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Azure Data Studio is a new cross-platform desktop environment for data professionals using the family of on-premises and cloud data platforms on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Previously released under the preview name SQL Operations Studio, Azure Data Studio offers a modern editor experience with lightning fast IntelliSense, code snippets, source control integration, and an integrated terminal. It is engineered with the data platform user in mind, with built-in charting of query resultsets and customizable dashboards.

Research has shown that users spend an order of magnitude more time working on query editing than on any other task with SQL Server Management Studio. For that reason, Azure Data Studio has been designed to focus deeply on the functionality that is used the most, with additional experiences made available as optional extensions into the product. This allows every user to customize their environment to the workflows that they use most often. Today we are pleased to announce the GA of the product, which will continue to be released on a monthly basis.

The vision of the product is to create a unified experience across heterogenous data sources regardless of their form or location: structured or unstructured, on-premises or cloud. Azure Data Studio currently offers built-in support for SQL Server on-premises and on the cloud and Azure SQL Database, along with preview support for Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure SQL Data Warehouse and SQL Server 2019 Big Data Clusters. Other preview experiences include Azure Data Studio Notebooks, Azure Resource Explorer, SQL Server Profiler, SQL Server Agent, SQL Server Import Wizard, and SQL Server PolyBase Create External Table Wizard. Due to the extensible nature of the product, Azure Data Studio also offers third party partners and community members to contribute their own experiences to the tool, including Redgate’s SQL Search extension.

We are proud to offer a preview of the first ever notebook experience for SQL Server in the Azure Data Studio SQL Server 2019 Preview Extension. Notebooks are one of the most common code development environments for data and serve multiple purposes in a modern data development workflow. Notebooks combine human readable documentation with executable code and resultsets, greatly improving the process of collaborating on data analysis. The Azure Data Studio notebook viewer uses the open source Jupyter server and file format, but adds in the modern, keyboard-focused coding environment and rich editor experience of Azure Data Studio, allowing users to write code in the language of their choice. Having a notebook embedded with Azure Data Studio allows seamless in-context operations such as launching notebook analysis on an HDFS file from the Object Explorer and connection to remote SQL Server big data clusters. In the CTP 2.0 Preview, notebooks may be run locally or against SQL Server big data clusters using Python and Scala, with additional language and endpoint support coming in a future preview, including a planned pure T-SQL notebook experience for the SQL Server user.

Azure Data Studio shares a heritage and a roadmap with SQL Server Management Studio, which has been a phenomenally successful and well-liked tool in its own right. Over the course of time, all of the management features of SQL Server Management Studio will be made available in Azure Data Studio and the two products will integrate smoothly with each other. At present, Azure Data Studio is tightly focused on the experiences around query editing and data development. Additional high-value administrative features such as backup, restore, agent job management, and server profiling are also available as extensions in Azure Data Studio. Azure Data Studio is also cross-platform, allowing users to work on their platform of choice. However, SQL Server Management Studio still offers the broadest range of administrative functions and remains the flagship tool for platform management tasks.

Azure Data Studio may be downloaded from here. You can participate in the future of the tool by entering or voting on feature suggestions, reporting bugs, or by contributing your own pull requests or extensions into the product. The team welcomes your feedback and will be adding capabilities on a monthly basis based on community requests.

When Should I Use Azure Data Studio vs SQL Server Management Studio?

Use Azure Data Studio if you:

  • Need to run on macOS or Linux
  • Are connecting to a SQL Server 2019 big data cluster
  • Spend most of your time editing or executing queries
  • Need the ability to quickly chart and visualize result sets
  • Can execute most administrative tasks via the integrated terminal using sqlcmd or Powershell
  • Have minimal need for wizard experiences
  • Do not need to do deep administrative configuration

Use SQL Server Management Studio if you:

  • Spend most of your time on database administration tasks
  • Are doing deep administrative configuration
  • Are doing security management, including user management, vulnerability assessment, and configuration of security features
  • Make use of the Reports for SQL Server Query Store
  • Need to make use of performance tuning advisors and dashboards
  • Are doing import/export of DACPACs
  • Need access to Registered Servers and want to control SQL Server services on Windows

Feature comparison

Shell Features

Feature Azure Data Studio SSMS
Azure Sign-In Yes Yes
Dashboard Yes
Extensions Yes
Integrated Terminal Yes
Object Explorer Yes Yes
Object Scripting Yes Yes
Project System Yes
Select from Table Yes Yes
Source Code Control Yes
Task Pane Yes
Theming Yes
Dark Mode Yes
Azure Resource Explorer Preview
Generate Scripts Wizard Yes
Import\Export DACPAC Yes
Object Properties Yes
Table Designer Yes

Query Editor

Feature Azure Data Studio SSMS
Chart Viewer Yes
Export Results to CSV, JSON, XLSX Yes
IntelliSense Yes Yes
Snippets Yes Yes
Show Plan Preview Yes
Client Statistics Yes
Live Query Stats Yes
Query Options Yes
Results to File Yes
Results to Text Yes
Spatial Viewer Yes
SQLCMD Yes

Operating System Support

Feature Azure Data Studio SSMS
Linux Yes
macOS Yes
Windows Yes Yes

Data Engineering

Feature Azure Data Studio SSMS
Create External Table Wizard Preview
HDFS Integration Preview
Notebooks Preview

Database Adminstration

Feature Azure Data Studio SSMS
Backup / Restore Yes Yes
Flat File Import Preview Yes
SQL Agent Preview Yes
SQL Profiler Preview Yes
Always On Yes
Always Encrypted Yes
Copy Data Wizard Yes
Data Tuning Advisor Yes
Error Log Viewer Yes
Maintenance Plans Yes
Multi-Server Query Yes
Policy Based Management Yes
PolyBase Yes
Query Store Yes
Registered Servers Yes
Replication Yes
Security Management Yes
Service Broker Yes
SQL Mail Yes
Template Explorer Yes
Vulnerability Assessment Yes
XEvent Management Yes