As announced today on the SQL Azure blog, SQL Azure now supports Data-tier Applications which are introduced with Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2. Here’s a quick tour of the feature.

 

Here’s what I did:

  1. Launch Visual Studio 2010 and create a new Data-tier Application project
  2. Import my pubs database from a local instance
  3. Set my deployment properties to point to my SQL Azure account
  4. Build and deploy from Visual Studio

It’s that simple!

So what does this look like? Here are some screen shots:

 

NewProject

This is the New Project dialog in Visual Studio 2010. I select the Data-tier Application project.

ProjectView

Here’s a shot of the project after I imported the local database. I could have also created the database schema from scratch.

DeployProperties

Here’s a shot of the deployment properties within the Data-tier Application project. The connection string is exactly the same as a local instance except the server name is my SQL Azure server.

DeployResults

I select build and deploy. Here are the results. The system built the DACPAC, connected to my SQL Azure instances, and deployed the Data-tier Application.

SQLAzureAdmin

The new database, Pubs-Azure, appears in my SQL Azure admin dashboard.

SSMS

Connecting SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Studio to my SQL Azure instance I see the databases as well as the meta-data for the Data-tier Application.

 

With Visual Studio 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Studio and the latest release of SQL Azure we have a symmetrical experience for creating, registering, and deploying Data-tier Applications. Unfortunately at this time we don’t support Upgrading a Data-tier Application on SQL Azure, as we do with an on-Premise install of SQL Server. To move to your database to the next version of your application you’d deploy side-by-side and migrate your data using your favorite data migration tool.

Try this out for yourself and I think you’ll find this to be extremely valuable. In addition, if you want to share your database schema with other people you no longer have to provide a bunch of Transact-SQL scripts. You can give them a DAC Pack file. The file will contain the name of the application, the version, and the database schema definition. This will make management of applications, including deployment much simpler!