Microsoft has been very aggressive over the past year with its Windows Azure service. The cloud computing platform has been positioned as a worthy competitor to Google's App Engine service, and Microsoft continually provides new updates to it. The latest update brings a number of new features to the SQL database.
Microsoft recently detailed the major updates that hit the Windows Azure SQL Database. The updates add four new features in the areas of Linked Server support, recursive triggers and other goodies.
First up, it was revealed that it's now possible to add a Windows Azure SQL Database as a Linked Server, then it can used with Distributed Queries across both local and cloud databases. The new feature allows users to write queries that utilizes data from local networks as well as cloud data. This functionality was available in Windows Azure before, but it relied on a method that was not very good for performance. Here's an example of how to connect to the Windows Azure SQL Database through Distributed Queries:
Another new feature is expanded support for recursive triggers. Microsoft notes that triggers will now call themselves recursively by default, but it can be turned on on or off at the user's discretion. Check out the documentation for more finformation.
The SQL database also features support for DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS. This allows users to see the current query optimization statistics. Users can then estimate the "cardinality or number of rows in the query result." From there, it creates a high quality query plan. You can check out the documentation here.
Finally, Microsoft has added the ability to configure SQL database firewall rules at the database level. It's a step up from the previous firewall management tools that only allowed users to set the rules at the server level. Implementation at the database level allows users to set different rules for different databases. You can check out the documentation here.