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What is Azure Data Studio?

What do you know about the database tool from Microsoft called Azure Data Studio? Azure Data Studio is a free Microsoft desktop tool (initially called SQL Operations Studio) that can be used to manage SQL Server databases and cloud-based Azure SQL Databases and Azure SQL Data Warehouse systems.

This lightweight, cross-platform database tool is based on Visual Studio code and runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It includes a SQL editor with IntelliSense keyword completion, code snippets, code navigation and Git source control integration.

SQL Server Management Studio will still be the champ for database administration tasks such as security management, importing and exporting a DACPAC and using performance tuning advisors and dashboards. But I believe for developers, especially Mac and Linux users, Azure Data Studio will become the go-to tool for doing SQL tasks.

As of March 2019, Azure Data Studio will now connect to SQL Server 2014 and higher, Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Managed Instance and Postgre SQL Servers.

A very useful feature of Azure Data Studio is its ability to create a SQL notebook. Notebooks is a document that can combine formatted text with live code elements, images and query results (you may have heard of them referred to as Python Jupiter notebooks). Now these can be used with SQL, as well as other programming languages such as Python, Scala and R.

To create a notebook, simply open Azure Data Studio and select new notebook from the file menu. If you add a code cell (or section) for code, you can enter SQL code, then execute it; just make sure the kernel is set to SQL and that the connection is pointing to the database you want it to work with before running the code.

The IntelliSense in Azure Data Studio will simplify code entry and the right-click menu offers some great options, including formatting the document, changing all occurrences of a selected word and taking a peek at the definition of the selected SQL object (like a table or stored procedure). This is great for helping you figure out what additional code you want to write, as well as copy/paste snippets from the definition to make sure that everything that you want to include is there.

I like to use notebooks for presentations. I can prepare a notebook to show in my presentations with code and results combined in a very convenient package. It’s also helpful when I need to establish a workflow in my demos that attendees can download in this notebook and repeat on their own.

Another interesting feature for troubleshooting is the ability to include results inside the notebook files, so you can create an empty notebook, add some queries and instructions to it, then send it to your client and make them run the queries and return it to you with the results populated. What comes to my mind in this use case is running the diagnostic queries in a notebook and then saving them as a baseline, then when I run it the next month, I can see what has/has not changed.

Azure Data Studio is a great tool to manage your SQL databases and warehouse systems.

Need further help? Our expert team and solution offerings can help your business with any Azure product or service, including Managed Services offerings. Contact us at 888-8AZURE or  [email protected].


Andie LetourneauWhat is Azure Data Studio?