[This article was contributed by the SQL Azure team.]

We've talked to many customers and partners who have started using SQL Azure to migrate departmental and desktop application data to the cloud to take advantage of the managed database services of SQL Azure for high availability and reliability, and as a spearhead for their cloud data strategy to share vital information to users on the web and to external business partners.  Doing this is a lot more straightforward than it looks, and we've put together some examples on how to do this easily.

In the video below, I'll walk you through how you can easily migrate data from Microsoft Access to SQL Azure and continue using Access as the primary user interface and continue using any business logic embedded in the app.  By doing so, you gain the ability for multiple users to access that data from anywhere on the internet without making changes to the Access application.  The data will always be available - and provides an interim strategy for extending the data to additional users and user experiences via the web or mobile applications in the future. 

This walkthrough takes an existing Access application that tracks employee expenses locally on a desktop machine.  We use the free SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) for Access to migrate the data to SQL Azure.  Storing the data in SQL Azure provides high availability and redundancy for the data that doesn't exist when residing on a local machine.  In addition, key additional benefits are:

  • 1. Allows multiuser access from anywhere via internet
  • 2. Future flexibility to use the data to power web and mobile applications

 And the most important thing...the Access application continues to work without making changes, except the user interface now just points to the SQL Azure database. 

You can download the sample Access database and walk through the migration steps with your own SQL Azure account by going to our Codeplex site and downloading the bits here.

If you want to view it in full-screen mode, go here and click on the full-screen icon in the lower right-hand corner of the playback window.

We've got several other tutorials on the SQL Azure Codeplex site , go to http://sqlazure.codeplex.com.  Other walk-throughs and samples there include ones on how to secure a SQL Azure database, programming .NET with SQL Azure, and several others.

If you haven't started experimenting with SQL Azure, for a limited time, new customers to SQL Azure get a 1GB Web Edition Database for no charge and no commitment for 90 days.  This is a great way to try SQL Azure and the Windows Azure platform without any of the risk.  Check it out here

Thanks!  We'll have another post on Thursday as we walk through how to migrate a database from on-premises SQL Server to SQL Azure.

-Steve