Set up sandbox environment

Here you'll set up the resources you'll need for use throughout this module. Let's envision a basic architecture consisting of a server hosting an application that your customers use, which connects to a database for the storage of its data. The application runs on a virtual machine, and the database has been recently migrated from a SQL Server database running on a VM to a database on the Azure SQL Database service. To show how you can secure your database, we're going to set up the following resources for use throughout this module:

  • A Linux VM named appServer. This server will act as the application server that users would be connecting to, and will need to connect to the database. We'll install sqlcmd on the VM to simulate an application running on appServer making connections to the database.
  • An Azure SQL Database logical server. This logical server is needed to host one or more databases.
  • A database on our logical server called marketplaceDb. We'll create it using the AdventureWorksLT demo database so we have some tables and data to work with. This will include some sensitive data, such as email addresses and phone numbers that we'll want to make sure are properly secured.

Let's get things set up!


Make sure you have activated the sandbox before proceeding with these instructions.

Create an Azure SQL Database

  1. First, let's set up some variables. Replace values below that are shown in <> with values of your choice. Note that the <password> must have at least eight characters and contain characters from at least three of these categories: uppercase characters, lowercase characters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters. Save the login for use later.

    # Set an admin login and password for your database
    export ADMINLOGIN='<ServerAdmin>'
    export PASSWORD='<password>'
    # Set the logical SQL server name. We'll add a random string as it needs to be globally unique.
    export SERVERNAME=server$RANDOM
    export RESOURCEGROUP=<rgn>[sandbox resource group name]</rgn>
    # Set the location, we'll pull the location from our resource group.
    export LOCATION=$(az group show --name <rgn>[sandbox resource group name]</rgn> | jq -r '.location')
  2. Run the following command to create a new Azure SQL Database logical server.

    az sql server create \
        --name $SERVERNAME \
        --resource-group $RESOURCEGROUP \
        --location $LOCATION \
        --admin-user $ADMINLOGIN \
        --admin-password "$PASSWORD"
  3. Now run the following to create the database called marketplaceDb on the logical server you just created. This will use the AdventureWorksLT database as a template so we'll have some pre-populated tables to work with.

    az sql db create --resource-group $RESOURCEGROUP \
        --server $SERVERNAME \
        --name marketplaceDb \
        --sample-name AdventureWorksLT \
        --service-objective Basic
  4. Let's do one last thing and get the connection string for this database.

    az sql db show-connection-string --client sqlcmd --name marketplaceDb --server $SERVERNAME | jq -r

    Your output resembles this. Keep this handy, you'll need this command to connect to your database later in this module. Note the <username> and <password> placeholders in the command that you will want to replace with the ADMINLOGIN and PASSWORD credentials you specified in variables earlier.

    sqlcmd -S,1433 -d marketplaceDb -U <username> -P <password> -N -l 30

Create and configure a Linux virtual machine

Now let's create the Linux VM that we'll use through some examples.

  1. Run the following command to create the VM.

    az vm create \
      --resource-group $RESOURCEGROUP \
      --name appServer \
      --image UbuntuLTS \
      --size Standard_DS2_v2 \
  2. Once your VM is successfully created, connect to it via SSH.

    ssh <X.X.X.X>


    Two things to note. First, we don't need a password because we generated an SSH key pair as part of the VM creation. Second, on the initial shell connection into the VM it will give you a prompt about the authenticity of the host. This occurs because we are connecting to an IP address instead of a host name. Answering "yes" will save the IP as a valid host for connection and allow the connection to proceed.

  3. Now let's finish things up by installing mssql-tools on the Linux VM so we'll be able to connect to our database through sqlcmd.

    echo 'export PATH="$PATH:/opt/mssql-tools/bin"' >> ~/.bash_profile
    echo 'export PATH="$PATH:/opt/mssql-tools/bin"' >> ~/.bashrc
    source ~/.bashrc
    curl | sudo apt-key add -
    curl | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/msprod.list
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo ACCEPT_EULA=Y apt-get install -y mssql-tools unixodbc-dev


    A lot of text will scroll by for some of these commands, so make sure you hit enter after the final command to ensure it runs.

We've created an Azure SQL Database logical server, a database on that logical server, and a virtual machine called appServer that we'll use to simulate network connectivity from an application server. Let's take a look at how we can properly secure our database.