HUGE SQL Azure Features in Preview Today

Earlier this month at the Build conference the news broke of major changes to Microsoft Azure SQL Database (a.k.a. the platform formerly known as Windows Azure SQL Database a.k.a. the platform formerly known as SQL Azure). This morning those changes were released as preview features. I’m going to go ahead and take credit for the two big ones, based on my comment in this Brent Ozar blog post. You’re welcome, #sqlfamily. These changes come on top of the introduction of a Premium tier last year, which significantly expanded the scale of workloads that Azure can support.

So, what’s new? First to my mind, and to many DBAs out there who are cosmically empathic to the health of their recovery strategy, is point-in-time restores. Gone are the BACPACs and database copies (for which there was no ‘Azure’ way of scheduling). Now you can simply submit a restore request, specify the time to restore, and you’re on your way. Huge. HUGE! There’s even a PowerShell cmdlet: Start-AzureSqlDatabaseRestore . Read more here and here .

Second, the maximum size of a database has been increased from 100 GB to 500 GB. Even the newly introduced ‘Standard’ tier has a 250 GB ceiling. For the vast majority of applications out there this should be plenty. Sure, before you could have used federated databases, but there are significant architectural and maintenance challenges using sharding patterns like that so this is extremely welcome news.

For the past 8 months or so I’ve been working on a project for which the data and service tiers will be Azure-only. So far the experience has been mostly positive, but the entire time I’ve had nagging concerns about these limitations which, given the resources of my team, posed significant challenges. These changes essentially eliminate those concerns. Consider, if this is happening to me, this effect is rippling through countless projects and IT divisions. Remember this as the day SQL Azure made The Leap (but, can we please have XEvents, Microsoft?).