Azure Data Studio: Purpose and functionality

Microsoft has introduced a new GUI tool to connect to SQL server named Azure Data Studio.Why do we need it and what is this new tool we will see in this blog post.

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 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 still it does not justify the creation of a new GUI tool, Users could have easily used sqlcmd to connect to SQL Server on these platform but the USP of SQL Server has always been its ease of use through GUI tools be it for a novice user or an experienced Administrator.

To address this requirement Microsoft created a brand new tool based on Visual Studio code which will allow cross-platform user i.e. Linux, Windows, MacOS, Cloud to connect to there Database hosted on these Operating Systems.


What is Azure Data Studio:-
Azure Data Studio whose preview name was SQL Operations Studio, offers plethora of functionality and ease of use keeping in mind a broad spectrum of users. It has multiple tab windows, SQL editor with intellisense, and also offers source control integration through Git. For those of us who love Dark themes you can customize it to run Dark, Blue or default theme.
User is offered multiple customized dashboards, Integration with different scripting languages(PowerShell, bash, ssh, sqlcmd, bcp) and even offers various extensions like Adam Macahnics sp_whoisactive, Redgate SQL Search, AlwaysOn Insights, MSSQL Instance Insights, MSSQL Db Insights making life of a Database administrator easy.

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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