It has been just over three months since we made the SQL Azure Data Sync Preview release available in the Windows Azure portal.  We are thrilled with the adoption of the service and are pleased to make available an updated preview release with some requested features and fixes. SQL Azure Data Sync allows organizations to easily synchronize between multiple on-premises databases and SQL Azure cloud databases—a key hybrid IT scenario.   If you have not used the Data Sync service and want to learn about it, there is a new video demonstration available that provides an overview of the service capabilities, target scenarios and shows the service in use.  There is also a series of videos available on Channel 9 here.

This release addresses several pieces of feedback we’ve heard from customers and brings us a step closer to General Availability.  This is the third update to the Preview service since October and contains the following updates:

  • Data Sync servers can now be created in all Windows Azure data centers, enabling Data Sync servers to be created close to the SQL Azure databases for the best possible performance.
  • The Data Sync section of the Windows Azure portal is now localized in ten languages.
  • Miscellaneous fixes and numerous usability improvements including:
    • Progress indicators are now available in the log for long running synchronizations.
    • Error messages have been improved to better help you troubleshoot problems.
    • Synchronization of self-referencing tables is now supported.
    • A new version of the Data Sync Agent is available in the Download Center and it is highly recommended that existing agents are updated to the new version (available here).

Here’s a brief summary of the changes we made in the first two service updates:

  • Addressed the issue that sometimes led to failed syncs for narrow tables with a small number of columns.
  • Allow logins when either username@server or just username are specified.
  • Column names with spaces are now supported.
  • Columns with a NewSequentialID constraint are converted to NewID for SQL Azure databases in the sync group.
  • Both Administrators and non-Administrators are able to install the Data Sync Agent.
  • A new version of the Data Sync Agent was made available on the Download Center.

The team is hard at work on future updates as we approach General Availability and we really appreciate your feedback to date!  Please keep the feedback coming and use the SQL Azure Forum to ask questions or get assistance with issues.  Have a feature you’d like to see in SQL Azure Data Sync?  Be sure to vote on features you’d like to see added or updated using the Feature Voting Forum.