As a SQL Azure Program Manager at Microsoft, one of the most common questions we get from customers is how to get their data into the cloud. Just like SQL Server, SQL Azure has import tools like BCP that allow you to build scripts to load your data. I have never been completely happy with these solutions because for many people, they just want a quick and easy way to load their data and don’t want to mess around with complex command line tools or deal with firewall issues associated with connecting on-premises systems to the cloud. That was a primary reason why our group chose to create a SQL Azure Lab called: Microsoft Codename “Data Transfer”.
The purpose of this data transfer service is really simple. To give you an easy way to load your Excel or CSV (Comma Separated) files into SQL Azure. All you need to do is tell us where you want us to load your data to, point us at the file and we will do the rest.
A big piece of the work that we do for you is in what we call “Data Type Guessing”. This is where we look at your file and makes some guesses as to the best data-type to use when creating the SQL Azure table. Much of this is based on the years of experience we have gained from the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) technology. Although these guesses can be over-ridden by more advanced users, it is our belief that most people will just want to get it up there so that they can continue with their work.
The other capability Microsoft Codename “Data Transfer” provides is the ability to upload files to Windows Azure Blob store. Once again, this is pretty simple. You choose the Windows Azure blob storage account you want us to upload the file to, choose the file and you are done. From here, we upload the file and provide you with a private link that allows you to view, share or use that file.
I hope you will give this Data Transfer service a try and let me know what you think. Do you like the idea? Are there other sources, destinations or new features you would like us to add?
I can be contacted by email at: Liam <dot> Cavanagh AT Microsoft <dot> com.