Create and Use Azure SQL Database – Part 2

Santosh Gaikwad

Santosh Gaikwad

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Azure SQL Database is a fully managed, relational database in the Azure cloud as platform-as-a-service offering. Microsoft handles all patching and updating of the SQL server and takes away all management of the underlying infrastructure.

If you want to know more about Azure SQL database please read article Azure SQL – Part 1

What are different offering of SQL Azure?

SQL Azure is offered with different pricing tiers, out of which main are Basic, Standard and Premium.

Basic tier is used for light workloads. This is good for small use, new projects, testing, development, or learning.

Standard  tier is used for most production online databases. The performance is more predictable than the basic tier.

Premium tier is more robust and performance is typically measured in seconds.

Following image shows the Features vs Pricing Tiers, as features differ across pricing tiers.

Performance per tier

Basic tier can handle 16,600 transactions per hour.
Standard tier can handle 2,570 transactions per minute.
Premium tier can handle 735 transactions per second. That translates to 2,645,000 per hour in basic tier terminology.

SQL Azure provides various database service options,  such as database transaction units (DTU’s), max database size, disaster recovery options, and backup retention period, instead of hardware (CPU/RAM/HD). 

What is DTU?

Database Transaction Unit (DTU) is a way to describe the relative performance level of a database. The database can be created using Basic, Standard, or Premium pricing tier.

DTUs are based on a blended measure of CPU, memory, reads, and writes.

If you want to know more about DTU’s, you can refer here.

What is Cost of SQL Azure?

As SQL Azure is a platform-as-a-service offering, you Pay as You Go.

But how much to pay per database? hmm answer is not straight forward. As SQL Azure provides different services, calculation of the exact pricing is difficult,  as all these offerings are used to calculate the pricing of database.

If you are really interested about the pricing of the database you can have a look at Azure SQL Database DTU Calculator .

How to Create SQL Azure Database?

You can create Azure SQL Database databases using the Azure portal, PowerShell, the Azure CLI, Transact-SQL, and the REST API.

1. Using ARM portal

This article is focusing on creating database using ARM Portal, steps are explained below.

2. Using PowerShell

PowerShell is used to create and manage Azure resources from the command line or in scripts. You can deploy Azure SQL database in an Azure resource group and in an Azure SQL Database logical server using PowerShell script.

You need to have Azure subscription, to create SQL Azure database, you can refer article to create free subscription.

if you want to try your hands on PowerShell scripts your can refer some samples here

3. Using REST APIs

Microsoft has provided Azure SQL Database REST APIs which enables you to  manage Azure SQL Database servers, databases, elastic database pools, elastic databases, server firewall rules etc.

There is some documentation and samples provided by Microsoft here

Create Database from Azure Portal

To create database using ARM portal, login to the portal and navigate to NEW menu as shown below.

New -> Database -> SQL Database -> provide the required details.

Once you click on create button, SQL Server and SQL Database gets created. You can see server and database in all resources section.

How to use SQL Azure Database?

Once you create database in SQL Azure, there are multiple ways to consume or use that database.

1. Using SQL Server Management Studio

You need to install appropriate version of SQL Server Management Studio on your machine, in order to connect to database. for demo purpose i am using VM in Azure.

Step 1: Install SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

If you don’t have SSMS on your machine you can install free version from Microsoft

Step 2: Connect to Database

Once you open SSMS, you will be prompted for Server name and credentials. if you are connecting from your local machine make sure appropriate firewall setting are done at database level so that it allows you to connect.

Provide server name as FQDN e.g. mydbserversci.database.windows.net , user name, password and name of the database which you provided while creating.

Once you connect with proper credentials and server details, you will see the database structure in SSMS as standard on-premises  SQL server as follows. From here your can create, modify, delete all the artifacts related to database.

2. Using different database drivers

SQL Azure provide support for wide range of programming languages to connect to Azure database using different database drivers across all platforms.

Following image shows the list of all programming languages and platforms supported by SQL Azure database.

Open source community has done great work for our benefit by providing samples of all these programming languages at GitHub, you can have a look.

3. Using Visual Studio Azure Explorer

Microsoft Visual studio server explorer gives you option to connect to your Azure tenant and the services in Azure including SQL Azure database.

You get two options, either to open database in SQL server object browser or Management Portal.

If you chose to open database in SQL Server object explores, you will get to see options to create artifacts in database, as follows.

 

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