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SQL Data Services Moving To a Full SQL Server Database in the Cloud

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Last week InfoQ asked if RDBMS has its place in the cloud. All the big cloud vendors (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) are using a key/value store today. However, on the MSDN Developer Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft reported they will make RDBMS features of SQL Server available through SQL Data Services (SDS) after feedback from ISV’s.

Gavin Clarke of the Register UK interviewed Mark Hindsbro, General Manager Developer and Platform Evangelism:

According to Hindsbro, partners want a full SQL Server database in the cloud. The current SQL Data Services (SDS), which became available last March, provides a lightweight and limited set of features.

Microsoft is still unclear on which RDBMS features they are thinking about. Gavin continues:

He did not say what SQL Server features Microsoft would add to Azure, other than to say it'll include greater relational functionality.

Microsoft in a statement also did not provide specifics, but said it's "evolving SDS capabilities to provide customers with the ability to leverage a traditional RDBMS data model in a cloud-based environment. Developers will be able to use existing programming interfaces and apply existing investments in development, training, and tools to build their applications."

On the OakLeaf Systems blog, they mention that SDS is not aligning up with the new data technologies available on the .NET platform and its limited query syntax, as possible reasons for Microsoft to change direction:

The result of this [Microsoft] policy were schemaless EAV tables that offered flexible properties (property bags) in an Authority-Container-Entity (ACE) architecture that mystified .NET developers, who were then in the process of about-facing their mindset from traditional SQL queries to .NET 3.5’s Language Integrated Query (LINQ) constructs and object/relational mapping with LINQ to SQL and the Entity Framework. SSDS offered SOAP and REST data access protocols with a very limited query syntax.

Some important questions remains to be answered. Are Microsoft sacrificing scalability because existing customers want to utilize their existing knowledge? Or do they have a plan for architecting existing SQL Server technologies to scale in the cloud? What do you think?

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