Building a Virtual Machine within Azure (IaSS) – Improvements !


Those Dev’s/UX designers out there at Microsoft seems to be pretty busy as they releasing back to back updates to windows azure portal over the last couple of months.

I had to create a VM in Azure to do some testing, and this time I decided to try out the new portal. Apparently, I’m not a great fan of Windows 8 styled tiles, but on Azure portal these tile like options are not that bad.

I selected virtual machine from the add button(+) and the portal gave a nice view of the available options  :

Create VM

I’m pretty impressed with the amount of flavors you have now for the VMs. Oracle Linux, Open SUSE ! Cool !

I picked SQL2014 standard, and started the create process. When you start entering the details like host name, user name etc. everything looks same as before but as you click the pricing tier, there comes some improvements.

You now have an option to check all the pricing tiers and can get an idea on the approx. monthly costs pretty easily.

Click the image for better resolution.

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Icing on the cake is the Max IOPS numbers. This is way cool and handy to know and have.

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I chose something small and started exploring more. I gave the hostname and all other required things and chose check box, “Add to Startboard”. This will just add the new VM to azure portal home page.

Portal started giving me cool visualization when the VM was getting created, and the current actions were getting displayed in the notifications area.

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As soon as the VM was created its details were made available in the startboard. There are some cool data like Disk, CPU, Network etc. which definitely will come handy for everyone.

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The process to add an alert for a specific matric looks pretty straight forward within the portal. I tried to set an alert for disk, and here is what the portal has to offer.

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Overall, I’m really glad the way Microsoft Azure has improved over the last couple of years and now this is shaping up to be one of the trusted platforms to host critical workloads with great management capabilities.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more! (Hint: Some cool SQL2014 related posts are on the way !)

Microsoft + Oracle = New opportunity…Windows Azure is a happening place !


Couple of months back(To be specific in June) Microsoft and Oracle announced their partnership to help enterprise customers embrace the cloud.

It was almost clear that Oracle was going to be available in Windows Azure under the IaSS platform(Virtual Machines’),and today during one of the Oracle Open World keynotes this was officially announced to be available.

I guess Brad Anderson(Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Engineering, Microsoft) will be the first Non Oracle person to deliver a keynote during an Oracle Conference(Read Cloud is changing the game).

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As of today our Oracle friends can configure and deploy their databases on Windows Azure. Here is what the Azure VM gallery looks like –

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Note  – Some of them are on preview though.

This is really an exciting news. Giants like Microsoft and Oracle teaming up is definitely going to benefit enterprise business, and I’m really positive about that.

Are you excited about this ? Please share your thoughts on the comments section.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more !

Checkout SQL Server 2014 CTP1 and Windows 2012 R2 preview up in the cloud


You must be really busy spinning up VMs to test SQL Server 2014 CTP1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 preview.

If your on-premise desktop computer/laptop is running low on resources and if you don’t want to take the pain of handling multiple VMs locally,then you have an option to test them out right up in the cloud.

Yes, You can always spin up a Windows Azure VM and do all your testing and shut that down once you are done with your work to save some money.

Sounds like a deal right? Yes, its pretty easy and fast. It takes less than 10 minutes to provision a Windows Azure VM.

Lets look at the options we have in Azure for the test VMs –

1. SQL Server 2014 CTP1 Evaluation Edition on Windows Server 2012

This image will setup SQL2014 CTP1 for you on Windows Server 2012. Once the VM is provisioned and is in running state, you can connect it via RDP to see that SQL Server is ready to test.

VMs

2. Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview

This image will provision a VM for you with Windows Server 2012 R2 preview. You can spin up multiple VMs to do your hardcore testing with Windows.

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Conclusion

This is indeed a great way to test the latest builds with minimum efforts and you always have the option to shutdown the VMs after use to avoid a heavy bill.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

Moving a database from on-premise to the cloud – Step by Step Walkthrough


Cloud is the future and moving there is now as easy as few mouse clicks.

Today we will see how an On-premise database can be moved to a SQL Server instance running up on a Windows Azure Virtual Machine.There are multiple ways to accomplish this and in this post we will see how this can be achieved using SSMS wizards.

Step 1

I have a database named “MoveMeToCloud”,and this is one who is ready to take the flight and move to the cloud. This is a database which is deployed on my on-premises SQL Server Instance.

The first process is to export this database. For that purpose we will choose Tasks —

Export Data-tier Application

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As always an introduction wizard is opened up, and you can proceed by choosing next.(Also can say do not show this again !)

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Step 2

In this step we will connect Windows Azure Storage Account and we will export the BACPAC directly to the cloud storage.

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When we connect the Azure storage account we will need to provide the account name and the key. Manage Access Keys under the Azure portal(Storage section) will get this info for us.

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Step 3

Once the storage account connection is established we can proceed and finish this export activity.

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The wizard will do multiple checks, and the process will complete eventually(Provided all the conditions are met).

I will talk about the conditions in a different post.

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Step 4

Once the export is completed successfully we can check and verify that the BACPAC is indeed available under Windows Azure Storage Account

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Step 5

As the BACPAC is now local to the cloud we can now proceed and do an Import of that file.

We will connect to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine which is running SQL Server 2012 up in Azure to do the import.

We will choose Import Data Tier Application to initiate the import.

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We will need to provide the storage account details under the import settings

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Once the connection is established correctly we can proceed and choose the database settings

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Database settings will allow us to place the data file and log file according to our requirements.

We can proceed and finish the wizard to complete the import activity.

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Step 6

Once the import is completed we are good to access the database up in the cloud.

SSMS Cloud

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.