Getting Started with Azure – SQL Database

In my last post I brought to your attention the free Azure cloud offer from Microsoft. As I said, when Microsoft comes out with something new that they want people to adopt, they are very generous! They usually start by giving the public the tools needed to learn the new product.

Now that we have access and a free learning environment, let’s start to take advantage of it. Let’s dive into my favorite tool: SQL Server.

To access your newly set up portal, go to

We begin with setting up a basic SQL server. In the portal choose <NEW> this will give you the market place options to choose what to set up. For this blog we will explore <Data + Storage> where the featured App <SQL Database> is. From this point, we get a few features that would be more familiar to setting up a physical server instance of SQL Server. As with a physical server we give it a name, and then can start to configure it. With Azure some of the terminology is different, however the concepts are not new. When you are selecting a source you are selecting the location of a server. When you choose pricing you are choosing the server resources, speed, ram, etc. The resource group and subscription are just organization pieces to group all your items together.

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I have no servers at the moment so my only option is to create a new one. Follow the requirements to create a server. The key items to note are the password and the location. The password must contain both upper and lower case English letters, a number and a special character. These are typical industry standards but should be noted, and you cannot continue until you meet this minimum.

When choosing a location, choose the location closest to where you will access it access from. I chose “US West” as I am in Western Canada and physically, that is closer than an Eastern Canada location. It does not matter that it isn’t in the same country. This general rule should be followed when setting up servers for client. I have clients in the Ecuador, and so would choose a location that is closest to them. Once all your options for your server are chosen and you click ok, the menu options disappear and you are back to main screen. You are now ready to configure the next requirement.

I am using this set up for a demo database so I will choose the blank database as my source. My options being a backup of a database, a sample or a blank database. The pricing tier is an option for another post as there are many options. For this example, I chose the basic option. Choosing a collation option is also configurable, but the default is the standard SQL_Latin1_General_P1_CI_AS. Resource groups will be followed up with another post. To get started you only need a name for the resource group and you can move on.

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Remember to check the pin to dashboard option so that your SQL Database is easy to find.

Once you choose create, Azure does a lot of work behind the scenes and creates everything need.

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Once created, click the SQL databases from the main menu and a right click on the database. This will allow you pin it to your dashboard for easy access every time you login.

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You now have a basic database created and ready to use.

In my next post, I will cover resource groups in greater detail.

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