What’s new in Azure SQL – May 2023

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

Today Data Exposed went live at 9AM PT for a special Ask Me Anything and news update. If you missed the episode, you can find them all at https://aka.ms/AzureSQLYT. This month we’ll recap all the updates in April. This was a special May the Fourth [be with you] episode, and we had great guests (and fun) with the product group and our MVP community.


By the way, if you want to see a summary of all the updates in 2022, check out the blog https://aka.ms/NewsUpdate2022. If you want a summary of all the updates in 2023’s first quarter, check out the blog https://aka.ms/newsupdate2023q1.


You can read this blog to get all the updates and references mentioned in the show. Here’s the May 2023 update:


Let’s start with Azure SQL Managed Instance, which had several general availability (GA) announcements in April. First, the GA of Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance for SQL Server 2016 and 2019 happened. This capability allows you to set up near real-time replication between a SQL Server and SQL MI. You can use this link for scale, migration, read-only workloads, etc. To learn more, review the announcement blog. The team also announced the GA of CETAS. This stands for Create External Table As Select, which essentially means you can create an external table while in parallel exporting the results of a SELECT statement. This has been a customer ask and you can learn how to take advantage of it here.


For Azure SQL Database, a couple things landed in the security space related to auditing and TDE. Auditing can be connected to a storage account using an access key, but now you can also use a managed identity! For more information, refer to the announcement blog. For transparent data encryption (TDE), using customer-managed keys (CMK) is something we’ve been working on. In public preview, we announced support for database-level as well as cross-tenant TDE with CMK for Azure SQL Database. Prior to this, TDE with CMK was always set at the server level, and is inherited by all encrypted databases associated with that server. The database-level feature allows setting the TDE protector as a customer-managed key individually for each database within the server. The cross-tenant feature allows you to use TDE with CMK without the need to have the Azure SQL logical server be in the same Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) tenant as the Azure Key Vault that stores the customer-managed key used to protect the server. In a limited preview, we recently announced DOP Feedback for Azure SQL Database, learn more about the preview here.


SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is powered by the SQL IaaS Agent extension, which enables you to get a lot of benefits for managing your SQL Server Azure VMs with ease. There are a couple of announcements in this space, including that we are retiring modes (no more selecting Lightweight or Full, you just pick to enable the features or not!). We also announced the GA of AAD authentication for SQL Server on Azure VMs. This is available starting with SQL Server 2022, and we have made it easy for you to enable and configure in Azure. Finally, we are always updating and enhancing the SQL IaaS extension, and now we have an auto-upgrade setting! This is on by default for new instances, but you can also opt-in. More information.


For Hybrid, we announced the new centrally managed Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. This is a new Azure portal feature that helps you improve SQL Server license management at multiple levels, including at account and subscription levels. More information.


On the tooling and developer front, Azure Data Studio 1.43 went GA, including SQL Database Projects extension GA, Connectivity improvements, and other ‘odds and ends’ as Erin Stellato says. Get the details in the release blog. I also want to highlight her awesome (and viral) blog called “April Tools Day” (released on April 1), where she debunks some myths about Azure Data Studio, SSMS, Drivers, and more. I don’t want to summarize it further, because you really should just go read it. We also open-sourced ScriptDOM, which is a powerful .NET library for code parsing, generating an abstract syntax tree (AST) that can be leveraged to apply code formatting, detect antipatterns, and more.



We continued to release new and exciting episodes this month. Here is the list, or you can just see the playlist we created with all the episodes!

  • Use Microsoft Purview DevOps policies to control access and limit insider threats
  • [MVP Edition] Bring your SQL expertise to the Data Lake with Serverless SQL Pools
  • Don’t let change pass you by! Get started with Change Tracking in your SQL Database
  • SQL Insider Series: Get Started with Azure Cognitive Search for Azure SQL
  • Registering SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with New IaaS Agent Extension Benefits (Ep. 12)
  • SQL Server 2022: T-SQL Enhancements [Ep. 6]
  • [MVP Edition] Capturing Query Metrics in Azure SQL Database

We’ve also had some great Data Exposed Live sessions this year. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them all and get notified when we stream.


If you are looking to attend some in-person and virtual events this month, the Azure Data team has you covered. We’ll be at the following events and are looking forward to seeing you there!

May 6:
SQLSaturday Jacksonville
- May 5: The SQL Server 2022 Workshop, Bob Ward
- May 6: SQL Server 2022 and the Wheel of Power, Bob Ward

May 12: New Stars of Data, Virtual
- From your Couch to the Cloud: When and Why to use the Azure Portal, Makena Barickman

May 15-17: Techorama, Belgium
- Confidential computing with Always Encrypted using enclaves, Pieter Vanhove

May 22-25: Dell Technologies World, Las Vegas
- Microsoft & Dell: Evolve your data strategy with SQL Server and Azure Arc, Bob Ward
- Take control of your data using Microsoft Azure Hybrid, Bob Ward

May 23: Red Hat Summit, Boston
Enterprise data management foundations: The benefit of Red Hat platforms for enterprise workloads, Bob Ward

May 23-25: Microsoft Build, Seattle & Online
- Increase developer velocity with Azure SQL Database, from data to API
- Modernize your applications on Azure SQL Managed Instance Q&A
- Do more on Azure SQL Database Hyperscale Q&A
- Protect your data from tampering with ledger in Azure Managed Instance
- Further, Faster, with Azure Functions and Azure SQL Integration

Blogs to follow

There are a lot of blogs that I follow to stay up to date. If you want more details than I give here, I recommend checking out:


Anna’s Pick of the Month

You’ve been hearing a lot about OpenAI and ChatGPT. My pick of the month comes from Valentina Alto, who wrote a super fascinating blog which details how you can use Azure OpenAI and Azure SQL Database to query your SQL tables. You don’t want to miss it!


Until next time…

That’s it for now! Be sure to check back next month for the latest updates. We also release new episodes of Data Exposed on Thursdays at 9AM PT and new #MVPTuesday episodes on the last Tuesday of every month at 9AM PT at aka.ms/DataExposedyt.


Having trouble keeping up? Be sure to follow us on twitter to get the latest updates on everything, @AzureSQL.


We hope to see you next time, on Data Exposed :)

--Anna and Marisa

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