Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Karthick Viswanathan, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Linux Containers

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

SQL Data Services: Your Database in the Cloud

This will really make sharing of data in the cloud so much easier

One thing in the Microsoft cloud I find really interesting is SQL Data Services and Huron/Data Hub - SQL cloud sync service, one of the “cloud” offerings I believe has lots of potential and will really make sharing of data in the cloud so much easier.

I had the pleasure to sit down and talk about this subject with Liam Cavanagh, Sr. Program Manager at Microsoft, with the SDS/Huron team, and get some insights about the current state and the future of this remarkable new technology. In this article I’ll talk about SQL Data Services, and I’ll follow up with one about Data Hub/Huron.

SQL Data Services is at the core, nothing more than a (Microsoft SQL) database-as-a-service offering from Microsoft, part of the Azure Services Platform. First thing you’ll find about SQL Data Services is that “is just SQL” (at least that’s how Microsoft is advertising it). And it is. You’re able to change your connection string from your local database to your cloud database and you can access the “cloud” SQL. You can use SQL Studio to run queries, create tables, everything (oh well, almost) you do locally. First version of SQL Data Services will support: tables, indexes, views, stored procedures, triggers, constraints, table variables, session temp tables etc. It will not support: distributed transactions or queries, CLR, Service Broker, Spatial, physical server or catalog DDL and views. Also, reporting services, Business Intelligence  services, will be available sometimes in the future. So far there’s no information for when some of the features not included in the first version will be available.

The initial commercial release will have some limitations on database size, most likely it will be around 10 GB. The limitation might be lifted on future releases, but for now will be there to stay. This limitation is mainly because Microsoft feels that this is a good size they can easily manage in the background: backups, moving the database from a server to another server, data recovery, etc. You can have as many databases you want, and let’s be honest, 10 GB is a lot of data to store.

Other limitation will have to do with the duration of transactions and resource load on the server hosting your data. Keep in mind that your data will be living on servers in Microsoft’s data centers, with data from other customers. Microsoft makes sure your data is secure (I’m sure we’ll see some guarantees in the SLA), but in order to maintain good multi-tenant practices it will have to throttle or otherwise make sure that all the databases on the server get enough resources to function properly. One of the techniques used is moving more active databases from a loaded server to an idle server.

Like with any other database, corruption of data can happen in the cloud database as well. Microsoft has mechanisms in place to recover from data corruption (mainly by keeping database replicas on multiple servers), however, they don’t provide any user level backup of the database (at least in the first version). As we’ve seen in some of the PDC 2008 presentations, in the future we will probably see database backup/restore and geo-replication (synchronous – replica set spans datacenters and asynchronous – independent replica sets in different datacenters).

There’s no surprise on how concurrency is handled in the cloud database, SDS has the same mechanism like any SQL Server. SQL Server supports optimistic (time-stamps or value comparisons) or pessimistic concurrency models. The presence of the “cloud” doesn’t change the model at all. If you’re really curious about the subject, here’s a link to some information about SQL Server 2008 Concurrency which essentially deals with how the SQL Server handles locking.

By having the database in the cloud, there’s going to be a latency when accessing it from your premises. Microsoft recommends running your applications that are using the database in the cloud on the Azure Platform, so the latency is minimal. When you deploy an application on Windows Azure and provision an SDS server, the two are going to be co-located, to provide low latency between the application and the data.

You will find out rather quickly that there’s no web based administration tool for managing your database in the cloud, but most probably some kind of web admin tool (Microsoft or third party) will be available in the near future.

The exact billing model is not yet available. However, we know from Nigel Ellis (the person responsible for the design, development, and release of SQL Data Services) that customers will be charged for the physical database size including all data and indexes defined.

What is SDS offering more than other SQL hosting services? High availability - your data is guaranteed, is available all the time. If you’re hosting SQL, in order to have high availability, you need to probably have two servers (mirrored) in case one goes down, the other one can take over. Also, SDS solution seems to be cost effective, since you pay just for what you’re using.

Initially SDS was built to use SOAP and REST protocols to access the data. With the switch to being a full relational database in the cloud, SDS is now using Tabular Data Stream (TDS) protocol, an application layer protocol used to transfer data between a database server and a client, initially developed by Sybase Inc. for their Sybase SQL Server relational database engine in 1984, and later by Microsoft in Microsoft SQL Server. There are already lots of drivers already implemented for this protocol: ODBC, OLEDB, ADO .NET, ODBC driver for PHP stack, you can access it from ruby, from linux using the Open TDS driver.

Of course, it will take some time for the platform to mature. It is the goal of this first version to address the needs of 95% or more web and departmental applications.

The SQL Data Services Community Technology Preview (CTP) will be available soon. You can join the mailing list in order to receive an e-mail notification when it will become available.

Related posts:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Alin Irimie

Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.

Microservices Articles
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Kin Lane recently wrote a couple of blogs about why copyrighting an API is not common. I couldn’t agree more that copyrighting APIs is uncommon. First of all, the API definition is just an interface (It is the implementation detail … Continue reading →
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
DevOps tends to focus on the relationship between Dev and Ops, putting an emphasis on the ops and application infrastructure. But that’s changing with microservices architectures. In her session at DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, Evangelist for F5 Networks, will focus on how microservices are changing the underlying architectures needed to scale, secure and deliver applications based on highly distributed (micro) services and why that means an expansion into “the network” for DevOps.
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...