We are very pleased to announce the broad availability of the next Community Technology Preview (CTP) release of SQL Azure Data Sync.  This release supports customers' journey to the cloud by enabling hybrid IT environments between on-premises and the cloud, geo-location, and synchronization with remote offices.  Key updates include a fresh UI, enhanced filtering, and improved sync group configuration for greater ease and flexibility for syncing data across and within cloud and on-premises databases.  While a CTP release, SQL Azure Data Sync is now available for trial directly within the Windows Azure Management Portal.  This new release replaces the CTP2 release and existing users of SQL Azure Data Sync CTP2 should migrate to the new release.  The new CTP is open to all SQL Azure subscribers and does not require a separate registration, so you can start using this release and providing feedback today!

What’s New in the Updated SQL Azure Data Sync CTP

The following new features are available in the latest CTP:

  • Greater ease of use with the new Management Portal:
    • The new Management Portal provides a rich graphical interpretation of the databases being synchronized and is used to configure, manage and monitor your sync topology.
  • Greater flexibility with enhanced filtering and sync group configuration:
    • Filtering:  Specify a subset of table columns or specific rows.
    • Sync group configuration:  Specify conflict resolution as well as sync direction per group member.
  • Greater access for all users:
    • The new CTP is available to all SQL Azure users for trial, and does not require a separate registration process.

Please click here to access our product documentation pages and learn more about the technologies.  Also, an updated SQL Azure Data Sync FAQ is available here.

Background Information

SQL Azure Data Sync is a cloud-based data synchronization service built on the Microsoft Sync Framework technologies.  Instead of writing complex custom logic to replicate data between databases, SQL Azure Data Sync is a service with a point-and-click interface to setup your synchronization rules and schedules. The service provides bi-directional data synchronization and data management capabilities allowing data to be easily shared across SQL Azure databases within multiple data centers. The following scenarios are possible:

Cloud to Cloud Synchronization

  • Geographically co-locate data with applications around the world to provide the most responsive experience for your users. Use it in conjunction with Windows Azure Traffic Manager.
  • Create one or more copies of data for scale-out. For example, separate your cloud-based reporting workload from your OLTP workload.

Enterprise (on-premises) With cloud

  • Produce hybrid applications, extending on-premises applications with cloud applications and allowing data to be shared.
  • Share data between branch or worldwide offices through the cloud.
  • Aggregate data in the cloud from retail offices to provide cross-location insight and operations.
  • Make data collected or aggregated in the cloud available to on-premises applications.

In addition, SQL Azure Data Sync enables one-way synchronization and bi-directional synchronization including sync-to-hub and sync-from-hub synchronizations spanning both SQL Azure and on-premise SQL Server instances running in your private data centers.

Sharing Your Feedback

For community-based support, post a question to the SQL Azure MSDN forums. The product team will do its best to answer any questions posted there.

To suggest new SQL Azure Data Sync features or vote on existing suggestions, click here.

To log a bug in this release, use the following steps:

  1. Navigate to https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer/Feedback.
  2. You will be prompted to search our existing feedback to verify your issue has not already been submitted.
  3. Once you verify that your issue has not been submitted, scroll down the page and click on the orange Submit Feedback button in the left-hand navigation bar.
  4. On the Select Feedback form, click SQL Server Bug Form.
  5. On the bug form, select Version = SQL Azure Data Sync Preview
  6. On the bug form, select Category = SQL Azure Data Sync
  7. Complete your request.
  8. Click Submit to send the form to Microsoft.

If you have any questions about the feedback submission process or about accessing the new SQL Azure Data Sync CTP, please send us an email message:  sqlconne@microsoft.com.

Click here for more information about Windows Azure and SQL Azure sessions at PASS Summit 2011. Click here to watch demonstrations of many of these new features, made during the PASS Summit keynote by Quentin Clark, corporate vice president, SQL Server Database System Group at Microsoft.