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SQL Azure CTP Released But Wait in Line for A Token

Microsoft this week is rolling out a twin bill of previews that will be noteworthy to any developer interested in the future of Redmond's SQL Server platform. One includes a preview of the next release of its traditional premises-based database, SQL Server, while the other will give a look at Microsoft's cloud-based relational database offering.

The community technology preview of its SQL Azure Database is slated to be available today, Wednesday August 19, though as of this afternoon, OakLeaf Systems principal Roger Jennings, said he and others have yet to receive a token.

"They are being very hazy on how long it's going to take them for people who had SSDS [SQL Server Data Services] or SDS [SQL Data Services] accounts tokens for SQL Azure," Jennings said in an interview. In fact Microsoft's Zach Owens warned Jennings it could take up to two weeks to get tokens.
"Over the next week or two everyone who has already signed up for a SQL Azure Invitation Code should be receiving an email sent to the address associated with your Live ID containing the token and a link to redeem it," Owens wrote in a blog posting today.  "We understand that everyone would like their tokens yesterday but we need to work through the list and ramp up the service. Once the list of current requests has been processed, new requested will be fulfilled within a day or two."

But you can be sure once he gets his hands on it Jennings, who blogs everything cloud and SQL (among other things) will put it through the ringer just as he has with Azure and the former SDS. See his recent Visual Studio Magazine cover story Targeting Azure Storage. Updated August 20th: Jennings informed me he received his invitation today.

For those that haven't been following Microsoft's cloud-based database initiative, SQL Azure Database will be the company's relational database based on SQL Server. It will run atop of Microsoft's Azure cloud service. "With SQL Azure Database, you can easily provision and deploy relational database solutions to the cloud, and take advantage of a globally distributed data center that provides enterprise-class availability, scalability, and security with the benefits of built-in data protection, self-healing and disaster recovery," the company said in a blog posting. Developers can register here.

One thing not to look for is support for Transparent Data Encryption, or TDE, which Microsoft already said would not be supported in this release of SQL Azure Database. But Jennings also noted it will not support column level encryption.

"I don’t think its going to be a big issue because not many people are storing personally identifiable information in clouds yet," Jennings said, though it will be a hindrance to large organizations who want to process credit card payments, he said.

Microsoft's other key release is the CTP of SQL Server 2008 R2, which Microsoft said will add support for complex event processing (CEP) with a technology it calls StreamInsight. As reported here, Microsoft at TechEd announced plans to offer CEP, which enables algorithmic trading, fraud detection and click stream web analytics, among other real-time analytic capabilities. 

As you look at either or both of these CTPs, let me know what you think at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on August 19, 2009