Azure Data Studio vs SSMS

In this article, we'll compare and explain the capabilities of Azure Data Studio vs SSMS, so you can decide which product is best for you. We've covered all there is to know about the major differences between azure data studio (ADS) and SQL server management studio (SSMS) and their related concepts. Go through this complete article to know more about its uses, features then you can find which one is best required for your work.

When it comes to managing your SQL server database, you can use either azure data studio or SQL server management studio. Your unique needs and the circumstances around your usage will determine which option is best for you.

The main goal is to deliver a consistent database administration experience whether clients connect to on-premise or Azure-based data systems. Azure data studio outperforms Microsoft's flagship database administration tool, SQL server management studio (SSMS), for many typical operations. It should be noted, however, that SSMS will continue to be the primary tool for data platform administration owing to its extensive administrative capabilities.  Once you complete this blog, you should get a clear-cut idea about the two, which will assist you in picking the right one for your software usage.

Table of Content: Azure Data Studio vs SSMS

What is Azure Data Studio?

Azure Data Studio is "a database tool for data professionals that works across platforms." It is a database program compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux. It's aimed at data professionals working with Microsoft on-premises cloud data platforms. 

Azure Data Studio, built on visual studio coding, offers a streamlined and cutting-edge coding workflow for managing databases in SQL Server, Azure SQL database, and azure synapse analytics. The built-in capabilities of azure data studio, such as numerous tab windows and connectivity with source control (both Git and TFS), make the essential experiences of using azure data studio extremely simple. It allows you to conduct queries on demand, read and save results as text, JSON, or Excel, change data, and manage your chosen database connections. It also provides a familiar object browsing experience to study database objects.

You can manage databases in the cloud with azure data studio (ADS). As an extensible platform, ADS offers many advantages. Azure data studio is ideal for data professionals working with on-premises and cloud data platforms. 

Azure data studio and its data provider's source code are accessible on GitHub, which grants the ability to alter and use the program but not the right to transfer or host the software in a cloud service.

Some of the current editing features in azure data studio are IntelliSense, connectivity, code snippets with version control, and a built-in terminal. Built with the data platform user in mind, it includes dashboard customization and in-built visualization of query results.

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What is SQL Management Studio (SSMS)?

SQL management studio, often known as SSMS, is a standalone tool for configuring and managing SQL server applications and databases. 

Developers refer to SQL server management studio as "An integrated platform for running any SQL system." It provides a unified environment for managing any SQL infrastructure, including Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL database. It offers resources for setting up, maintaining, and managing SQL server and database instances. Build queries and scripts with it and deploy, monitor, and upgrade the data-tier components required by your applications.          

From the perspective of the ConfigMgr administrator (also known as SCCM), this is mainly carried out to produce SQL queries to identify different pieces of information, such as the list of installed programs, the details of the Office 365 app, the Windows 11 dashboard, Etc.

SQL developers focus more on query code than database administrators do. SQL developers are responsible for various tasks, including, but not limited to, writing complicated queries and working with stored procedures, views, and triggers. Therefore, SQL developers place a higher premium on a flexible and easy-to-use development environment that supports introducing new functionality. The first time to use SQL server management studio (SSMS) was with SQL server 2005, and you will be delighted. 

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Azure Data Studio Vs. SSMS

Users sometimes wonder which tool would be better, ADS or SSMS. It's important to remember that Microsoft created the management studio and the management client for different reasons. 

Here's a comparison of their primary functions to see how these two resources may be used in different situations.

Here it is if you need a quick summary of the main topics to help you decide.

SSMS is the best choice for you if

  • You require comprehensive configuration tools since database management is the focus of your job.           
  • You must manage users, configure security features, and identify vulnerabilities as part of security management.                  
  • You need access to registered servers and command over windows-based SQL server services. You must have reports for the SQL server query store.
  • You must have reports for the SQL server query store. 
  • You use third-party add-ons to fill the functional gaps (e.g., dbForge SSMS tools and add-ins).       

