Azure Data Studio: Purpose and functionality

Azure Data Studio is a new graphical user interface (GUI) application for connecting to SQL Server from Microsoft. In this blog article, we’ll look at why we need it and what this new tool is.

Why do we need another GUI tool from Microsoft:-
Microsoft SQL Server already have few GUI tools that allows various users i.e. Admins, Developers, Testers, business users to connect to the SQL Server from there Desktops, Servers or thin clients.
Then why use another GUI tool, such as Azure Data Studio in this case?
Since its introduction, SQL Server has been a database that has been installed on and used by Windows users all around the world. With SQL Server 2017, Microsoft opened up new options for SQL server by allowing it to run on operating systems other than Windows.

Microsoft SQL Server already has a few GUI tools that allow various users to access to the SQL Server from their desktops, servers, or thin clients, such as administrators, developers, testers, and business users.

Then why another GUI tool or in this case Azure Data Studio?

SQL Server since its inception has been a Database deployed on and used by Windows users across the globe. When Microsoft made it possible for SQL to be hosted on different OS other than Windows with SQL Server 2017 it opened up new possibilities for SQL server.
However, this does not warrant the development of a new GUI tool; users could have easily connected to SQL Server on these platforms using sqlcmd, but SQL Server’s USP has always been its simplicity of use via GUI tools, whether for a rookie user or an experienced Administrator.

To meet this need, Microsoft developed a completely new tool based on Visual Studio code that would allow cross-platform users to connect to databases housed on these operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, MacOS, and Cloud.

What is Azure Data Studio:-
Azure Data Studio, formerly known as SQL Operations Studio in preview, provides a wide range of capability and ease of use for a wide range of users. It has several tab windows, a SQL editor with intellisense, and Git integration for source control. For those of us who love Dark themes you can customize it to run Dark, Blue or default theme.

Multiple customised dashboards are available, as well as integration with various scripting languages (PowerShell, bash, ssh, sqlcmd, bcp) and extensions such as Adam Macahnics sp_whoisactive, Redgate SQL Search, AlwaysOn Insights, MSSQL Instance Insights, MSSQL Db Insights, making the life of a database administrator easier.

Post install as soon as you open the tool it opens right up without any noticeable lag time and gives you connection window shown below

Once you type in a SQL Server Instance name and connect to it you have even option of installing various extensions

This is one of the coolest features and allows a DB administrator or a developer to have various reports builtin the tool making it easier to troubleshoot in case of any issues on the server.


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