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How to Build and Manage a Business Database Application on SQL Azure

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Faced with the need to create a business database, most people think "small database" they think of Microsoft Access. They might also add SQL Server Express edition or, perhaps, SQL Server Standard edition, to an Access implementation to provide users with relational features.

What all these solutions have in common is that they run on-premises -- and therefore require a server to run on, a file location to live in, license management and a back-up and recovery strategy.

A new alternative to these approaches to the on-premises database is SQL Azure, which delivers the power of SQL Server without the on-premises costs and requirements.

Microsoft SQL Azure Database is a secure relational database service based on proven SQL Server technologies. The difference is that it is a fully managed cloud database, offered as a service, running in Microsoft datacenters around the globe. It is highly scalable, with built in high-availability and fault tolerance, giving you the ability to start small or serve a global customer base immediately.
The resources on this page will help you get an understanding of using SQL Azure as an alternative database solution to Access or SQL Express.

Microsoft Learning—Introduction to Microsoft SQL Azure
This two-hour self-paced course is designed for IT Pros starting off with SQL Azure.
How Do I: Introducing the Microsoft Sync Framework Powerpack for SQL Azure (Video)
Microsoft’s Max Adams explains the Synch Framework and tools for synchronizing local and cloud databases.
Connection Management in SQL Azure
This TechNet Wiki article explains how to optimize SQL Azure services and replication.
Backing Up Your SQL Azure Database Using Database Copy
The SQL Azure Team Blog explains the SQL copy process between two cloud database instances.

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