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Showing posts from May, 2015

Microsoft Azure SQL Databases – Power and Performance

By David Postlethwaite
On the Database Scale page we can decide on the performance level that we want our database to have.
There are three performance levels Basic, Standard and Premium
Basic is best suited for a small size database, supporting one single operation at a time such as for development or testing, or small scale infrequently used applications.Standard is the best option for most cloud applications, supporting multiple concurrent queries such as workgroup or web applications.Premium is designed for high transactional volume, supporting a large number of concurrent users and requiring the highest level of business continuity such as mission critical applications.
There used to be two types called Web and Business they have now been retired but you’ll still find them mentioned in the documentation and it is still possible through SSMS to create a web level database. (Upgrade SSMS 2014 to CU5 to get the latest) They are due to be removed in September 2015.
Unlike your traditi…

Microsoft Azure SQL Database – Dashboard

By David PostlethwaiteOnce you have created your database you can now start to manage and configure it. There are six menus for a SQL Azure Database: - Dashboard Monitor Scale Configure GEO-Replication Auditing and SecurityThe DashboardThe Dashboard gives an overview of the state of your Azure database. The most useful section is down the right hand side under “Quick Glance” where you can find your connections strings, manage the IP security, server name, status, collation and edition.Microsoft Azure SQL Databases – MonitoringThe Database monitor screen allows us to see the performance of your database. There are various indicators that you can manage. By default there are four metrics:- deadlocks, failed and successful connections and storage size but  we can add more metrics from the Add Metrics button on  the grey bar at the bottom.We can also add alerts to warn us when these metrics go over a certain threshold

Creating an Azure SQL Database

By David PostlethwaiteOnce you have logged in to the Azure Management Portal you can start to  create an Azure SQL Database.
Azure SQL Database is an example of Platform as a Service (PaaS), we don’t have to build a Windows server or install the SQL software or configure the SQL instance. We don’t have to worry about software upgrades or the disc configuration Microsoft have done all of that for us. Azure simply provides us with a platform where we can place our data.Once we have created a database we can connect to it from our pc using SQL Server Management Studio or connect our applications to the database by using ADO or ODBC. From the management console click on the database icon    on the left hand side of the screen then select +New from the grey section at the bottom.We have the option of quick create, custom create or import.
Quick Create just asks for a database name and a server put it on and it then creates a standard database. You can then configure the size and performance …

Getting Started with Microsoft Azure

By David PostlethwaiteThe URL for Microsoft Azure is http://azure.microsoft.com.Make sure you have an up to date browser because parts of this web site don’t work properly with Internet Explorer 8.The web site is full of articles, blogs and videos on Azure to help you get started and also plenty of Free Trial links to encourage you to have a go. You will require a Microsoft Live account to use Microsoft Azure, if you have an MSDN subscription then you have between €45and €100 per month credit on Azure for development and testing.If you use all your credit your service will be disabled for that month (as I have found out) or you can opt to pay for the extra usage.
If you don’t have an MSDN account you can create a trial account, which does require a credit card number for ID purposes, which you can try for a month.
Microsoft says they won’t take any money at the end of the trial they will just disable your services unless you choose to start paying.
(There is a new interface at https://p…

Putting Your Head in the Clouds - Microsoft Azure

By David Postlethwaite
Microsoft Azure
Let’s take a look at the Microsoft Cloud offering. Originally called Windows Azure it was renamed in March 2014 to Microsoft Azure to reflect Microsoft now offering more than just Windows. At the time of writing Azure is available in 141 countries, including China, and supports 10 languages and 19 currencies. Microsoft has divided the world into regions.  There are currently 17 regions with more due to come online in India, Germany and South Korea soon.

(The more observant will notice there aren’t 17 blobs on this image. Microsoft don’t show the two Chinese data centres)
There are currently two regions in Europe.
North Europe in Dublin, Ireland
West Europe in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (even though Dublin is further west than Amsterdam)
There are plans to build new data centres in Germany but no date has been published yet. Germany has much more stringent data protection laws than the rest of Europe which will make it more difficult for the NS…

Putting Your Head in the Clouds 3 – Cloud Service Offerings

By David Postlethwaite
Cloud Service Models There are three main service models in the cloud. You will see these buzz words being used a lot in cloud discussions:
IaaS   - Infrastructure as a ServicePaaS  Platform as a ServiceSaaS  Software as a Service To get a better understanding what these mean take a look at this diagram which shows the typical layers of an IT Solution
Starting from network to application

IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service Think of Infrastructure as a Service as Hardware to Rent. Instead of purchasing network equipment, storage space or servers you use the cloud provider’s infrastructure.
This means the cloud provider owns and maintains the housing, running and maintaining of all the hardware, not you. You will need to install the operating system and database software but you don’t have to worry about maintaining the hardware. And the cloud provider will have mechanisms in place to ensure that your hardware continues to work in the event of a failure
PaaS - Platf…

Putting Your Head in the Clouds 2 –Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Solutions

By David PostlethwaiteIf you are thinking about using Cloud Computing then it’s worth considering the pros and cons. Advantages of the Cloud
Why would you want to use the cloud? Quick Setup
You can provision a fully functioning database server in just a few minutes whereas on your premises it can take weeks to order hardware then build and connect a new server. Scalability
With the cloud, you have access to unlimited capacity.
You can increase the power and size of your server in times of high demand and then reduce it when demand drops.
The classic example, often quoted, is that of a ticket agency. For most of the year traffic is fairly steady but when tickets for a major artist go on sale then demand ramps up for a few days. With a cloud service, you can simply increase the power and size of your systems for those few days then when sales are complete drop the power back down. And you only pay for that extra capacity whilst you are using it.
If this was all in your own data centre yo…

Putting Your Head in the Clouds 1 – An introduction to Cloud Computing

By David Postlethwaite
Although the concept of Cloud Computing and Microsoft Azure have been around for a number of years it is only relatively recently  that it has matured to the point where it is no longer just an interesting curiosity but a serious contender as a business solution.
Microsoft claim that 80% for fortune 500 companies are now using the cloud and that Microsoft Azure has more than a million servers with about 10 trillion objects hosted in its data centres. My company has started to look at the potential of the Cloud and I have spent quite a lot of time recently understanding and investigating Microsoft Azure as a solution for a small project.In February I presented some of what I’ve learned at SQL Saturday in Vienna which went down pretty well with those who came to listen. One attendee told me he had used my slides as the basis for recommending his company take a closer look The one thing I have found out is that it is changing almost weekly. New features are being …

SQL Server 2016 Preview...Coming this Summer

It was announced yesterday at the Ignite conference that we’ll be getting a summer preview of SQL Server 2016. With it being a bank holiday in the UK … I missed it yesterday
You can read the blog post here http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2015/05/04/sql-server-2016-public-preview-coming-this-summer.aspx
Some the new features announced include : Always Encrypted Stretch Database Real Time Operational Analytics and In Memory OLTP
You can follow the preview release notes and details here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server-2016/?WT.mc_id=Blog_SQL_Announce_DI