Crossing Azure Borders

The speed at which Azure is evolving actually amazes me at times. I know that the Azure platform is a focus for most, if not all, groups at Microsoft. The breadth of changes occurring every quarter continue to enhance capabilities to the point where Azure is a viable platform for more and more applications all the time. It’s not for everyone, but it does work well for more and more organizations all the time.

I’ve been watching the Azure SQL database evolve, and been doing a little work with it for a few years. It has grown from a fairly limited RDBMS to a full-featured database, albeit with limitations. Some of those issues have meant that tools or techniques I’ve been familiar with haven’t worked well, if at all.

One of those items was the ability to query across databases. Previously I’ve had to open two connections and pull data to a client to combine it. However just recently that with the elastic database query in Azure now supports queries across databases. This is cool, as we can now build applications that easily query across shards, or even just across different databases without requiring additional client work.

The list of features in an on-premise SQL Server instance that aren’t in the Azure SQL Database continues to shrink. While there’s more work to be done, I think we can start to experiment with systems and see where the Azure platform might support our needs. Certainly our business people like the ongoing rather than capital expense nature of cloud platforms.

We should be sure we understand where, and where not, we could use an Azure SQL Database. I’m curious if any of you have had success with Azure and what types of applications you use the platform to host.

Steve Jones

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