Azure Data Studio gets support for PostgreSQL, SQL Notebooks and more extensions

With the March release of Azure Data Studio, Microsoft has added support for PostgreSQL extension, SQL Notebooks, PowerShell extension, and a number of more features to the platform.

Microsoft had released the platform under the name SQL Operations Studio, but then changed it to Azure Data Studio. It is a multi-database, cross-platform desktop environment for data professionals who use on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Data Studio provides a modern editing experience to manage data across multiple sources. The editor features fast IntelliSense, code snippets, source control integration, and an integrated terminal.

Microsoft updates the platform on a monthly basis. And this month, Data Studio has got the preview support for PostgreSQL. It already supports SQL Server, Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and SQL Server 2019 big data clusters.

“The PostgreSQL extension in Azure Data Studio empowers users with their database development. The Azure Data Studio extension for PostgreSQL is backed up with a Tools API service that provides data management and high performant query execution capabilities,” wrote Alan Yu, Program Manager, SQL Server, in a blog post.

Second, SQL Notebooks (preview) is now available in Azure Data Studio. The new support will allow users to easily interleave written instructions, analysis, diagrams, and animated GIFs using markdown. They can then add code cells with the SQL code to be executed.

Third, Microsoft has now featured the PowerShell extension from Virtual Studio Code in the Azure Data Studio marketplace.

Fourth, the company has improved the Data-Tier Application Wizard with the addition of SQL Server dacpac as a separate extension.

Fifth, the extension is coming to Data Studio which will add integration support to visualize query plans. Users can get this extension from the Azure Data Studio marketplace.

Also read: Visual Studio IntelliCode can analyze C# code and share learning across team

Additionally, Microsoft has released updates to the SQL Server 2019 preview extension in Data Studio and fixed a number of bugs.

Articles Technology

SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 near End of Support. Here are new extended support options you should explore.

Today, the world is witnessing fourth industrial revolution. Everything is evolving due to rapid rise of new technologies and fusion of physical and digital spheres. Technology is the most important factor today that is bringing about this revolution. Microsoft’s  technologies are no exception and its almost each day that Microsoft is updating them and improving them to make the world a better connected, developed and secure place to live and work in.

In July 2018, Microsoft announced the End of Support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in mid-2018.

The 2008 release cycle saw a shift from 32-bit to 64-bit computing, advanced analytics and budding server virtualization technology. The new decade marks the era of hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence and other technological innovations.

What does SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 end of support mean for my business?

Microsoft offers 10 years of support to its servers – 5 years for Mainstream support and 5 years as Extended Support, under its lifecycle policy.

End of Support for SQL Server will end on July 9, 2019, and for Windows Server on January 14, 2020.

End of support means Microsoft will not be sharing any security updates or any other kind of support for the 2008 Windows and SQL servers, post the deadline. Lack of security updates will increase the risk of your infrastructure and expose it to cyber-criminals. Also, with no security updates, companies can face several compliance and standard issues. Especially, with GDPR regulations in action, you should not take risk for your business and incur any penalties.

The gravity of the situation lies in the increased risk of cyberattacks and other vulnerabilities on businesses which are not running on the latest server versions.

A report by Symantec, states:

  1. There has been an increase of 92% in new malware downloader variants.
  2. 46% increase in new ransomware variants.
  3. 600% increase in attacks against IoT devices.

You can clearly understand the risk you can put your business in, by not upgrading the software technology.

How to prepare for SQL Server and Windows end of support?

Microsoft ensures that its customers are completely supported during this phase of transition. The company introduced two new options to help organizations transit to the new decade.

New options for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 End of Life

With the deadlines approaching fast, customers have  very less time left with them to take an action.

Microsoft suggests its users to upgrade to the latest versions of both the software. This will help them leverage software assurance benefits for reduced security risks and continued security updates. However, for the customers who will not be able to make this transition by the end of the deadline, Microsoft has introduced new options:

  • Extended Security Updates by Migrating to Azure

For organizations, which are still running their infrastructure on-premises, the end of life is a golden opportunity to make a shift to the cloud. However, it is easier said than done. Hence, Microsoft is offering Extended Security Updates for SQL and Windows server 2008 for free in Azure for both 2008 and 2008 R2 versions of each. The organizations can:

  1. Rehost their SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with little to no code changes. Thus, getting a version free platform.
  2. Move to Azure Virtual Machines and upgrade to a newer version when they are ready. Here also, the customers get three years of extended support at no extra charges.
  3. Customers can use the existing licenses and save nearly 55 percent with Azure hybrid benefit. In case of Windows Server, they can save nearly 80% on Azure VMs through Reserved Instances and Hybrid benefits in Azure.

Customers do not need to have a Software Assurance when moving to Azure. However, they might require it if they wish to leverage Azure Hybrid Benefits.

