Tutorial: Design your first Azure SQL database using SSMS

Azure SQL database is a relational database-as-a-service (DBaaS) in the Microsoft Cloud (Azure). In this tutorial, you learn how to use the Azure portal and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) to:

  • Create a database in the Azure portal*
  • Set up a server-level firewall rule in the Azure portal
  • Connect to the database with SSMS
  • Create tables with SSMS
  • Bulk load data with BCP
  • Query data with SSMS

*If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.


For the purpose of this tutorial, we are using the DTU-based purchasing model, but you do have the option of choosing the vCore-based purchasing model.


To complete this tutorial, make sure you've installed:

Sign in to the Azure portal

Sign in to the Azure portal.

Create a blank database

An Azure SQL database is created with a defined set of compute and storage resources. The database is created within an Azure resource group and in an Azure SQL database logical server.

Follow these steps to create a blank SQL database.

  1. Click Create a resource in the upper left-hand corner of the Azure portal.

  2. On the New page, select Databases in the Azure Marketplace section, and then click SQL Database in the Featured section.

    create empty-database

    1. Fill out the SQL Database form with the following information, as shown on the preceding image:

      Setting       Suggested value Description 
      Database name yourDatabase For valid database names, see Database identifiers.
      Subscription yourSubscription For details about your subscriptions, see Subscriptions.
      Resource group yourResourceGroup For valid resource group names, see Naming rules and restrictions.
      Select source Blank database Specifies that a blank database should be created.
    2. Click Server to use an existing server or create and configure a new server for your database. Either select the server or click Create a new server and fill out the New server form with the following information:

      Setting       Suggested value Description 
      Server name Any globally unique name For valid server names, see Naming rules and restrictions.
      Server admin login Any valid name For valid login names, see Database identifiers.
      Password Any valid password Your password must have at least eight characters and must use characters from three of the following categories: upper case characters, lower case characters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters.
      Location Any valid location For information about regions, see Azure Regions.

      create database-server

      Click Select.

    3. Click Pricing tier to specify the service tier, the number of DTUs or vCores, and the amount of storage. You may explore the options for the number of DTUs/vCores and storage that is available to you for each service tier. By default, the Standard DTU-based purchasing model is selected, but you do have the option of choosing the vCore-based purchasing model.


      More than 1 TB of storage in the Premium tier is currently available in all regions except the following: UK North, West Central US, UK South2, China East, USDoDCentral, Germany Central, USDoDEast, US Gov Southwest, US Gov South Central, Germany Northeast, China North, US Gov East. In other regions, the storage max in the Premium tier is limited to 1 TB. See P11-P15 Current Limitations.

      After selecting the service tier, the number of DTUs, and the amount of storage, click Apply.

    4. Enter a Collation for the blank database (for this tutorial, use the default value). For more information about collations, see Collations

  3. Now that you've completed the SQL Database form, click Create to provision the database. This step may take a few minutes.

  4. On the toolbar, click Notifications to monitor the deployment process.


Create a firewall rule

The SQL database service creates a firewall at the server-level. The firewall prevents external applications and tools from connecting to the server and any databases on the server. To enable external connectivity to your database, you must first add a rule for your IP address to the firewall. Follow these steps to create a SQL database server-level firewall rule.


SQL database communicates over port 1433. If you are trying to connect from within a corporate network, outbound traffic over port 1433 may not be allowed by your network's firewall. If so, you cannot connect to your Azure SQL Database server unless your administrator opens port 1433.

  1. After the deployment completes, click SQL databases from the left-hand menu and then click yourDatabase on the SQL databases page. The overview page for your database opens, showing you the fully qualified Server name (such as yourserver.database.windows.net) and provides options for further configuration.

  2. Copy this fully qualified server name for use to connect to your server and databases from SQL Server Management Studio.

    server name

  3. Click Set server firewall on the toolbar. The Firewall settings page for the SQL database server opens.

    server firewall rule

    1. Click Add client IP on the toolbar to add your current IP address to a new firewall rule. A firewall rule can open port 1433 for a single IP address or a range of IP addresses.

    2. Click Save. A server-level firewall rule is created for your current IP address opening port 1433 on the logical server.

    3. Click OK and then close the Firewall settings page.

Your IP address can now pass through the firewall. You can now connect to the SQL database server and its databases using SQL Server Management Studio or another tool of your choice. Be sure to use the server admin account you created previously.


By default, access through the SQL database firewall is enabled for all Azure services. Click OFF on this page to disable for all Azure services.

Connect to the database

Use SQL Server Management Studio to establish a connection to your Azure SQL database server.

