If you’ve downloaded the SQL Azure Community Technology Preview (CTP) because you want to test Microsoft’s cloud-based database service before the final release, but it’s taking forever to migrate your data from SQL Server, you’re in luck: George Huey, a principal architect for Microsoft, has created a SQL Azure Migration Wizard that reduces the time it takes to move databases to the cloud.

Currently, you have to manually modify the SQL scripts of your databases before they can be migrated to SQL Azure. "In particular, the tooling through SQL Server Management Studio leaves a bit to be desired and some of the differences between what’s supported in SQL Server 2005/2008 versus SQL Azure can be a bit confusing.  It took me hours to manually modify the SQL script of a moderately complex database so that I could deploy it into SQL Azure," said Wade Wegner in his blog. Although this functionality should be fixed before SQL Azure is released, the SQL Azure Migration Wizard can help you more quickly migrate your databases to the cloud in the meantime. 

First, you must designate which SQL Server 2008 or 2005 databases you want to migrate to SQL Azure. (You can also select files that contain commands that you want to execute against SQL Azure.) The wizard then helps you through the process of selecting objects and choosing where these objects will be scripted. The SQL Azure Migration Wizard offers three scripting options: script to a wizard window, script to a file, or script to Azure. Scripting to a SQL Azure Migration Wizard window gives you the opportunity to modify the SQL code before it’s scripted to Azure. Saving your SQL code to a file enables you to modify it in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) before running it from there or using the wizard to run the file. And scripting directly to Azure is recommended if you know your database is compatible with SQL Azure. For more information about how this tool works, visit the SQL Azure Migration Wizard CodePlex page.

Wegner said "I used this tool against the same database that took me hours to manually migrate and the process only took a few minutes." If you'd like to see how this tool works before you download it, see Wegner's blog, which points you to a screen cast by Huey.

This free tool is available via CodePlex. It’s currently labeled an Alpha release, which means that tool is still in the early development stage (i.e., try this tool at your own risk). You can download the SQL Azure Migration Wizard from http://sqlazuremw.codeplex.com.

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