Unboxing Azure part 1: The new Portal & how to create an Azure SQL database

Not so long ago, Microsoft(MS) announced a lot of new and cool features to their Azure platform at their event “Meet windows Azure”

There is no doubt that MS is expanding fast in the cloud, and with this blog series I will try to give a short overview of the business intelligence(BI) capabilities that are currently available in Azure.

The new Portal

MS have updated there portal, so that it is now primarily is using HTML5. It looks like this.

The new portal is intuitive and easy to use. One of the new exiting things is the virtual machines, where you for instance can create a windows server, and do the stuff that are not currently supported in other services in Azure. In the BI world, that could be installing a SQL server to use the SQL server agent to run SSIS packages or to host analysis services, since these services are not supported other places in Azure right now.

The new portal is still in “Preview”. I don’t know precisely what that means, but if there is something you are missing, you can go to the old Silverlight portal by clicking on the portal link in the top right corner.

SQL Azure

But first things first. When we are talking BI we have to start with a database. Click the SQL databases item, and click create database, and follow the instructions. For information regarding edition and pricing, read here

When you create a SQL azure database, it comes with a firewall that blocks all traffic. To get access to it, you need to open for the IP addresses that need to access it. In the new portal that is hard to find. Click “SQL databases”->”Servers”->Click on the server name-> Clik configure and add the IP addresses. While you’re developing, you can start by adding your own IP.

When you have done that, you can start designing your database. There is a management tool in Azure you can use. Just click the manage database link in the portal.

From the management tool you can design tables(See below), views and SP’s.

You can also create new databases and deploy databases from your database projects in Visual studio, which is the correct way to develop SQL databases. (I’ll cover that in a later blog post)

You can off course also logon to the database from management studio. Get the connection string from the portal, and type it in. See example below.

As before it is very limited what you can do from management studio. You can’t design anything with the designer. You have to do everything in SQL, and there is also something you can’t do with SQL either. (Again the correct way to develop database projects is to use the database project in visual studio.)

But to conclude on this first look. We have created a SQL database using the new portal. From what we have seen up until not, not so much have changed since the last version. How we can do SQL development have however changed, and I’ll cover that in the next blog post in the series.

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