Not a “me-too announcement” blog on Azure SQL Database V12 preview

In general, I usually hate “me too” announcement blog posts. Over the years, I’ve considered it less than useful to simply repeat “Product XXX released to RTM” when nice marketing/technical announcements have already been posted for the folks that are responsible. Or even to rehash books online pages, as another example.

In keeping with that concept, it was announced today that Azure SQL Database (the PAAS offering) is previewing a V12-level (that’s SQL Server 2014-major version number) version of the database. If you’ve ever heard me harping (politely, I think 😉 on the fact that Azure SQL Database (ASB) has been V11-level since its release, that’s great news by itself.

The marketing announcement is here. The somewhat more technical “what’s new” announcement is here.

So what’s there to add? Before actually trying this out, here’s some things that came to mind.

1. There’s no full-text search feature included in ASB V12 that I can see. BUT… because Change Tracking works with ASB V12, we should be able to use Liam’s lovely sample (that syncs with Azure Search but requires SQL Server Change Tracking enabled) to sync ASB V12 with Azure Search now. Great.

2. We’re going to need new tools (SSMS, SSDT, PowerShell Azure cmdlets) to work with the new ASB V12 features. Updates, the tools are here: Azure PowerShell 0.8.12 that supports ASB V12 is available as of 12/16/2014. SQL Server 2014 CU5 contains support for ASB V12 in SSMS. Previews of SSDT and DAC that support ASB V12 were announced on 12/17/2014.

3. There’s SAFE assembly SQLCLR support. Since I don’t see CREATE ASSEMBLY functionality that works with Azure Blob as DLL, I think we’ll need to use CREATE ASSEMBLY…. [from bits] for now. There’s no EXTERNAL ACCESS support. I can see that because you shouldn’t attempt to trundle around in a file system or registry that isn’t yours. But how about the ability to call a web service? That’s EXTERNAL ACCESS and a (sort-of) natural for a web-based offering. I always caution against doing this (web service thing) synchronously in on-prem SQL Server (what if the website is down?), but there’s no service broker in ASB to make it asynchronous. But anyway, it’s not supported.

4. Spatial support in ASB was sort-of a 75/25 WRT new SQL Server 2014 features. Can’t wait to try these out… as well as trying out the Extended Event sessions for real. They should work much better than when I got overly excited about some early artifacts a few months ago.

5. This is the first version of ASB (that I can remember) that has some in-database functions segregated to premium databases (e.g. columnstore, parallel queries). Ancillary service DB functions (e.g point-in-time restore) were always different-by-edition.

That’s all for now. Guess there’s a lot of tires to kick here. Thanks for all the fish.

Cheers, @bobbeauch

8 thoughts on “Not a “me-too announcement” blog on Azure SQL Database V12 preview

  1. Bob, here are some comments:
    1) full-text is not here yet
    2) New SSMS and SSDT will be available in a few days — look for CU5 for SSMS and the next update for SSDT. The current PowerShell cmdlets work but there will be an update in the next couple of days

  2. Hi Bob,

    Great post. Not sure if I like the idea of syntax that works only on premium editions though. One of the beauties of these sort of environments is to be able to scale up/down as required, and move to/from editions based on things like HA requirements.

    I’d really rather see a system where the syntax is identical across all basic, standard, and premium editions, and the only difference is performance, and availability (including HA).

    Having different syntax across different editions is a mistake IMHO. That’s a big problem with the existing on-premises versions of SQL Server. Software houses typically won’t include any Enterprise-Edition-only code and limit themselves to code that will run on standard edition as well. That also makes SQL Server look like a less compelling offering, as the software vendors compare standard edition to other products, not enterprise edition.

    Same problem can happen with Azure SQL Database. Most will target only things that run on standard databases, not premium ones.



  3. Bob, table partitioning is available in all service tiers. Currently in-memory Columnstore is the only feature which is limited to premium.

    1. Hi Tony,

      Thanks for the correction. You’re (obviously) right, I transposed the sentence on the “What’s New” page that reads “Easier management of large databases to support heavier workloads with parallel queries (Premium only), table partitioning, online indexing”. Because I was thinking that this sounded analogous to SQL Server “box” version. Corrected the text to substitute “parallel queries” for partitioning, although one could argue that parallel queries isn’t a “feature” as such, it’s more of a behavior allowed by a specific tier.

      Cheers, Bob

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