Do tables in a SQL Azure Database need to have a primary key?


Answer: No.

Though SQL Azure does need that a table has a clustered index. So to this end, Let’s write some TSQL code and cement this concept in our brain. So as a part of the test, we would create a table with no primary key – However we would certainly create a clustered index on one of the column. So let’s get started:

OK, so here’s the TSQL code to create a table named ‘InternationalStudentList’:

[code language=”sql”]create table InternationalStudentList (StudentName varchar(30),HomeCountry varchar(30), DegreeProgram varchar(30))

Now let’s insert some data into this table. Here’s the query:

[code language=”sql”]
insert into internationalstudentlist values(‘Paras Doshi’,’India’,’Masters in IT and Management’)

If you run the above query – you would get the error:

Msg 40054, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Tables without a clustered index are not supported in this version of SQL Server. Please create a clustered index and try again.

So we know that a table in SQL Azure requires a clustered index, right? So, Let’s create one!
Let’s assume that the InternationalStudentList would be queried a LOT to answer the question: “List all StudentName whose HomeCountry is X” – So based on this information let’s create a clustered index on HomeCountry Column. Here’s the TSQL code:

[code language=”sql”]
create clustered index cix_internationalstudentlist_homecountry ON

Once a clustered index is created, Try inserting data again. And you would see that a row would get successfully Inserted!
Run a Select Command to verify that:

SQL Azure Result of a SQL select command

And as you can see, we were able to insert a row in a table. Remember that this table did not have a primary key But we did create a clustered index. The Goal of the Post is achieved here, But just want to show you the Query Plan for a Query that looks like:

[code language=”sql”]
select StudentName,HomeCountry,DegreeProgram from InternationalStudentList
where HomeCountry = ‘India’

sql azure clustered index seek

Note that I have run this queries on Management portal for SQL Azure, You can run it in SSMS too. But the goal is to show you that we have clustered index seek and that’s one of the way to tune queries. Not going into details in this post – And That’s about it for this post. Your feedback is welcome.

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I Look forward to Interacting with you!

2 thoughts on “Do tables in a SQL Azure Database need to have a primary key?

  1. pawan verma

    Hi paras,

    Its varified that we dont need primary key if we want use DML commands in SQL Azure but would it be necessary to create cluster index on that colm for which we need to perform DML queries or we can create cluster index on any coloumn and perform required queries??

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