Join #SQLPASS virtual chapters for free online #SQLServer learning!


SQLPASS virtual chapters (VC) provides free sqlserver training year-round:

If you are not signed up already, then consider signing up! With that, And here’s a Quick walk-through on how to Join a VC:

If you do not have a SQLPASS account:

a. Go to

b. Fill up the required information and register

Now, After successful login/registration:

a. Go to

b. switch to MyChapters section

c. Now under virtual chapters, you would see a list of virtual chapters. Join the one’s you are interested in!

my PASS my Chapter Azure VC

Azure PASS VC Next meeting: Kung Fu Migration to Windows Azure SQL Database


Azure PASS VC’s next meeting:

Kung Fu Migration to Windows Azure SQL Database

Speaker: Scott Klein, Technical Evangelist Microsoft

Summary: As cloud computing becomes more popular and cloud-based solutions the norm rather than the fringe, the need to efficiently migrate your database is crucial. This demo-filled session will discuss the tips and tricks, methods and strategies for migrating your on-premises SQL Server databases to Windows Azure SQL Database, AKA SQL Azure. Focusing primarily on SQL Server Data Tools and the DAC Framework, this session will focus on how these tools can make you a kung-fu migration master.

About Scott: Scott Klein is a Corporate Technical Evangelist for Microsoft focusing on Windows Azure SQL Database (AKA SQL Azure) and related cloud-ready data services. His entire career has been built around SQL Server, working with SQL Server since the 4.2 days. Prior to Microsoft he was a SQL Server MVP for several years, then followed that up by being one of the first 4 SQL Azure MVPs. Scott is the author of over ½ dozen books for both WROX and APress, including Pro SQL Azure. He can be found talking about Windows Azure SQL Database and database scalability and performance at events large and small wherever he can get people to listen, such as SQL Saturday events, local SQL Server user groups, and TechEd.

Details at

Download the calendar file:

How to Join Azure PASS VC’s?

If you want to stay updated on meeting announcements, please consider registering on PASS’s website and Joining our VC:

If you do not have a SQLPASS account:

a. Go to

b. Fill up the required information and register

Now, After successful login/registration – Go to

a. switch to MyChapters section

b. Now under virtual chapters, you would see a list of virtual chapters. Join the one’s you are interested in!

my PASS my Chapter Azure VC

I look forward to seeing you at next Azure PASS VC’s meeting!

SQL Azure: Is there a “per transaction” cost for Windows Azue SQL Database?


Question: Is there a “per transaction” cost for Windows Azue SQL Database (SQL Azure)?

Short Answer: No

I recently answered the question on MSDN forum where the question was about Transactions and the associated cost in SQL Azure. As of now, There is no “per transaction” cost associated with SQL Azure. There are two parameters that affect your SQL Azure Bill: 1) Database Size 2) Outbound Data Transfer and an example of an outbound transfer would be data access by an application hosted outside of your Azure DB’s data-center.

If you want to read more about SQL Azure pricing, here’s the official resource:

And here are some of the blog-posts that I’ve written on the same topic:

SQL Azure got a new pricing model!

SQL Azure: Indexes are very helpful but they cost $Money$

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

For my Archives: Few questions answered on Windows Azure & SQL Azure MSDN forums


I normally Blog about the answers that I give out on MSDN forums. The answer on MSDN forum is generally brief and to the point and in the blog post – I expand it to cover related areas. Here are the questions for which I didn’t choose to write a blog. So I am just going to archive them for now:

SQL Azure’s Journey from Inception in Year 2008 to June 2012!


