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Microsoft to switch cloud SQL Server from Web APIs to relational one

Changes will give developers more control over manipulating data, ease porting apps to the cloud

By Eric Lai
March 10, 2009 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. said today that its upcoming hosted database service will switch from standard Web programming interfaces to the same relational one used by its on-premise counterpart.

The software maker said it will give developers more control over manipulating data as well as make it easier for them to port existing database applications to the cloud.

SQL Server Data Services (SDS) will connect to database applications via Tabular Data Stream (TDS), the same protocol used by SQL Server, according to a posting at Microsoft's Data Platform Insider blog.

TDS is compatible with Transact-SQL (T-SQL), a proprietary version of the SQL language long used by database developers to write applications for every major database. T-SQL works with SQL Server and Sybase Corp.'s Adaptive Server Enterprise.

The announcement confirmed a report several weeks ago that Microsoft planned to bring "full SQL Server" to its cloud service.

In testing thus far, SDS had connected to applications via general-purpose Web application programming interfaces (API) such as Representational State Transfer and Simple Object Access Protocol. Although they are popular open standards, REST and SOAP are less fine-tuned for pulling and crunching data compared with T-SQL, say the latter's advocates.

Microsoft plans to "decommission" REST and SOAP support, according to the blog. Programmers who are more comfortable with those interfaces, however, can continue to use them by "building custom services with ADO.Net Data Services" or through the table-storage feature of Microsoft's application-hosting platform, Windows Azure, according to the blog.

SDS with TDS support will be available as a public community technical preview by the middle of this year, and it will launched in the second half of the year.

Read more about Databases in Computerworld's Databases Topic Center.

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