  • Upgrade on-premises

This seems to be the most straight-away solution i.e. to upgrade to SQL Server 2017 and Windows Server 2016.

SQL Server 2017 is built for greater performance, security, availability and innovation with intelligent cloud analytics.

Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL servers under licenses with an active Software Assurance under an Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS), Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) can also purchase Extended Security Updates for three years post end of support deadline. The catch however, is that the customers will be able to buy security updates only for those servers they need to cover.

It should be noted that only Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard editions of SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be eligible for Extended Security Updates. Customers will need to get updated on the latest service pack for both the services in order to receive Extended Security Updates.

When will the Extended Security Updates option be available?

Those who opt for Azure migration, can begin migrating the workloads to Azure VMs immediately. They can apply security updates until the end of life deadline approaches. Once the deadline is over, Extended Security Updates will become automatically available for giving you continued coverage.

For those who opt for staying on-premises or on hosted environment, Extended Security Updates will be available for purchase as the deadline for end of life approaches. Microsoft will be announcing specific date for this purpose. Extended Support will be delivered immediately after the deadline ends.

Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 will include provision of security updates and other bulletins that are rated critical. These will be available for a maximum of three years post deadline.

This offer will not include:

  • Any technical support. Customers will have to buy Microsoft support plans if they need assistance on 2008/2008 R2 questions.
  • Any offer including, new features, design change, non-security hotfixes etc.
  • There will be no retroactive effect for any of the updates that was declined by the engineering teams in the past.

How much the Extended Security Updates cost?

In Azure: Customers who are running Windows Server or SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 in Azure will be getting Extended Security Updates at no extra charges above the standard VM rates.

Customers who will be moving to Azure SQL (PaaS) database managed instance will not need the Extended Security Updates as it comes as a fully-managed solution. It is always patched and updated by Microsoft.

Hosted: Customers will have to purchase Extended Security Updates for 75% of full on-premises license cost per year and later use them in a hosted environment.

On-Premises: Customers who own any active subscription licenses or software assurance will be able to purchase the Extended Security Updates for 75% of the EA license cost annually. They can also reduce cost by paying only for the servers they need to cover and gradually upgrade the environment.

Our take on the new options

Whether you choose to stay on-premises or in a hosted environment or consider this opportunity as a chance to make your move to the cloud, the only wrong choice you can take is by not making any choice at all.

Ceased support for the servers, is a new opportunity to innovate and explore new options in the cloud or on-premises.

Contact your Microsoft partner or a cloud service provider now, to get complete help and guidance.


Cloud Cloud News Datacenter News

Microsoft introduces services for moving SQL Server and applications to Azure to help customers get better ROI

Microsoft announced a number of new services and updates to its Azure cloud platform, aimed at making it easier for organizations to migrate mission critical database workloads to its cloud data centers.

The new services include SQL Database Managed Instance, Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server, Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL, Azure Database Migration Service and Azure Migrate.

The SQL Database Managed Instance is a managed version of SQL Server running in the cloud, which enables migration of SQL Server workloads to a completely managed database service. Currently available for preview, the new service is fully compatible with SQL Server engine and native virtual network (VNET).

To streamline databases migration to SQL Database Managed Instance, Microsoft also announced expanding Azure Database Migration Service (Azure DMS) for supporting SQL Database Managed Instance. DMS is a comprehensive solution for moving on-premises SQL Server to Azure SQL Database for complete database support.

“Managed Instance offers full engine compatibility with existing SQL Server deployments including capabilities like SQLAgent, DBMail, and Change Data Capture, to name a few, and built-on the highly productive SQL Database service,” wrote Rohan Kumar, Corporate Vice President, Azure Data, in a blog post.

Microsoft expanded its Azure Hybrid Benefit Program with support for SQL Server. Customers will now be able to move on-premises SQL Server licenses to Managed Instance. This program will help customers save up to 30% on SQL Database Managed Instance bills when migrating an existing license to Azure.

Azure database services for MySQL and PostgreSQL, which were available for preview since last year, are now generally available. These services will especially be helpful for those organizations who want to leverage benefits of open source software, without dealing with the hassles that come with scaling and patching databases.

“Azure database services for MySQL and PostgreSQL offer the community versions to ensure simplest migration and fastest path to development with these services on Azure,” added Kumar.

Also read: Microsoft Azure services to help government customers with digital transformation

Microsoft also announced general availability of Azure Migrate, the software for cloud migration planning. The Azure Migrate enables deep insight for cloud migration projects so that customers can know about right-sized resources, cost estimates, as well as guidance on workload readiness.


Microsoft launches SQL Server 2017 with Linux and Docker support

Microsoft, at its Ignite Conference, announced the general availability of SQL Server 2017, now with support for Linux and Docker. The SQL Server 2017 has come only 15 months or so after the launch of SQL Server 2016.

