Peter Larsson Blog

Patron Saint of Lost Yaks

First take on Azure

I created a small table with about 150,000 records in order to do some aggregations. There are some prerequisites to comply for, but that is easily done with replace function.

With Azure, it took almost 4 times as long time as SQL Server Express on my old development machine to complete the query.

With this simple test, I find the use for Azure very limited, as of today. It is excellent for small companies who is not hosting their own environment themself. For companies on a web hosting company which doesn't support Microsoft SQL Server it will do just fine.
But today, almost all web hosting companies today offer some other database solution.

If a small company host their own web site, SQL Server Express will be a better choice.

And then again, Azure is still very new and performance may increase in the future.

There are also some things I miss in the Management Studio. The best part yet is the Azure and SSMS integration! It works great and you hardly notice the lag. There is a second lag after clicking Execute until the execution starts, for example.

I am looking forward to the future development of Azure!


Legacy Comments

re: First take on Azure

Wanted to provide some strengths of SQL Azure so understand what is possible and what isnt.
With SQL Azure, Microsoft is providing you the ability to create unlimited number of databases, with each database you create having high-availability out of the box. What you are not getting is an "instance" of SQL Server. The server you create on the portal is just a logical name for a group of databases you can create.

After a certain point, scaling up doesnt provide linear returns on investment. You need to scale out. When you talk of scaling out, just creating multiple databases on same instance or multiple instances on same box isnt going to give you high returns either. You need to spread out your data across multiple instances on multiple machines.

Now imagine the hassles of maintaining multiple instances. Hardware provisioning, OS installs, software upgrades/patches, monitoring...
lets say you still address a majority of these issues.. lets say you are a retailer anticipate some demand during christmas and thanksgiving. You purchase X number of servers to scale out to. After the holidays are over, you cannot give back the hardware to vendors and get your money back. All of that high end hardware will be sitting in your data center for the next year. thats a lot of money sitting and not being utilized properly.

With SQL Azure, if you anticipate demand, you spin up N number of databases and pay for only the time you are using them (prorated up to 1 day), and when your demand goes down you can drop the databases and go back to your normal operating databases and not have to pay anything until you are ready for expanding again.

Each of these databases cost $10 for 1 GB and $100 for 10 GB and you can create any number of them. You dont have to worry about hardware provisioning, OS installs, software/security patches, maintenance, monitoring...

Does that sound interesting? :)


re: First take on Azure
After posting here, I realized if I posted this back in the forums others can also benefit.. so copy/pasting this over there too :)

re: First take on Azure
Hi Dinakar.
I appreciate you joined in here.

How is the time measured? Duration or CPU (in terms of SQL Profiler)?
If you use one cpu for 500ms duration, is it the same fee as using 16 cpus for 500ms duration?

Do you have an estimate when SQL Azure will support different server collations?