Think about how you deal with a traditional database such as SQL Server or Oracle. You typically set up hardware (computation plus storage) to install it on. Based on your needs, this may range from very cheap (think box in a closet) to very expensive (think multimillion-dollar Storage Area Networks or SANs). Either way, you have work to do. After that comes installing the software itself, starting with the license fee (or no license fee, if you’re using something like MySQL). Pretty soon, you have a nice service humming along, accessing data from your database. That is, until scaling problems kick in. You start to think about partitioning data, replication, sharding, and so on. And pretty soon you have a lot of rearchitecting and modifications to worry about.
SQL Azure is meant to tackle exactly these types of problems. It provides you with a logical view of SQL Server, with all the SQL tools and language support you expect, but it does a lot of magic under the covers to scale with usage.
SQL Azure is Microsoft’s database in the cloud. So far, you’ve seen how Windows Azure storage provides you with scalable blob storage, queue storage, and semistructured table storage. SQL Azure extends that concept to a database, and in this case, to the familiar world of SQL Server.
SQL Azure is SQL Server as a service. The “SQL Server” part means you get to create a database, connect to it using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), write code using familiar libraries such ...