SQL Azure has been evolving at an amazing pace. Here is a list that summarizes the evolution till June 2012:

SQL Azure, June 2012 (During Meet Windows Azure event)

SQL Azure reporting is now generally available and is backed by SLA

SQL Azure now called Windows Azure SQL Database

Run SQL Server on Azure VM role

SQL Azure, May 2012

SQL Azure now available in one more data-center: “East USA”

SQL Azure Data SYNC, April 2012

Data SYNC Service Update notes

SQL Azure, February 2012:

Updated pricing model

SQL Azure Labs, February 2012:

SQL Azure security services

Microsoft Codename “Trust Services”

SQL Azure Labs, January 2012:

Project codenamed “Cloud Numerics”

Project codenamed “SQL Azure Compatibility Assessment”

Service Update 8, December 2011:

Increased Max size of Database [Previous: 50 GB. Now: 150 GB]

SQL Azure Federations

SQL Azure import/export updated

SQL Azure management portal gets a facelift.

Expanded support for user defined collations

And there are no additional cost when you go above 50 GB. [so cost of 50 GB database = cost of 150 GB DB = ~500$ per month]

SQL Azure Labs, November 2011:

Microsoft project codename “Data Transfer”

upcoming SQL Azure Q4 2011 service release announced!

SQL Azure federations

150 GB database

SQL Azure management portal will get a facelift with metro styled UI among other great additions

Read more

SQL Azure LABS, October 2011:

Data Explorer preview

Social Analytics preview

New registrations for SQL Azure ODATA stopped.

News at SQLPASS, October 2011:

SQL Azure reporting services CTP is now open for all!

SQL Azure DATA SYNC CTP is now open for all!

Upcoming: 150 GB database!

Upcoming: SQL Azure Federations

SQL Server Developer Tools, Codename “Juneau” supports SQL Azure

Following updates where not added in July 2011 and where later added in September 2011:

New SQL Azure Management Portal

Foundational updates for scalability and performance

Service Update 7, July 2011:

Creating SQL Azure firewall rules with IP detect

SQL Azure Co-Administrator support

Enhanced spatial data types support

Service Update 6, May 2011:

Support for Multiple servers per subscription

SQL Azure database management REST API

JDBC driver

Support for Upgrading DAC packages

Service Update 5, October 2010:

Support for SQL Azure sync

Support for SQL Azure reporting

SQL Azure Error messages

Support for sp_tableoption system stored procedure

Service Update 4, August 2010:

Update on project Houston, A silverlight based app to manage SQL Azure databases

Support for TSQL command to COPY databases

Books Online: Added How-To topics for SQL Azure

Service Update 3, June 2010:

Support for database sizes up to 50 GB

Support for spatial datatype

Added East Asia and Western Europe datacenter

Service Update 2, April 2010:

Support for renaming databases

DAC (Data Tier Applications) support added

Support for SQL Server management studio (SSMS) and Visual Studio (VS)

Service Update 1, February 2010:

Support for new DMV’s

Support for Alter Database Editions

Support for longer running Queries

Idle session Time outs increased from 5 min to 30 min

SQL Server Data Services / SQL Data Services Got a new Name: SQL Azure, July 2009

SQL Server Data Services was Announced, April 2008


Who on earth is creating “Big data”?


With all the news about “Big Data”, I had a question:

Where does Big Data come from?

So I researched and here are the Big Data “Sources” that I found:

1. Enterprise data (emails, word documents, pdf’s, etc)

2. Transactions

3. Social Media

4. Sensor Data

5. Public Data (energy, world resource, labor statistics etc)

where does Big Data Come from / Big Data Sources

Am I missing anything? Please feel free to point those out!

This is cool: Microsoft project codename “Social Analytics”


Microsoft project codename “Social Analytics” is one nice beta project! Quoting from it’s site

“it is aimed at developers who want to integrate social web information into business applications”

But the KEY here is that it allows you to integrate FILTERED social web information into your business applications. Today, you could go ahead – grab a twitter stream data – embed it in your application but guess what? In most cases, it’s too much information. Too much information means, that it’s very difficult for business-folks to take actions by analyzing these truckloads of information. And so:

even though we are data-rich – we are information (insight) poor.

