Tutorial: Design a relational database in a single database within Azure SQL Database C# and ADO.NET

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 ADO.NET with Visual Studio to:

  • Create a single database using the Azure portal*
  • Set up a server-level IP firewall rule using the Azure portal
  • Connect to the database with ADO.NET and Visual Studio
  • Create tables with ADO.NET
  • Insert, update, and delete data with ADO.NET
  • Query data ADO.NET

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


The following Microsoft Learn module helps you learn for free how to Develop and configure an ASP.NET application that queries an Azure SQL Database, including the creation of a simple database.


An installation of Visual Studio 2019 or later.

Create a blank single database

A single database in Azure SQL Database is created with a defined set of compute and storage resources. The database is created within an Azure resource group and is managed using an database server.

Follow these steps to create a blank single 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

  3. 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.
  4. Click Server to use an existing database server or create and configure a new database server. Either select an existing 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

  5. Click Select.

  6. 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.

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

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

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

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


Create a server-level IP firewall rule

The SQL Database service creates an IP firewall at the server-level. This firewall prevents external applications and tools from connecting to the server and any databases on the server unless a firewall rule allows their IP through the firewall. To enable external connectivity to your single database, you must first add an IP firewall rule for your IP address (or IP address range). Follow these steps to create a SQL Database server-level IP firewall rule.


The SQL Database service communicates over port 1433. If you are trying to connect to this service 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 single database 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-level IP firewall rule

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

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

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

Your IP address can now pass through the IP firewall. You can now connect to your single database 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 IP firewall is enabled for all Azure services. Click OFF on this page to disable for all Azure services.

C# program example

The next sections of this article present a C# program that uses ADO.NET to send Transact-SQL (T-SQL) statements to the SQL database. The C# program demonstrates the following actions:

Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD)

The CREATE TABLE statements involve the REFERENCES keyword to create a foreign key (FK) relationship between two tables. If you're using tempdb, comment out the --REFERENCES keyword using a pair of leading dashes.

The ERD displays the relationship between the two tables. The values in the tabEmployee.DepartmentCode child column are limited to values from the tabDepartment.DepartmentCode parent column.

ERD showing foreign key


You have the option of editing the T-SQL to add a leading # to the table names, which creates them as temporary tables in tempdb. This is useful for demonstration purposes, when no test database is available. Any reference to foreign keys are not enforced during their use and temporary tables are deleted automatically when the connection closes after the program finishes running.

To compile and run

The C# program is logically one .cs file, and is physically divided into several code blocks, to make each block easier to understand. To compile and run the program, do the following steps:

  1. Create a C# project in Visual Studio. The project type should be a Console, found under Templates > Visual C# > Windows Desktop > Console App (.NET Framework).

  2. In the file Program.cs, replace the starter lines of code with the following steps:

    1. Copy and paste the following code blocks, in the same sequence they're presented, see Connect to database, Generate T-SQL, and Submit to database.

    2. Change the following values in the Main method:

      • cb.DataSource
      • cb.UserID
      • cb.Password
      • cb.InitialCatalog
  3. Verify the assembly System.Data.dll is referenced. To verify, expand the References node in the Solution Explorer pane.

  4. To build and run the program from Visual Studio, select the Start button. The report output is displayed in a program window, though GUID values will vary between test runs.

    T-SQL to 2 - Create-Tables...
    -1 = rows affected.
    T-SQL to 3 - Inserts...
    8 = rows affected.
    T-SQL to 4 - Update-Join...
    2 = rows affected.
    T-SQL to 5 - Delete-Join...
    2 = rows affected.
    Now, SelectEmployees (6)...
    8ddeb8f5-9584-4afe-b7ef-d6bdca02bd35 , Alison , 20 , acct , Accounting
    9ce11981-e674-42f7-928b-6cc004079b03 , Barbara , 17 , hres , Human Resources
    315f5230-ec94-4edd-9b1c-dd45fbb61ee7 , Carol , 22 , acct , Accounting
    fcf4840a-8be3-43f7-a319-52304bf0f48d , Elle , 15 , NULL , NULL
    View the report output here, then press any key to end the program...

