How to make the best use of your SQL Azure Free Trial?

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Let’s say you have signed up for a SQL Azure free trial and it allows you 1 web edition database of Max Size 1 GB for a Month. You want to make the best use of this resource to get the maximum out of it, don’t you? No worries – In this blog post, I’ll list tips and tricks which would help you get the maximum out of that 1 GB SQL Azure database in a given month.

One option is to install Adventure Works LT sample database for a month – you try connecting SSMS, run queries, create DB objects, run stored procedures and you realize that it is SQL server in cloud (SQL server vs SQL Azure) – And you used your 1 GB SQL Azure DB free trial for a month, fair enough – you did learn a few things and that’s good. Now, let me propose a slight change that will allow you to try features such as SQL Federations and SQL Data SYNC and still not go above the “free” usage limit.

Before I do that – it is important to understand this:

When you are given a 1 GB Web edition SQL Azure DB free trial for a month – it effectively means that you have “30” 1 GB web edition SQL Azure DB whose validity is one Day and this is so because – the SQL Azure billing is “on per day” basis.

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Image Source: Getting started with SQL Azure – Part 3: Provisioning and Billing Model of SQL Azure << Paras Doshi

Note: The billing cycle is based on UTC format and not your “local” Timezone.

Now let’s take this one step further:

This billing model allows you to create “30” 1 GB web edition DB for 1 day – and you have exhausted your free trial cap.

Alternatively, this allows you to create “15” 1 GB web edition DB for 2 day – and you have exhausted your free trial cap.

Alternatively, this allows you to create “10” 1 GB web edition DB for 3 day – and you have exhausted your free trial cap.

……

And I hope – you got my point that you can spread those “30” 1 GB web edition DB in many different combinations.

Now, here is one way you can go about o spread your cap of “30” 1 GB web edition SQL Azure DB:

Number of Days
[Col1]
Feature Details Number of 1 GB web edition DB consumed per day
[Col4]
Consumption
[Col1 * Col4]
5 – learn basics – connect via SSMS
– run TSQL commands
– Explore Management studio
– SQL Azure firewall
1 5/30
2 – Data SYNC Learn cloud to cloud synchronization using 1 Hub SQL Azure DB and 2 Member SQL Azure DB 3 11/30
2 – Data SYNC Learn Enterprise to cloud synchronization using 1 hub SQL server DB and 1 SQL Azure DB 1 13/30
2 – Azure reporting Learn SQL Azure reporting 1 15/30
1 – COPY TSQL command -copy a SQL Azure DB using COPY command 2 17/30
1 -SQL Azure Import/Export Export a SQL Azure DB to Azure storage blob and then import it back to a new SQL Azure DB 2 19/30
1 – SQL server to SQL Azure migration try various migration tools like SSIS, BCP, SQL Azure migration wizard to migrate SQL server DB’s to SQL Azure 3 22/30
1 – SQL Azure federations When you SPLIT a SQL Azure DB, it will perform it ONLINE. that means a single split command equals two create db command and one drop command and so for that day – you are charged for three db’s. Read more here 5 27/30
3 – Anything you may want to learn you have “3” db’s to learn any other feature 1 30/30

Now, this is not the optimum plan but it does give an idea to plan your free trial usage. I’ll tell you why the above plan is not optimum. For instance, when you try COPY command – you have two databases to play with for the rest of the day and you can do bunch of stuff with it. Other being, Once you have migrated the local SQL server db’s to cloud – you have those db’s to play with for the rest of the day. (Again, a billing day is counted based on UTC format. be aware!)

So yes. This is it! you can tweak the above plan based on your need and time you may have. feel free to post your suggestions in the comment section.

0 thoughts on “How to make the best use of your SQL Azure Free Trial?

    • I am glad that this post would help you. Just note that the blog post was meant for a 30 day trial and yours is 90 days – so you have more days to learn and explore a particular topic.

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