What’s New for SQL Server in Azure – January 2017

Author by Jes Borland

The biggest announcement this month is increased read and write performance for SQL Database. All tiers will benefit from doubled write performance. Premium tiers will see doubled read performance as well. You should see the throughput on inserts, updates, and deletes increase; and response times for select statements decrease in Premium. I’m looking forward to running some throughput tests on databases to see the results.

There’s a new way to run queries against an Azure SQL Database. The interactive query experience allows you to run queries directly from the Portal. The biggest benefit I see to this is not having to add firewall rules to every SQL server to get basic information. To access the Query editor, go to a SQL Database > Overview > Tools > Query editor. You’ll have to log in to the database, then you have the option to create a new query or open an existing file. In this screenshot, I’ve opened a file to run DMV queries.  

There’s another update to clustered columnstore indexes in SQL Database - they now allow string and binary data types, such as NVARCHAR(MAX), VARCHAR(MAX), and VARBINARY(MAX). At this time, remember, clustered columnstore is only available in Premium tiers.

New T-SQL has been introduced for memory-optimized tables and natively compiled stored procedures in SQL Database, also. The new features include: computed columns on memory-optimized tables, indexes on persisted computed columns in the tables, and JSON and CROSS APPLY in stored procedures. This brings the feature set for in-memory objects closer to on-disk objects.

The Azure Portal is a constant work in progress, as well. Now, if you’d like to know what the next features and improvements will be, you can go to https://preview.portal.azure.com to see! Learn more about the Portal preview here.


Jes Borland

Senior SQL Server Engineer

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