Microsoft is developing rapidly to deliver more features to align Azure database platform and provide more value to customers who pay for software assurance. Microsoft is making investments across their Data and Analytics portfolio to modernize the data estate.

Image Source: Microsoft SQL Server blog

SQL Server 2017
The SQL Server on Linux and Docker is a big news, since it delivers a mission-critical database with everything built-in, on the platform of developers’ choice. It’s going to bring seamless DevOps with Docker Enterprise Edition containers for more efficiency and simplicity.

SQL Server 2017 helps building intelligent apps using scalable and highly performant analytics of R and Python.

Customers will be able to discover new relationships using graph data management and analysis. It will be useful in detecting fraud or understanding pharmaceutical drug interactions, for example.

To avoid over- or under- memory to disk, SQL Server now has Adaptive Memory Grants which track and learn the amount of memory used by a given query over time.

Azure Functions in Azure Cosmos DB

Microsoft now offers support for Azure Functions in Azure Cosmos DB to build next-generation applications that can enrich the world. The developers can build globally distributed apps in a server-less architecture and these apps offers high performance with single-digit-millisecond latencies at 99th percentile anywhere in the world.

Image Source: Microsoft SQL Server blog

Easy lift and shift to the cloud using Azure SQL Database

Microsoft has announced the public preview for SQL Database Managed Instance and Azure Database Migration Service. Azure is going to be more logical and economical for existing SQL Server customers. Azure SQL Database also brings industry-leading security with the new Vulnerability Assessment, all on the same core as SQL Server.

The Azure Database Migration Service is useful for migrating database estate to Azure, which is more compelling than ever.

The addition of Azure Hybrid benefit to SQL Server will enable customers re-use on-premises SQL Server licenses to run database-as-a-service in Azure. It is more cost-effective compared to moving to other public clouds. It also has machine learning for R language analytics which helps building intelligent apps in cloud.

For automatic monitoring and detection of any degradations, SQL Server has Intelligent Insights.

Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory service helps customers create, schedule, and orchestrate data integration pipelines in the cloud or on premises. Customers can now easily lift server integration services (SSIS) to cloud using the SQL SSIS hosting. The customer with active SQL Server license will soon be able to access the benefits of Azure Hybrid clouds.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse

Azure SQL Data Warehouse, the managed petabyte-scale cloud data warehouse, offers 2x performance and 5x the scale of current performance tier. It leverages the latest Azure hardware to easily get done with most demanding data warehouse workloads. Unlimited columnar data can be stored with each warehouse.

Also read: Riverbed previews its new Azure-Ready Edge platform at Microsoft Ignite 2017

The SQL Server 2017 will be generally available from Monday, 2nd October, with the same licensing model and costs as they were for SQL Server 2016.


Microsoft Azure’s confidential computing to offer first of its kind data security capabilities

Microsoft has been spending over one billion dollars per year on cybersecurity to make Azure the most trusted cloud platform. Taking a step further in Azure’s data security abilities, Microsoft has now introduced Azure confidential computing, a collection of services and features that offers a protection missing from public clouds – encryption of data while being used.

Azure confidential computing will allow applications running on Azure to keep data encrypted not only when it’s at rest or in transit, but also when it’s being computed on in-memory. It will keep data secure even from Microsoft’s administrators, hackers, and government warrants.

The data is protected inside a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), also called enclave. None of the data or operations inside can be viewed from outside even through a debugger. Only authorized code is allowed to access the data. The operations are denied and environment is disabled, if the code is altered or tampered.

The developers be able to use different TEEs without having to change their codes. Initially the Confidential Computing supports two TEEs- Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) and Intel SGX. VSM, a software-based TEE, is implemented by Hyper-V in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.

“While many breaches are the result of poorly configured access control, most can be traced to data that is accessed while in use, either through administrative accounts or by leveraging compromised keys to access encrypted data,” wrote Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO.

The Azure team was working on this cloud solution, leveraging the Intel SGX technology, along with Microsoft Research, Intel, Windows, and with its Developer Tools group, for over four years.

Also read: Microsoft announces preview of burstable VM series

Microsoft will also be extending its in-house enterprise blockchain tools to provide additional security for SQL Server and SQL Database instances in Azure.

Azure is providing its confidential computing running in Microsoft Data centers in over 40 regions. It is now available in private preview as part of a special early access program.


Microsoft and Red Hat unite to help enterprises adopt containers easily for enhanced cloud experience

Microsoft and Red Hat announced a partnership recently which focuses on Red hat’s OpenShift container platform supporting Windows Server containers – a container technology of Microsoft, used for operating Windows applications in containers.

This includes Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated on Microsoft Azure, Windows Server containers on Red Hat OpenShift and SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift.

