How to Tell Your Windows Azure SQL Database Moved

Azure
The very concept of the Windows Azure SQL Database (WASD) is predicated on the up-time created by having three active copies of your database. Should there be a hardware or software failure that would cause the primary replica to go down, your database gets moved to one of the secondary replicas which has been maintaining a copy of the data from the primary replica. In theory, the worst thing that happens is that you have to retry a query. In fact, building that sort of resilience into your code is a pretty fundamental aspect of working with WASD. I was asked the question, how do you tell if your database has been moved between replicas. I didn't have a complete answer, so I set out to find one. The first, more obvious…
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Another Execution Plan… In the Cloud!

Azure, SQL Server 2012
A couple of weeks ago I posted about how different execution plans look when using the Azure Management Portal. I promised to look at a more complex plan and here we are. The query looks like this: SELECT * FROM dbo.Agent AS a JOIN dbo.Resource AS r ON a.AgentId = r.AgentId JOIN dbo.MovieStageResource AS msr ON r.ResourceId = msr.ResourceId JOIN dbo.MovieStage AS ms ON msr.Movieid = ms.MovieID AND msr.MovieStageDefinitionId = ms.MovieStageDefinitionId JOIN dbo.Movie AS m ON ms.MovieID = m.MovieId WHERE a.AgentId = 42; I didn't go nuts in creating a crazy complex query. I just wanted to see a standard set of different operators to see how things changed. As before, I'm working off a controlled database that has identical structures and data in both the Azure database and my…
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Execution Plans … In the Cloud!

Azure, TSQL
If you’re moving to a fully-fledged SQL database as part of Azure you may never even touch SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Instead you may do all the management of your SQL database through the Management Portal. You can actually do everything you need to through this tool. This includes writing and testing T-SQL statements. Believe it or not, it includes execution plans. But, if you’re used to seeing this from a query: Then you may be a little bit surprised at this: Believe it or not, those are identical plans. Yeah, the graphics are different, radically so. But the plans, those are the same. I have a small test database that I have loaded into my local server and onto my Azure SQL Server database. It has identical structures…
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SQL Azure Query Tuning

Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication
SQL Azure is still SQL Server at the end of the day. This means it is entirely possible to write queries against SQL Azure that really… what’s a good word… stink. So what do you do? It’s all in the cloud. You couldn’t possibly tune the queries, right? Wrong. Many of the same tools that you have available to you, such as execution plans and dynamic management objects, are still available in SQL Azure. Let’s talk DMOs for a second. First off, don’t make the mistake I did of trying to run these outside the context of a specific database on SQL Azure. You’ll get extremely inconsistent results, trust me on this. Anyway, I did a quick run-down on some of the most used DMOs for performance tuning, the sys.dm_exec_*…
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SQL Azure Migration Wizard

Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication
There’s a project over on code plex to come up with a mechanism for validating databases and generating the necessary scripts to allow you to move those databases, and data, over to SQL Azure. It’s called the SQL Azure Migration Wizard. There’s no real install yet since it’s just a beta. You can download the executable and run it. It’s pretty straight forward stuff. It’s primarily focused on validating that there is a database, script or series of calls (from a trace event file) that will be properly compatible with SQL Azure, but it can also generate a deployment script from the database. Here’s the opening screen: Not much to it. I’ll walk you through the Analyze and Migrate path which covers most of the functionality of the app. Clearly,…
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SQL Azure and the DAC Pac

Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication
When last we left our intrepid hero he had successfully deployed to SQL Azure using the Data-Tier Application Package, a DAC pac. It was easy and I had a database in place in nothing flat. There really weren’t any issues worth mentioning. I wasn’t crazy about the fact that unless I had Visual Studio 2010 I couldn’t edit the Data-Tier apps or get them into source control, but there you. So, assuming this is a real production application, I’ve just realized that I need to get a new procedure into my database. If I just got and run the script to create the procedure then I’ll be breaking the link between my database and the DAC pac (and yes, I still enjoy saying that knowing that blood pressure is rising…
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SQL University: SQL Azure & PowerShell

Azure, PowerShell, SQLServerPedia Syndication
Welcome once more to the Miskatonic branch of SQL University. I see that most off you survived out last encounter… uh, class. Most of you even appear somewhat sane… somewhat. Today we’re going to talk about PowerShell and it’s use with SQL Azure. Which sounds a something like an eldritch horror breaking in from some outer dimension… hmmm… that could explain certain things… So, back to Powershell and SQL Azure. You can’t run Powershell from SQL Azure. Thank you for attending and enjoy your trip home. Still here? I did try. Let’s clarify. You can’t run PowerShell from SQL Azure, but I didn’t say that you couldn’t use SQL Azure as a target for PowerShell. It is possible to connect to your SQL Azure databases running PowerShell from a local…
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SQL Azure Diagnostic Tool

Azure, SQLServerPedia Syndication
One of the CSS Engineers from Microsoft has released a diagnostic tool for SQL Azure. It's worth a look. It's just using standard DMO queries to pull back data, but they're put them together inside a nice UI to help out. If you're already a DMO super-star, this might not be useful, but if you're looking for an easy way to gather data from your SQL Azure instance, this is a good choice. Just remember, although it wasn't mentioned on the MS web site, I'm fairly certain you get charged for running these queries. It's always something to keep in mind when working with SQL Azure.
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SQL Azure Deployments

Azure
You’ve set up your access to a SQL Azure site so you’re ready to go. Now how do you get your database up there? Well, TSQL works just fine, so you can script it all out to a file or set of files and apply them. Because you can connect with SSMS, you could use the GUI to build out your database. You can also use the Azure development platform and it’s web based GUI to create your database structures. Personally, the scripting method doesn’t seem too bad to me because you can get your code into source control that way. But, Microsoft has something additional in mind. It’s called Data-tier Applications or DAC for short (and yes, there are other things called DAC in SQL Server, what can I…
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SQL Azure Cost

Azure
We’ve all heard the scary stories. A developer starts testing Azure and then suddenly gets a thousand dollar bill on their credit card. The whole idea behind Azure works of the premise that you are not paying for the infrastructure. Instead of buying servers and disks and racks and switches and routers, you just pay for access and storage. It’s a great model. That model is  especially applicable to small businesses that just can’t  afford the outlay, or to a larger company that wants to perform cheap experiments, or any number of other places where purchasing and maintaining hardware just doesn’t make sense. But what are the costs? That’s a little tricky to answer, truth be told. SQL Azure is charged a monthly fee based on the size and number…
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