My point being, that tons of information PRODUCED by [customers, partners, critics, employees..] GATHERED from [Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Blogs…] is NOT useful in it’s raw form. To take actions based on all these data-points – what we need is a way to categorize data (filter data) which would help the decision maker in seeing only SMALL part of data-set he/she needs for performing that particular analysis.

Let’s take an example:

A business-decision-maker wants to see “All twitter-users who have posted positive reviews about Windows 8 Design and User Experience”

How would you solve it?



Easy? hard?

Thinking of writing your own Sentiment Analyzer? awesome, & Good Luck!

Any-who, may be you know it’s not straight-forward to answer the above question using raw twitter data.

But here’s the thing you could use Third-party tools to solve the problem. Don’t get me wrong, I am not asking you to ignore them. But here’s how Microsoft Social Analytics helped me solve the above problem:

social analysis windows 8 design and user experience

Here’s how I FILTERED the data: (It’s a thing called Social Analytic Engagement client) microsoft social analytics filter data enagagement client

And as you can see there are more than one ways you can slice/filter your data to provide a view that is best suited for a particular analysis assignment.

Please note:

1. Currently in beta: only two data-sets are available i.e. Bill Gates & Windows 8.

2. Apart from this nicely designed web based engagement tool, you can integrate the information into applications using Social Analytics API.


Check out Microsoft Codename “Social Analytics”! Today, it’s here: (you’ll need an invite to try out social analytics.

we now have 3 (three) options to run SQL server on CLOUD.


Following the announcements at “Meet Windows Azure” event, we now have three options to run SQL Server on CLOUD; They are:

1. SQL Azure which is now called Windows Azure SQL Database

2. SQL Server on Windows Azure VM Roles (Nice addition, in my opinion!)

3. SQL Server on Amazon Web Services RDS

And apart from these options,

if you can fire up a VM on cloud and decide to run SQL Server on it – that’s also SQL Server on CLOUD.

Update 22 June 2012:

Naveen commented about running SQL Server on Amazon EC2.

Quick updates from meet windows azure event for Data Professionals


1. SQL Azure reporting is generally available and backed by SLA

2. You can now run SQL Server on VM roles

3. Azure was rebranded a while back but quick reminder: SQL Azure was renamed to Windows Azure SQL Database and so in the “new” portal – you’ll see “SQL database” instead of SQL Azure.

I’ll blog about these features as and when I get a chance to play with it.

Read all updates here: Now Available: New Services and Enhancements to Windows Azure

And I updated

One more way to run SQL Server on cloud: SQL server on AWS RDS


Up until April 2012, the only way to run SQL server on cloud was “SQL Azure”. But recently AWS announced SQL Server on Cloud. Good news? Probably. it’s always good to have more than one option. So for those who are new to world of AWS, here are few tips before you get hands-on:

1) The way RDS works is that you spin up “db instances”. So here you specify the machine size that would “power” your database. And remember that the type of instance you choose would directly affect your bill.

2) Spend some time understanding the billing structure. Since AWS gives you lot of options – their billing structure is not simple. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that lot of options in AWS is bad. it’s just that the billing is not simple and it’s not one-dimensional (there are various dimensions that shapes your billing structure). And why should you invest time? because in the “pay – as – you – go ” model it would directly affect your Bill.

3) understand costs like: cost to back-up database PLUS data-transfer cost.

4) Understand the difference between “Bring your OWN license” and “license included” (Express, Standard and web only. Currently enterprise edition not included here) model in RDS SQL Server

5) and unlike SQL Azure, RDS SQL Server charges on a “per hour” basis.

Note the date of this post: 15th may 2012. Things change very fast, so readers-from-the-future please refer to official documents.

BTW, here are the few blog posts from the web-o-sphere:

1. Expanding the Cloud for Windows Developers

2. First Look – SQL Server on Amazon Web Services RDS

3. Official resource: AWS RDS SQL Server

That’s about it for this post.