I was excited to see the announcement that Sitecore 8.2 has been released. As a Sitecore MVP, I have had some early access to the platform and there are lots of great things to talk about that will warrant their own blog posts. One thing that has not received as much press is a small indication that Sitecore is more closely aligning with Microsoft Azure.
Sitecore 8.2 is the first version that officially supports using Microsoft Azure SQL, which is the Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering of SQL Server provided in Azure. Up until this point, the only supported way that you could run Sitecore in Azure was either fully Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or through the Sitecore Azure module, which does provide full support for many of Sitecore’s modules.
Sitecore now ship with two options for restoring the standard databases that Sitecore provides. The .mdf and .ldf files common to any on-premise implementation are still there, but there is now a folder of DACPAC files utilized to deploy to Microsoft Azure SQL. These files can be deployed to your instance in Azure either through Powershell or through the standard SQL Server Management Studio 2016. More information on restoring these here.
Microsoft Azure SQL allows teams to focus on the application level architecture, relying on Microsoft Azure to handle scaling, backups and performance of SQL Server.