SQL Azure Databases

When I do sessions on Windows Azure, then SQL Azure is always part of that. Most of the time remarks about the maximum sizes of SQL Azure database come from the audience.

Quick summary. There are 2 SQL Azure editions available: Web and Business. I have not found any differences between the two, but perhaps this will come in the future. The Web edition comes in sizes of 1 Gb and 5 Gb. The Business edition starts at 10 Gb and ends with 50 Gb, in steps of 10 Gb. In December the maximum will be 150 Gb (here). The costs of a SQL Azure database will be calculated at a daily basis. It is not a difficult calculation model.

At this moment the maximum size of a SQL Azure database is 50 Gb. During many of my sessions I hear people complain it is too small. I thought that also, but I changed my mind.

My latest big (not Windows Azure related) assignment was a project at a public institution. At this project we used SQL Server databases. The administrators had trouble with the intended grow of the databases. With the grown of the databases also the ask for storage and the backup time grow. But to maintain their SLA’s there is a certain amount of time for the backup. And for some big databases it was difficult to maintain. Therefore some cleaning jobs were build and the usage of the databases was made more efficient.

And this also goes into account for SQL Azure. We should be more efficient with the databases usage. Think about what to put into the database and what we keep in it and for how long. Finally all costs should be related to a business case/need. If not we need a plan.

During my talks I also point at us developers as being easier on the available resources over the years. Disks / CPU and memory do not cost much anymore and there is almost abundance of it. We not forced like the early days of IT with scarcity. Lot of older IT people remember that.

So keep in mind what you save of store in your databases. Perhaps a different and cheaper alternative is available. Windows Azure storage is very efficient for blobs etc. Windows Azure storage tables is very efficient for non relational data. So these data should not be stored in your database.

But when you decide to store in a SQL Azure database, think about cleaning and tooling for cleaning. In my previous blogpost a few months ago I wrote a alternative.

Windows Azure and Cloud computing force us to keep an eye on costs en therefore make us more efficient. That is not a threat but a change! You should start already today!

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