imageToday is T-SQL Tuesday #7 and the SQL Azure team is blogging as part of T-SQL Tuesday for the first time. This  Tuesday’s topic: “What’s your favorite hot new feature in the SQL Server 2008 R2?” Of course, SQL Azure integration is our favorite topic of SQL Server 2008 R2. SQL Server tools, including SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), BCP Utility, and SQLCMD all have been upgraded in SQL Server 2008 R2 to work with SQL Azure. In the SQL Server development team we think of the SQL Tools differently than the SQL Server engine, the tools are a way to talk to a database that supports TDS, and since SQL Azure supports TDS, SQL Azure is our engine. Our engine is just a slightly modified version of SQL Server.

Good news: the SQL Server tools are free; they ship with SQL Server Management Studio Express Edition, you can be downloaded it here.

SQL Server Management Studio

Want to connect to SQL Azure using SQL Server Management Studio? Read this blog post about getting started. Make sure to always connect encrypted, why you ask? Read this blog post to find out. You can also generate a script using SQL Server Management Studio to recreate your SQL Server database schema on SQL Azure, find out how by reading this blog post.

BCP

You can use BCP to transfer data to and from your database. Read about the basics here.

SSIS

If you want to transfer your database from SQL Azure to SQL Server you can do it with the SQL Server Import/Export Wizard (which uses SSIS), here is a blog post about doing this.

SQLCMD

Want to run T-SQL against your SQL Azure database from the command line? Want to create a database with a batch file? You can do that against SQL Azure using the SQLCMD tool, find out more in this blog post.

Do you have questions, concerns, comments? Post them below and we will try to address them.