  1. Open SQL Server Management Studio.

  2. In the Connect to Server dialog box, enter the following information:

    Setting       Suggested value Description 
    Server type Database engine This value is required.
    Server name The fully qualified server name For example, yourserver.database.windows.net.
    Authentication SQL Server Authentication SQL Authentication is the only authentication type that we've configured in this tutorial.
    Login The server admin account The account that you specified when you created the server.
    Password The password for your server admin account The password that you specified when you created the server.

    connect to server

    1. Click Options in the Connect to server dialog box. In the Connect to database section, enter yourDatabase to connect to this database.

      connect to db on server

    2. Click Connect. The Object Explorer window opens in SSMS.

  3. In Object Explorer, expand Databases and then expand yourDatabase to view the objects in the sample database.

    database objects

Create tables in the database

Create a database schema with four tables that model a student management system for universities using Transact-SQL:

  • Person
  • Course
  • Student
  • Credit

The following diagram shows how these tables are related to each other. Some of these tables reference columns in other tables. For example, the Student table references the PersonId column of the Person table. Study the diagram to understand how the tables in this tutorial are related to one another. For an in-depth look at how to create effective database tables, see Create effective database tables. For information about choosing data types, see Data types.


You can also use the table designer in SQL Server Management Studio to create and design your tables.

Table relationships

  1. In Object Explorer, right-click yourDatabase and select New Query. A blank query window opens that is connected to your database.

  2. In the query window, execute the following query to create four tables in your database:

    -- Create Person table
        FirstName NVARCHAR(128) NOT NULL,
        MiddelInitial NVARCHAR(10),
        LastName NVARCHAR(128) NOT NULL,
        DateOfBirth DATE NOT NULL
    -- Create Student table
    CREATE TABLE Student
        PersonId INT REFERENCES Person (PersonId),
        Email NVARCHAR(256)
    -- Create Course table
        Name NVARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,
        Teacher NVARCHAR(256) NOT NULL
    -- Create Credit table
        StudentId INT REFERENCES Student (StudentId),
        CourseId INT REFERENCES Course (CourseId),
        Grade DECIMAL(5,2) CHECK (Grade <= 100.00),
        Attempt TINYINT,
        CONSTRAINT [UQ_studentgrades] UNIQUE CLUSTERED
            StudentId, CourseId, Grade, Attempt

    Create tables

  3. Expand the Tables node under yourDatabase in the Object Explorer to see the tables you created.

    ssms tables-created

Load data into the tables

  1. Create a folder called sampleData in your Downloads folder to store sample data for your database.

  2. Right-click the following links and save them into the sampleData folder.

  3. Open a command prompt window and navigate to the sampleData folder.

  4. Execute the following commands to insert sample data into the tables replacing the values for server, database, user, and password with the values for your environment.

    bcp Course in SampleCourseData -S <server>.database.windows.net -d <database> -U <user> -P <password> -q -c -t ","
    bcp Person in SamplePersonData -S <server>.database.windows.net -d <database> -U <user> -P <password> -q -c -t ","
    bcp Student in SampleStudentData -S <server>.database.windows.net -d <database> -U <user> -P <password> -q -c -t ","
    bcp Credit in SampleCreditData -S <server>.database.windows.net -d <database> -U <user> -P <password> -q -c -t ","

You have now loaded sample data into the tables you created earlier.

Query data

Execute the following queries to retrieve information from the database tables. See Write SQL queries to learn more about writing SQL queries. The first query joins all four tables to find the students taught by 'Dominick Pope' who have a grade higher than 75%. The second query joins all four tables and finds the courses in which 'Noe Coleman' has ever enrolled.

  1. In a SQL Server Management Studio query window, execute the following query:

    -- Find the students taught by Dominick Pope who have a grade higher than 75%
    SELECT  person.FirstName, person.LastName, course.Name, credit.Grade
    FROM  Person AS person
        INNER JOIN Student AS student ON person.PersonId = student.PersonId
        INNER JOIN Credit AS credit ON student.StudentId = credit.StudentId
        INNER JOIN Course AS course ON credit.CourseId = course.courseId
    WHERE course.Teacher = 'Dominick Pope'
        AND Grade > 75
  2. In a query window, execute the following query:

    -- Find all the courses in which Noe Coleman has ever enrolled
    SELECT  course.Name, course.Teacher, credit.Grade
    FROM  Course AS course
        INNER JOIN Credit AS credit ON credit.CourseId = course.CourseId
        INNER JOIN Student AS student ON student.StudentId = credit.StudentId
        INNER JOIN Person AS person ON person.PersonId = student.PersonId
    WHERE person.FirstName = 'Noe'
        AND person.LastName = 'Coleman'

Next steps

In this tutorial, you learned many basic database tasks. You learned how to:

  • Create a database
  • Set up a firewall rule
  • Connect to the database with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
  • Create tables
  • Bulk load data
  • Query that data

Advance to the next tutorial to learn about designing a database using Visual Studio and C#.