At this point there should be no question that Microsoft is fully embracing the cloud. Windows Azure and SQL Azure launched earlier this year and have been receiving positive feedback. I’ve been happily using SQL Azure for several months. One of the great aspects of SQL Azure is the integration with the standard tooling, e.g. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). This is sort of like how I can connect Outlook to my personal e-mail account with my service provider.

However, I‘m not always on a machine with Outlook or with Outlook configured for my mail account. In these cases I opt for the browser email client provided by my service provider. Up until last week the only option provided by Microsoft for using SQL Azure was SSMS. If you didn’t already have SSMS you could download and install it, which isn’t always a practical solution. You’ll notice I said up until last week. Last week we announced a Community Technology Preview (CTP) for Project Houston. In short, Houston is a Silverlight client for managing your SQL Azure database, developed by none other than my team

Mary-Jo Foley recently wrote about Project Houston: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-delivers-test-build-of-tool-for-cloud-database-development/6910

In addition, a simple Twitter search on the tag #SQLHouston will yield a plethora of results. We’re also tweeting about it under the user name @SQLHouston.

You can access the CTP of Project Houston @ https://manage.sqlazurelabs.com/ and be sure to send us your feedback and suggestions. You can learn more about Project Houston and how to send us your feedback here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlazure/archive/2010/07/26/10042571.aspx