Azure SQL Database Hourly Billing

There were a number of great announcements from Scott Guthrie today: http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/azure-sql-databases-api-management-media-services-websites-role-based-access-control-and-more

One that particularly caught my eye was a subtle change to the billing for Azure SQL Database. Databases used to be billed at a daily charge.

While this might not have seemed a big deal, the only way to create a transactionally-consistent backup of the database was to first copy it using CREATE DATABASE AS COPY OF original database, then to use the database export functions on the copy. The export needed to be done on the copy (not on the original) as it just copied the data in each table, one table at a time.

If you did this operation once per day, you would have doubled the database costs. I have a customer who wanted to create 3 copies a day of 3,000 databases. That would have meant paying for 12,000 databases.

I’m glad to see that sense has prevailed on this. With the new billing option, this customer would now pay for the 3,000 databases for 24 hours a day, and 3 hours per day of additional databases, for an effective equivalent cost of 3,375 databases. That’s a big step forward from paying 12,000 databases. It’s enough of a change that it might make the project workable where it was not workable before.

The new arrangement is much more “cloudy” and in line with how other Azure services are charged. It’s very welcome thanks Microsoft!

Updated offline SQL Server 2014 Books Online install now includes T-SQL Reference

Many customers want to install Books Online (BOL) when working with SQL Server. Generally I always think it’s a good idea.

Not all environments though, allow external connectivity for the systems where the clients want to install BOL.

A friend of mine Rob Sanders documented how to install BOL in an offline method a while back:

http://sanderstechnology.com/tag/sql-books-online/#.VBTu3vmSx8E

The problem with this was that the T-SQL Reference documentation was not included in the download for offline installation. Given the T-SQL language reference was the major reason that most people wanted to install BOL, it all seemed quite pointless.

I got the good news this week from Jeff Gollnick in the documentation team that the August release now includes the T-SQL language reference and that it’s available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42557

That’s great news.