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Relational Cloud On the Horizon

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Jon Arild Tørresdal asked the question last month whether the Cloud could exist without relational data stores. Dave Robinson, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, just reported that Microsoft plans to accelerate the delivery of core relational database features as part of Azure' s SQL Data Services:

we are announcing that SDS will deliver full relational database capabilities as a service.

  • Tables?...Check
  •  Stored Procedures?...Check
  •  Triggers?...Check
  •  Views?...Check
  •  Indexes?...Check
  •  Visual Studio Compatibility?...Check
  •  ADO.Net Compatibility?...Check
  •  ODBC Compatibility?...Check

He adds:

To be clear, the above is not a complete list of supported features.  However, given the feature set we are planning to support in SDS v1, a majority of database applications will “just work”, allowing developers to target on and off-premises deployments with essentially the same code base.

He adds:

Developers will be able to very easily provision themselves a logical server and database and begin developing against it immediately using the existing tools and technologies that they are accustomed to.

It is important to note that:

The core foundational components of SDS have not changed. This is still the same architecture that we have been telling you about for the past year and that underlies the current CTP bits. It is the same architecture that is powering some of Microsoft's key service properties and in the next few months will be used to store 100’s of terabytes of data in production deployments...The only difference is we are now providing a rich SQL model while maintaining the high availability, fault tolerant and scale aspects of the system.

Dave also commented on ACE:

What about the ACE (Authority, Container, Entity) data model and developer experience? Since Windows Azure storage has a similar data model (property bag) and developer experience, we will stop supporting the current ACE Model sometime in the future.

From a security perspective, Dave commented:

All communications with our service is SSL encrypted and our initial authentication will be using SQL Authentication.

Microsoft is the first vendor to commit to offer a "true-relational" experience in the Cloud. Mary-Jo Foley wonders whether this is :

“mid-course correction” or a reset

What's your opinion? Will the cloud be relational or resource-oriented? or both?

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