Last week I did a talk at SQLConnections on SQL Azure Database and Data-Tier Applications (DAC). At the time (it was the day of Visual Studio 2010 launch), I explained that conference abstracts had to be submitted 6 months ago. At the time, because of some coincidental feature correspondence (e.g. the DAC whitepaper suggests only using DAC deployment on databases of 10gb or less; 10gb is the current maximum size of a SQL Azure database) I'd actually thought that DAC and Azure were "joined at the hip" and that DAC might already be used in the cloud (internally) for SQL Azure deployment.

It isn't. In fact, neither DAC nor SQL Azure Database supported each other. *Until last week*. At the VS2010 launch, the other DAC talk (by the team) said Azure would be supported as a development/deployment environment. But, except for "import from existing database", even the RTM VS2010 didn't work with SQL Azure.

Imagine my surprise on returning home to see this blog posting by the SQL Azure team. As of last Friday, SQL Azure enhancements "enables deployments of database applications directly from SQL Server 2008 R2 and Visual Studio 2010 to SQL Azure for database deployment flexibility". So, it does hook up, after all.

DAC is a pretty controversial feature because in V1, it only supports a subset of database objects and deployment via a
"new database-copy data-rename databases" funtionality. So, its not for everyone. But, at both talks, attendees seemed to understand the target audience, the "departmental database application", the "600th database application" in a large company, the ones that usually have no DBA support because DBAs are busy with 24×7 line-of-business OLTP apps. If you've ever worked in a big company where database and software development is not the main business of the company (ie, the main business is manufacturing cars, or banking, not developing software), you can grok what exactly what a "departmental application" is.

The attendees got it. When I asked at the end of my talk if, because there are customers for it in the present, the DAC ought to be postponed until it would work with all DBMS apps, I only got 1 taker (for postponed) out of 100. Not so controversial after all.

Now, to see exactly how DAC and Azure work together. As of Azure on Friday, Apr 16.