives you access to Azure… hang on, come here. You want to hear this. Let me tell you a quick story. See, I’m not a developer (not anymore). I’m a DBA. Wait, wait, wait. I’m on your side. It’s cool. I’m just like you guys, but in a different direction.

See, I had a database designed and already up as a Windows Azure SQL Database. I’m working with a number of Boy Scouts on their Eagle projects. They’re going around to all the cemeteries in town, identifying the veterans graves and then gathering all the information from the grave stones and marking the locations both physically by row and position as well as by latitude and longitude. Great projects. Now, here am I, a data pro, database ready to go, but I’m stuck on the front-end. I was trying to find volunteers to help me out, build a quick front-end, so we can do some basic data entry and reporting. Your bread & butter, but not mine. I couldn’t find anyone willing and able to help out.

Then, a good friend pointed me at LightSwitch (thank you Christina Leo (b|t)). I pointed that at my existing data structure, adjusted a few properties, experimented with the screens a little and BAM! I’ve got an interface that’s working. But, I still need to get it to multiple Boy Scouts, running on different versions of Windows (one poor kid was still on XP) as well as the project sponsors and ultimately anyone who wanted to look up where umpty-great grandpa who fought in the GAR was buried. A little poking around in LightSwitch within Visual Studio and I spot “Publish to Web Site.” Ahhh. No worries. I follow the prompts, download the appropriate certificates and suddenly, there it is, everything I needed, up and running.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. So. You do this stuff in your sleep. But understand two things. I set up a publicly accessible, modern(ish) web site, with database and an application front-end, and no “help” from any IT infrastructure (except Christina), developers, DBAs, QA people, anything. That’s one. The second, I had this running within about 20 minutes. 20 minutes!

We’re still working on details, ironing out some of the behaviors & stuff, we’re in a continuous development/deployment cycle, but overall, the Scouts are happy, the project sponsors are happy, and I’m happy. All on our own and quick.

Yeah, I see that light in your eye. Maybe this won’t be a final production server for you, but you can sure get some development done quick, am I right? Sure I am.


Data pros. Nervous? Well you should be. Your developers are going to hear this message and it’s going to resonate. Rightly so. They’re going to be out developing on Azure and there’s precious little you can do about it. Some of what they develop will come back in-house, guaranteed. Some will get tossed. It’s development. But some… some is going to end up being production. Ready to support a Windows Azure SQL Database? Ready to have some data out on Azure and some on your local servers? Ready to support failover to the cloud? No? Well, let me help you out. I’m putting on an all day seminar at the PASS Summit this year called Thriving as a DBA in the World of Cloud and On-Premises Data. Get registered and get in front of and be prepared for what is absolutely coming your way.



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