T-SQL Tuesday #139–A Hybrid World

tsqltuesdayIt’s time for T-SQL Tuesday in June 2021, with a new host this time. Ben Wiessman (b | t), who graciously responded to my request to host, and to whom I want to congratulate on an addition to his family.

In any case, for #139, Ben asks us about hybrid data. He’s a cloud advocate and someone that has been working with Big Data Clusters and Azure Arc. In fact, he’s written books on those topics(Azure Arc-Enabled Data Services Revealed and SQL Server Big Data Clusters), Bid , so I expected a topic related to those.

Moving to Hybrid

I haven’t dealt with hybrid in production at all. My work with SQLServerCentral, and much with Redgate and customers, is all either on-premises or in the cloud. All the SSC stuff runs as IaaS, and most of Redgate does. While we have a lot of local workstations and environments for dev, much of the infrastructure is in the cloud, without much hybrid stuff.

I do see customers that developer locally and deploy in the cloud, which is something I’ve done, but not too often. Most want to do everything in one place. I don’t really consider IaaS as a “hybrid” despite it being in the cloud, because these are just VMs that could be anywhere, and there isn’t any real change if they live in Azure, AWS, or a remote data center my company owns.

Experimenting in the Cloud

The exception for me is Spawn. This is Redgate’s research project on hosted cloud databases that you might use for local development. I started working with this when it was early in the lifecycle, and now it’s something that I use regularly.

Essentially you create a database, and it’s hosted in a container somewhere. You get a connection string back, but the database lives in a cloud service, and this is a hybrid environment.

It’s an interesting idea, and while I haven’t made any large databases, I do find that the ability to programmatically start a database to be quite fascinating and simple. A few times when I’ve looked to update a demo project, the ease with which I can set up an environment on a new machine is fascinating.

The team that manages our main demo made a number of changes in 2020. I had scheduled a talk on the platform and realized a week before that the old demo I had was broken. When I contacted them, they gave me these instructions.

  • Update the CLI tool
  • Update my repo from the “demo” branch of the repo
  • Open the folder in VS Code
  • Hit F5

That’s it and I had a running environment right away. I did a talk on this at ConFoo 2021, and it went well. The ease of getting things running even impressed me, as I hadn’t dealt with the front end side of things as often. Amazing.

To me, this is where the hybrid cloud gets interesting, when I easily access resources either locally or remotely.

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