Big thanks to everyone who attended my Windows Azure workshop in Birmingham yesterday. Two of you were kind enough to say it was the “best session of the day” – thanks! Shame my laptop twin gpus refuse to be tamed!
Main next steps are:
And finally, the slides can be download from Windows Azure Storage :-)
On Tuesday David and I delivered a Windows Azure Discovery Workshop in Reading. A big thank you to everyone who attended and asked such great questions – I know David and I really enjoyed the day even if the agenda went out the window early on!
The next step is to sign up at http://www.sixweeksofazure.co.uk for FREE assistance to fully explore and adopt the Windows Azure Platform.
Note: We have further FREE Windows Azure Discovery Workshops taking place in November and December if you would also like to explore the possibilities whilst getting a more detailed grounding in the technology. They take place in Reading, are completely FREE and the next is on November the 8th.
On Friday David and I delivered a new session as part of a great agenda for the BizSpark Azure Camp. Our session was “10 Great Questions to ask about the Windows Azure Platform”.
A big thank you to everyone who attended and asked such great questions – and also to the other speakers for making it a great day.
One of the things we discussed was “next steps”. I would recommend the monthly Windows Azure Discovery Workshops if you are new to the platform and would like to explore the possibilities whilst getting a more detailed grounding in the technology. They take place in Reading, are completely FREE and the next is on October the 11th. Hope to see some of you there.
Just stumbled across this work from Alik. He has grouped together resources for those moments when you need answers quickly. Thanks Alik.
Yesterday I posted on SQL Azure Backup from Red-Gate but I forgot to mention another handy tool they have in BETA – http://www.queryanywhere.com/. This is a zero install application (which one could call a “web site” ) and is a nice addition to my toolbag for working with SQL Azure.
Step 1: Provide the server details
Step 2: Write T-SQL
Last week I finally got round to trying out the beta of a new tool from Red-Gate software – SQL Azure Backup. It is an example of one of those tools that just makes you smile – small download, no install, works as advertised and even has a little “character”
It can backup to SQL Server or to Windows Azure Blob Storage using Microsoft’s Import/Export Service.
Step 1: Enter your SQL Azure Details
Step 2: Enter details of the target – in this case a local SQL Express
Step 3: Make a cup of tea :-)
OR – watch what is happening. It creates a new db in SQL Azure for transactional consistency
Which then gets the schema and data
Which is ultimately deleted
Step 4: Backup is complete
Step 5: And the target database is ready
While pulling together this post on the August release of the Windows Azure Tools I noted that the ASP.NET MVC 3 template included “the new universal ASP.Net providers that support SQL Azure”. Which made me pause and think … “What universal ASP.NET Providers?”
Looks like their existence completely passed me by :-)
Scott Hanselman summarised the purpose of the Universal Providers back in June. Simply put they extend Session, Membership, Roles and Profile support to include SQL Compact Edition and SQL Azure. In all other ways they work like the existing SQL-based providers. They are released via a NuGet Package (something else I need to dig into more).
What this means is we now have a supported way of doing session state with SQL Azure, rather than via workarounds (e.g. this one from Wayne)
By default, the NuGet package sets the connection string to use a SQL Server Express database:
For SQL Azure you simply change to:
The next release of Microsoft SQL Server, codename “Denali”, will be the last release to support OLE DB. OLE DB will be supported for 7 years from launch, the life of Denali support, to allow you a large window of opportunity for changing your applications before the deprecation. This deprecation applies to the Microsoft SQL Server OLE DB provider only. Other OLE DB providers as well as the OLE DB standard will continue to be supported until explicitly announced. Read more over on the sqlnativeclient blog.
A little history:
Today there are many different ways to connect to SQL Server. What you normally require is a consumer (e.g. the ADO.NET Entity Framework) and a provider (e.g. an ADO.NET Data Provider). ADO.NET Data Providers are the most recent manifestation of providers and are the preferred way to connect to SQL Server today if your consumer is running on the Windows platform. The ADO.NET Data Provider model allows “older” providers to be consumed via modern ADO.NET clients – specifically that means ODBC and OLE DB drivers. This feature is very cool although there are now many great native ADO.NET Data Providers.
Now lets briefly recap on ODBC and OLEDB:
- ODBC emerged around 1992. It replaced the world of DB Library, ESQL for C et al and soon became a “standard”
- OLEDB appeared 4 years later in 1996 (which happens to be when I joined Microsoft)
OLE DB was created to be the successor to ODBC – expanding the supported data sources/models to include things other than relational databases. Notably OLEDB was tightly tied to a Windows only technology (COM) whilst ODBC was not (Although we did try and take COM cross platform via partners)
ODBC never did get replaced. What actually happened is that ODBC remained the dominant of the two technologies for many scenarios – and became increasingly used on none Windows platforms and has become the de-facto industry standard for native relational data access.
Therefore we find ourselves in a world where:
- A new Windows client to SQL Server/SQL Azure will most likely use the ADO.NET Data Provider for SQL Server
- A new none Windows client to SQL Server/SQL Azure will most likely use the ODBC driver for SQL Server
Notice no mention of … OLEDB.
I know many UK ISVs with older applications that do use OLEDB. Please do check out the related links below and remember this is just about the SQL Server OLEDB Provider.
I often get asked about how we are using Windows Azure internally and under NDA I can share some of the details – but its great to be able to point publicly at some of the excellent work that has been going on. And they are genuine technical case studies … hurrah! :-)
How Microsoft IT Deployed a Customer Facing Application to Windows Azure in Six Weeks
Learn how the Microsoft IT Volume Licensing team gained experience with Windows Azure by focusing on a straightforward, isolated customer-facing application that allowed them to architect and redeploy to Windows Azure in six weeks with immediate cost savings.
Technical Case Study
Architecting and Redeploying a Business Critical Application to Windows Azure
The Microsoft IT Volume Licensing team architected and redeployed a business critical application, with full security review and approval, to Windows Azure. The resulting solution delivers lower cost and improved scalability, performance, and reliability.
IT Pro Webcast | Technical Case Study
SQL Server “Denali” is at CTP3 – and would therefore very much welcome feedback.
SQL Azure continues an aggressive cycle of release - and would therefore very much welcome feedback.
Which is why we have https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback. A great place to give feedback and to to see what others care about.
For SQL Azure (and the Windows Azure Platform in general) we also have http://www.mygreatwindowsazureidea.com
Thanks in advance…