With the move, the companies joint focus will be to help enterprises get better agility and drive digital transformation with hybrid cloud. This will enable more and more enterprises to lift their workloads from Windows server and take them to containers to modernize their development workflows.

Alongside Microsoft, Red Hat is providing a way for organizations to make technology choices that matter to them, from containerized workloads to public cloud services, without adding complexity. Combined with our integrated support teams, we’re able to offer a pathway to the digital transformation that offers the capabilities, flexibility, and choice required to power the future of enterprise IT.” – Matthew Hicks, vice president, Software Engineering, OpenShift and Management, Red Hat

The companies also plan to provide enterprise customers with co-located integrated joint support to help them meet all challenges with ease.

Also read: Microsoft strengthens its position in the evolving container space with ACI Service

OpenShift, a Red Hat’s computer software product built from Kubernetes, will support both Linux and Windows container workloads via one platform across various hybrid cloud environments, making it simpler for organizations to modernize and scale operations using a single infrastructure stack.

Also, Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated on Microsoft Azure will help enterprise IT teams to deliver business value and foster innovation instead of micro-management of resources.

Microsoft and Red Hat are aligned in our commitment to bring enterprise customers the hybrid cloud solutions they need to modernize their businesses as they shift to operate in a cloud-native world. Today, we’re extending this commitment as we again join forces to bring fully integrated solutions that simplify container adoption and help customers make the most of their hybrid cloud strategies.” – John Gossman, Lead Azure Architect, Microsoft Corp.

Red Hat OpenShift Dedicated on Microsoft Azure will be open for general availability in May 2018.

Awards Editor's Choice Awards Hosting News

DailyHostNews Announces BigRock as Winner of the March 2013 Editors’ Choice Award

DailyHostNews announces BigRock web hosting, a provider of Domain Services, Web Hosting Services, E-Mail Hosting Services, Website Builder Solutions, and SSL Certificates as winner of it’s March 2013 Editor’s Choice Award. Given an overall “A” grade after a thorough evaluation of aforementioned services on various parameters, including, but not limited to representation of services in terms of ease of use for the end term user, services’ position as global market innovator, unique implementation features, scalability, speed, value for money, reliability, customer support and quality of online assistance resources; this Award recognizes the fact that BigRock’s services have top-shelf features and a market appeal second to none.

DailyHostNews announces BigRock as winner of Editor's Choice Award March 2013A full Internet services company, BigRock offers shared web hosting on Linux equipped with cPanel, Pearl, PHP, MySQL, Python etc. and on Windows equipped with Plesk, IIS, SQL Server, ASPplatforms and more. Linux webhosting plans start from a minimum of $1.59/Month offering one domain with 10 GB space and 200 emails.

Specialized hosting plans by BigRock include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Zencart and osCommerce packages. VPS hosting by BigRock scores high on scalability because of ease and swiftness of upgrading or downgrading of an existing plan and features 10 packages with the minimum one starting from Rs. 999.00/mo. Additional discount is provided if a customer chooses to prepay for 3 months, 6 months or a year. Editors at DHN found all the plans secure, reliable , feature-rich and guaranteeing excellent value for money.

The discounted price on prepay is also offered with Premium, Delux, Economy and Essential reseller packages . All of the plans provide fixed disk space allotment that can be managed via cPanel/WHM. Except the Essential Plan, which is priced at $ 19.49/ mo; every plan includes a WHMCS billing system. Particularly striking are BigRock’s website builder plans which provide 175 template designs, Easy-to-use DO-IT Yourself website builder tool and email accounts with blog and Social Network integration.

DailyHostNews Editors' Rating- BigHost WebHosting Services

All of the above mentioned plans have a great flexibility of payment options with Paypal and Credit Cards (Visa/MasterCard/American Express/Discover) as online methods and wire transfer as offline.

Out of the three 24*7 customer support mediums provided- Live Chat, Phone and Email, Editors at DHN preferred the phone method as it provided the fastest resolution of issues; however they found that all contact points were met with great response and resolution times. DHN found BigRock’s technical support team incredibly knowledgeable, informative, helpful and friendly. Along with the mediums listed above, BigRock also has a detailed and extensive Knowledge-base divided into categories indicating a particular Interface or a particular Product/Service which have been further divided into sub-categories and answers, detailing a particular action or query.

Based on the legal agreements reviewed, BigRock promises 99.9% uptime with dedicated 24/7 support and offers a 30 day money back guarantee upon submission of a cancellation request if a customer isn’t satisfied with the provided services.

Final Verdict: Founded in 2010, BigRock have established themselves extremely well in a very short span of time and this success is a testimony to their expertise in providing unparalleled, top-shelf, feature-rich and economical hosting plans with outstanding customer support.