SQL Azure CTPs released
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 20 October 2011

Improved versions of SQL Azure Data Sync and SQL Azure Reporting have both been released as Community Technology previews.

Two new preview releases of utilities for use with SQL Azure have been announced by Microsoft. The first gives a way to synchronize SQL Azure databases across multiple locations, while the second is an improved version of SQL Azure Reporting that you can use to create reports on data held in SQL Azure.

SQL Azure Data Sync lets you manage synchronization of SQL Azure databases in multiple data centers, and can also be used to synchronize data between the cloud and locally stored data, including data stored in SQL Server.

Data Sync has a simple to use interface, and this version has an improved management portal with a graphical view of the synchronization data and topology. The management portal is used to configure, manage and monitor the synchronizations. New in this version is the ability to choose what data you want to synchronize, so you can limit the data to specific rows or columns in tables. You can specify sync groups - sets of tables to be synchronized together, and can choose the direction for synchronization. You also get to specify what should happen if there’s a synchronization conflict where data has been updated in more than one location. You can find out more about Data Sync in the Azure Data Sync Team blog.

The second CTP is an improved version of SQL Azure Reporting. This has similarities to SQL Server Reporting Services as seen in SQL 2008 R2, and you can develop reports for SQL Azure using Business Intelligence Design Studio (BIDS) or SQL Server Data Tools. The hosted reports can then be embedded in your apps. You can read more about SQL Azure Reporting here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/features/reporting/.

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