Microsoft Azure SQL Database is the relational database service offered as a Platform as a Service on the Microsoft Azure cloud. SQL Database has evolved significantly over the years and has become a robust and highly available database platform wrapped as a service offering with specialized security features.

SQL Database is built as a shared infrastructure service, in which databases may reside alongside other customers’ databases. Also, SQL Database requires a flexible self-service architecture. Consequently, some of the traditional database concepts are implemented differently than on SQL Server, such as the master database. Also, SQL Database imposes performance constraints that vary based on your service level, such as throttling, to ensure a fair repartition of resources between tenants. Last but not least, it is important to note that SQL Database, like any other service offered on the Azure cloud, evolves rapidly with frequent updates offering enhanced management, development, and operational capabilities.

Using SQL Database is simple. Creating a database instance in SQL Database is as simple as pushing a few buttons, and within minutes you can have a fully supported, production-ready database infrastructure at your fingertips. However you may wonder how this technology is put together; you may even ask yourself how Microsoft can guarantee high availability, or what the master database is in a SQL Database, or even how the built-in connection firewall is implemented behind the scenes, both at the server and database level.

Most database professionals can use SQL Database without understanding its underpinnings. However, it can be useful to study some of its underlying architecture to understand better how to manage SQL Database and how to adopt this technology properly in custom application development initiatives.

The 9-page whitepaper “Windows Azure SQL Database Architecture introduces SQL Database, discusses the internal architecture of SQL Database, and brings to light to some of the critical concepts that are the foundation of SQL Database. This white paper also explains how some of the underlying services provide high availability, security, and replication.

The author, Herve Roggero, is a Microsoft Azure MVP and the founder of Enzo Unified. His experience includes software development, architecture, database administration and senior management with both global corporations and startup companies. He holds multiple certifications, including an MCDBA, MCSE, MCSD. He also holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Indiana University. He is the co-author of "PRO SQL Azure" and “PRO SQL Server Practices” from Apress, a PluralSight author, and runs the Azure Florida Association.

Click here to read the whitepaper.

SQL Diagnostic Manager is a robust performance monitoring, alerting and diagnostics solution for SQL Server. It supports Azure SQL Database.

ER/Studio Data Architect is a powerful data modeling tool, and enables companies to discover, document, and re-use data assets. It supports data modeling operations for Azure SQL Database.

DBArtisan protects data security by managing permissions and privileges for cloud and on-premises deployments of SQL Server, Azure SQL Database, Oracle Database, PostgreSQL, and more.

SQL Doctor analyzes cloud and on-premises deployments of Microsoft SQL Server (including Azure SQL Database) to generate expert recommendations with executable scripts to improve security and performance.

SQL Secure discovers security vulnerabilities and user permissions for SQL Server. It identifies who has access to what and sends alerts on violations of corporate policies. It supports Azure SQL Database.

SQL Comparison Toolset provides a comfortable, automated way to compare schemas and data, generate synchronization scripts, and deploy those scripts to synchronize databases. It supports Azure SQL Database.

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