Connect to SQL database using ADO.NET

using System;
using System.Data.SqlClient;   // System.Data.dll
//using System.Data;           // For:  SqlDbType , ParameterDirection

namespace csharp_db_test
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
                var cb = new SqlConnectionStringBuilder();
                cb.DataSource = "your_server.database.windows.net";
                cb.UserID = "your_user";
                cb.Password = "your_password";
                cb.InitialCatalog = "your_database";

                using (var connection = new SqlConnection(cb.ConnectionString))

                    Submit_Tsql_NonQuery(connection, "2 - Create-Tables", Build_2_Tsql_CreateTables());

                    Submit_Tsql_NonQuery(connection, "3 - Inserts", Build_3_Tsql_Inserts());

                    Submit_Tsql_NonQuery(connection, "4 - Update-Join", Build_4_Tsql_UpdateJoin(),
                        "@csharpParmDepartmentName", "Accounting");

                    Submit_Tsql_NonQuery(connection, "5 - Delete-Join", Build_5_Tsql_DeleteJoin(),
                        "@csharpParmDepartmentName", "Legal");

            catch (SqlException e)

            Console.WriteLine("View the report output here, then press any key to end the program...");

Methods that return T-SQL statements

static string Build_2_Tsql_CreateTables()
    return @"
        DROP TABLE IF EXISTS tabEmployee;
        DROP TABLE IF EXISTS tabDepartment;  -- Drop parent table last.

        CREATE TABLE tabDepartment
            DepartmentCode  nchar(4)          not null    PRIMARY KEY,
            DepartmentName  nvarchar(128)     not null

        CREATE TABLE tabEmployee
            EmployeeGuid    uniqueIdentifier  not null  default NewId()    PRIMARY KEY,
            EmployeeName    nvarchar(128)     not null,
            EmployeeLevel   int               not null,
            DepartmentCode  nchar(4)              null
            REFERENCES tabDepartment (DepartmentCode)  -- (REFERENCES would be disallowed on temporary tables.)

static string Build_3_Tsql_Inserts()
    return @"
        -- The company has these departments.
        INSERT INTO tabDepartment (DepartmentCode, DepartmentName)
            ('acct', 'Accounting'),
            ('hres', 'Human Resources'),
            ('legl', 'Legal');

        -- The company has these employees, each in one department.
        INSERT INTO tabEmployee (EmployeeName, EmployeeLevel, DepartmentCode)
            ('Alison'  , 19, 'acct'),
            ('Barbara' , 17, 'hres'),
            ('Carol'   , 21, 'acct'),
            ('Deborah' , 24, 'legl'),
            ('Elle'    , 15, null);

static string Build_4_Tsql_UpdateJoin()
    return @"
        DECLARE @DName1  nvarchar(128) = @csharpParmDepartmentName;  --'Accounting';

        -- Promote everyone in one department (see @parm...).
        UPDATE empl
            empl.EmployeeLevel += 1
            tabEmployee   as empl
        INNER JOIN
            tabDepartment as dept ON dept.DepartmentCode = empl.DepartmentCode
            dept.DepartmentName = @DName1;

static string Build_5_Tsql_DeleteJoin()
    return @"
        DECLARE @DName2  nvarchar(128);
        SET @DName2 = @csharpParmDepartmentName;  --'Legal';

        -- Right size the Legal department.
        DELETE empl
            tabEmployee   as empl
        INNER JOIN
            tabDepartment as dept ON dept.DepartmentCode = empl.DepartmentCode
            dept.DepartmentName = @DName2

        -- Disband the Legal department.
        DELETE tabDepartment
            WHERE DepartmentName = @DName2;

static string Build_6_Tsql_SelectEmployees()
    return @"
        -- Look at all the final Employees.
            tabEmployee   as empl
            tabDepartment as dept ON dept.DepartmentCode = empl.DepartmentCode
        ORDER BY

Submit T-SQL to the database

static void Submit_6_Tsql_SelectEmployees(SqlConnection connection)
    Console.WriteLine("Now, SelectEmployees (6)...");

    string tsql = Build_6_Tsql_SelectEmployees();

    using (var command = new SqlCommand(tsql, connection))
        using (SqlDataReader reader = command.ExecuteReader())
            while (reader.Read())
                Console.WriteLine("{0} , {1} , {2} , {3} , {4}",
                    (reader.IsDBNull(3)) ? "NULL" : reader.GetString(3),
                    (reader.IsDBNull(4)) ? "NULL" : reader.GetString(4));

static void Submit_Tsql_NonQuery(
    SqlConnection connection,
    string tsqlPurpose,
    string tsqlSourceCode,
    string parameterName = null,
    string parameterValue = null
    Console.WriteLine("T-SQL to {0}...", tsqlPurpose);

    using (var command = new SqlCommand(tsqlSourceCode, connection))
        if (parameterName != null)
            command.Parameters.AddWithValue(  // Or, use SqlParameter class.
        int rowsAffected = command.ExecuteNonQuery();
        Console.WriteLine(rowsAffected + " = rows affected.");
} // EndOfClass

Next steps

In this tutorial, you learned basic database tasks such as create a database and tables, connect to the database, load data, and run queries. You learned how to:

  • Create a database
  • Set up a firewall rule
  • Connect to the database with Visual Studio and C#
  • Create tables
  • Insert, update, delete, and query data

Advance to the next tutorial to learn about data migration.