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This tutorial will help you to get started with SQL Azure

Getting Started with SQL Azure

Getting started with SQL Azure - Part 2: Creating Azure account and a SQL Azure Database

Dec 29 2011 12:00AM by Paras Doshi   

In this article, we will first get you a Windows Azure account, if you don’t have one. Then, we will create a SQL Azure Database. And then, we will try connecting to it through SQL Server Management Studio running on our machine.

To create SQL Azure Databases, you will need a Windows Azure account. So let us go ahead and sign up for a Windows Azure account. Just a heads up before we do so, you will need a credit card to sign up for a Windows Azure subscription.

In addition, you may ask, “Can I sign up for SQL Azure subscription and not Windows Azure subscription?” Not exactly, SQL Azure is a part of Windows Azure and so you could get yourself a Windows Azure account and do not use other components. Since you pay for ONLY what you use - no extra charges are applicable. So yes, let us go ahead and get a Windows Azure subscription:

If you are just starting out, you can sign up for a Free Trial that is being offered by Microsoft.

Now go to: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/free-trial/

Windows Azure free trial web-page

Note that with a free trial, we will get a 1 GB web edition SQL Azure database, which I believe is all you need to get started!

Quiz: Can you create more than one “1 GB” web edition SQL Azure database at a single point of time and still not get charged for it during free trial? What do you think (you may use comment section to continue our discussion). In next post, I will explain you SQL Azure billing model and we will try understanding it in detail there. For now, if you want a reference to think more about the question, here it is Accounts and billing in SQL Azure.

Information about other plans can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/offers/

Windows Azure platform offers

Now, just a quick steps of what you can expect when you try signing up for Free Trial.

  1. Click on Free Trial
  2. Login using a windows live id
  3. Enter Contact information
  4. Review the pricing and online subscription agreement
  5. Enter Billing information
  6. You will get a message like: "Your subscription is being provisioned... The Windows Azure subscription you have just created is being provisioned in our system. It can take up to 15 minutes to complete the provisioning process. Your order confirmation number is xxxxxxxxxx In the mean time you can explore the resources below, and they will help you onboard on Windows Azure faster."
  7. And you will be redirected to Azure management portal when your subscription is successfully provisioned!

If by any chance you are asked to verify your account via text message - please do so. If you are not from a country that is listed, then please contact support for manual verification. Also, please have a look at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2011/05/23/fraud-prevention-measure-for-new-windows-azure-platform-accounts.aspx for more information.

And Congrats! You have successfully signed up for a Windows Azure free trial!

Now, This is what an Azure Management Portal looks like:

Windows Azure management portal

This is a one-stop place to manage all your hosted services, storage accounts, databases, etc. And I love the portal! It’s very easy to get familiar with the portal. I am just going to ask you to become a kid and explore this portal if you have not done so before! (Just make sure that you do not create/deploy things that you may get charged for – be a responsible kid!).

Now, when you are done with exploring, let’s create our very first SQL Azure Server!

There are two ways to do so from Home section in Azure Management Portal:

  1. You may click on “New database server” tab found in the top of the page
  2. You may also click on “Database” found in the left pane under Home section. On clicking it, you will see:

Managing SQL Azure Database via windows Azure management portal

Now click on Create a new SQL Azure Server section found in the center pane:

creating a new SQL Azure server – select a subscription

Now, select the Subscription and click on Next

creating a new SQL Azure server – select a region

Now, select the Region and click on Next

creating a new SQL Azure server – specify admin login and password

Now, choose Administrator login and password. Choose a secure password and secure login ID. It is equivalent to “sa” for SQL server and so you may have understood the importance of this login ID and password. BTW “sa” login id is not supported.

Once you are done, you will see the image as below:

creating a new SQL Azure server – set firewall rules

Now, this is where you configure the SQL Azure firewall. It is a special security mechanism in SQL Azure that blocks requests based on its IP address. Simple concept but it is crucial to protect our SQL Azure servers from unwanted access. So configure it cautiously! Click on Add

Creating a new SQL Azure server – Add firewall rules

For now, I am just going to allow my computer to be able to connect to this server so I create a rule that starts and ends with my current IP address. Click on OK.

creating a new SQL Azure server – Add firewall rules

Here, you will be able to see the list of firewall rules. You can update or delete any rule you may want to. Note that I want to allow Windows Azure services to access this server so I just checked the box. Click on Finish to see newly created server:

Managing SQL Azure server via Azure Management portal

Just that you know, I have more than one subscription associated with my live id, you may see only one subscription under the “subscriptions” tab on the left side. And the name of the subscription that I created for this article is “Subscription-1”

And as you can see in the above image, your server properties can be found on the right side too. Now, let’s create a SQL Azure Database! To do so, click on Create located on top pane:

create a new SQL Azure database

Enter the name.

create a new SQL Azure database – specify name, edition and Max Size

And click on OK.

SQL Azure database home on Azure management portal

Your very first SQL Azure database has been created!

Now, Fire up SSMS:

Note: SQL Server Management Studio from SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express should be used. Previous versions of SSMS are not supported.

Now, enter login credentials.

connecting to SQL Azure database via SQL server management studio (SSMS)

For now, we would not bother with Option.

Click on Connect and we are connected to our SQL Azure Server!

In case, you are not able to connect to SQL Azure server, please have a look at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/sql-azure-connectivity-troubleshooting-guide.aspx

SQL Azure connection shown in object explorer of SSMS

Let’s create a table in MyFirstSQLAzureDatabase:

running a query on SQL Azure database via SSMS

So yes! That is it.

In this article 1. We got you a Windows Azure account (to play with SQL Azure)! 2. We created our very first SQL Azure database (and table too!) 3. We connected to SQL Azure server Via SSMS

In next article, we will discuss about provisioning and billing model of SQL Azure. Stay tuned!


Paras Doshi
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1  Comments  

  • Update: Nowadays, The Windows Azure free trial allows you to set "spending limit" and that means that you would not be charged above the limit you set. And if you go above the limit in a given month, then the Azure service for you for that month would be disabled - you can resume from the next month.

    I believe this is great for those who do not want to get charged when they are trying out Windows Azure.

    commented on Feb 27 2012 10:55PM
    Paras Doshi
    17 · 10% · 3265

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"Getting started with SQL Azure - Part 2: Creating Azure account and a SQL Azure Database" rated 5 out of 5 by 7 readers
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