I took a look at the Windows Azure DataMarket. To do so, you’ll need to sign in with a Windows Live ID first.
Next you’ll want to browse to the currently included datasets. Many of them have (a limited number) of free queries to try out for free. I selected the WTO Tourism Dataset for my first exploration.
The site includes a data viewer, so that you can take a look at the dataset that you are interested in before you decide to work with it in your application.
Because this is a newly launched service, there are only a few datasets online currently. When I was a the SQLPass Summit in Seattle last week, I talked to several members of the product team for the Azure Data Market and got an idea of our direction for this services going forward.
You can work with datasets on the site itself or you can use other methods to explore the data. I started by using the (recently released) new feature of Excel Power Pivot 2010. This feature is exposed via the ‘From Azure DataMarket’ button which is added to the Power Pivot ribbon after you download and install the latest (free) add-in.
You’ll need to enter the URI (endpoint) for the service which you’ve signed up to try out into the Power Pivot dialog box as shown below. This URI is found on the DataMarket website (Details tab) for the particular DataSet. You will also need to enter your account key to complete the connection. You find your account key on the DataMarket website MyData>Account Keys section.
After you’ve successfully connected then you can use all the goodness that is Power Pivot to analyze your data. I took a look at tourism in Zambia for 2005 using a Pivot Table populated with the Power Pivot (imported) Windows Azure Data Market data.
You can also develop applications programmatically. Here’s the MSDN sample code. Also here’s a webcast from TechEd Europe 2010 (recorded in Nov in Berlin).
So are you planning to use the Windows Azure Data Market? If so, in what way? I’d be interested to know – drop me a mail via this blog with details about your experience.