When Microsoft announced their cloud strategy with the launch of Windows Azure, one of the major benefits they were highlighting was the ability to form a so-called “hybrid cloud”, of on-premises and cloud-based computing for enterprise applications. A major part of this functionality is the synchronisation of SQL databases between SQL Server in the enterprise and SQL Azure on the Windows Azure platform.
Late last week an update was pushed to the service which, along with a few new features, makes it available to all users who already have access to SQL Azure with no additional registration required.
“This release supports customers' journey to the cloud by enabling hybrid IT environments between on-premises and the cloud, geo-location, and synchronization with remote offices” said a Microsoft spokesperson, in a somewhat buzzword-laden sentence. “Key updates include a fresh UI, enhanced filtering, and improved sync group configuration for greater ease and flexibility for syncing data across and within cloud and on-premises databases.”
The new features in this version should make it much easier for database admins to get on board with SQL Azure’s syncing features. With the more widespread availability and simpler design, uptake should be much higher as Microsoft commits to this application. While this release is still only a CTP (Community Technology Preview), the fact it is now easily open to all should mean good stability and feature development moving forwards.