The Azure cloud. It’s live now.

Yesterday I signed up for my account to the official, live, RTM cloud. Of course it was all for the SQL Server, that is, SQL Server Azure. MSDN premium subscribers get a free 8-month trial, so I signed up for that and they transferred by CTP databases over (actually, my "server name" didn't change at all). See Roger Jennings' step-by-step walkthrough to make sure you get the MSDN plan if you're a subscriber.

I'd be playing with Windows Azure and SQL Azure since CTP1. But its all real and serious this time. I had to enter my credit card number. And this morning I got email that my bill (albeit for $0.00) was ready. Although the MSDN service is free, I did agree to pay if I used more than the allotted amount of resources. So now its time to look at where the limits come into play in earnest.

The thing that stuck out about the SQL Azure docs were the number of "thou shalt not" and "partially supported" things. I'll admit that I haven't worked on SQL Server Express (that supports a subset of features) or SQL CE (that supports a subset of the T-SQL dialect) that often, but even then you could poke at things enough to figure out how it works and why. With SQL Azure, you just can't do that. So you might hear from me about things that sound strange (from the docs) in the next few days. Now that I don't have to ask "will this limit also be in RTM?".

The first thing that was surprising (because I swear it didn't work in early CTPs, maybe I was wrong) is that the legacy TEXT, NTEXT, and IMAGE data types are supported. They've been on the deprecation list since SQL Server 2005. Of course, the neat ways you could manipulate them (like TEXTPTR) are not. But why TEXT, at this late date?

More to come. Cheers.

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