Azure Data Studio is the best choice for you if

  • You require a cross-platform SQL editing program that runs on Linux or macOS and has improved.
  • You use a variety of third-party add-ons and would always want to have access to them.                                                                                                
  • Advanced administration functions are not necessary. Your integrated terminal can handle the majority of your administrative tasks.
  • You are mainly concerned with creating and running queries, with little or no optimization to make them quicker. Additionally, you want to receive configurable graphic result sets.
  • You need the integrated Git source control management, which SSMS does not have.
  • You appreciate the support for applications like Jupyter Notebook that make sharing your searches easier.
  • It would be best to execute queries against SQL Server and PostgreSQL.
  • You can use a rapidly developing tool that is not as well established or documented as SSMS.

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Difference between ADS & SSMS- Which is better?

At the moment, it's clear that the champion is much stronger than the challenger, and the champion doesn't give up anytime soon. 

Of course, azure data studio could one day become strong enough to compete with SSMS in every way. The open-source software azure data studio has 418 GitHub forks and 5.32K GitHub stars. And it is valid today as a lighter tool that can make many tasks more manageable. The rest depends on whether or not you pay attention to those tasks. Still, you probably already know whom you think will win. We hope that we have helped you out.

Azure data studio has the best advantages, such as being available on multiple platforms, using notebooks, having a source control manager built-in, having better IntelliSense, and focusing on queries, which may be significant enough for you to choose it.


Azure Data Studio vs SSMS


Common uses of ADS

Azure data studio is becoming a handy resource even if there are still specific capabilities that might use improvement, such as more granular control over the SQL agent. It should be downloaded and experimented with right now. You've reached the perfect spot if you're interested in knowing the uses of azure data studio. 

  • It allows you to construct SQL queries and execute such queries as well.
  • You can use custom visualizations, save results in JSON format, and generate charts based on the results of SQL queries.
  • Using the integrated terminal, you can immediately perform sqlcmd, bash, and PowerShell commands within ADS.
  • You may become familiar with the powerful query editor, which features built-in code samples.
  • SQL server ADS connectivity is supported on Linux and macOS machines.
  • It might be the ideal choice if you don't have a high bar for usability and don't perform any administrative work.

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Common Uses Of SQL Server Management Studio

SQL server management studio is a no-cost, all-in-one program that connects to and works with SQL server databases, azure synapse analytics and Azure SQL databases. The SQL server management studio (SSMS) provides a graphical interface for administering SQL servers. Here are some uses of SSMS:

  • To handle intricate database management duties, you'll need it.
  • Availability solutions, including SQL server, always on availability groups and windows failover cluster, as well as performance optimization advisers and extended events.
  • Database schemas, table designers, and indexing wizards are all within your reach.
  • Server functionality registration or multi-server management is used.
  • The best use is to observe real-time query or client statistics, activity, and deadlock data.

Related Article : Azure Automation Features

Top Features of Azure Data Studio

The following are some useful features offered by Azure Data Studio:

Dashboards: SQL instance edition, backup statistics and version, and database sizes are just some of the server and database metrics that can be viewed from inside ADS' built-in dashboards. Similarly, you may tailor a dashboard that displays the outcomes of t-SQL queries.

Source Control:  The feature of Git source control has been added to azure data studio. When it comes to controlling their source code and releases and using a centralized code repository, developers might benefit from adopting source control.

Managed Instance Dashboard: The azure managed instance dashboard includes statistics for managed instance settings, the status of database replicas, CPU/storage consumption, and storage utilization for both local SSD storage and remote azure premium storage. In addition, the dashboard displays the status of database replicas.

Quick data export to JSON, CSV, or Excel: Using ADS, we can export the results in a hurry into formats such as CSV, Excel, JSON, or XML. Visualizing data with azure data studio is also possible using pie, scatter, line, bar, and plot charts. These charts do not require sophisticated setups.

Extensions: With the help of the extensions offered in the marketplace, azure data studio may be customized. For your particular needs, extensions may be installed and used right away. The most popular ADS extensions are

  • PowerShell: This addition gives ADS robust support for the PowerShell programming language, making it easier to build and execute PowerShell scripts using the outstanding editor. This plugin allows you to manage SQL Server agents and handle any issues.
  • Admin Pack for SQL Server extension: The SQL server agent, profiler, and import files, as well as the DACPAC file, are all brought together by the admin pack extension.
  • SQL Server Agent: You can manage and troubleshoot SQL Server agents if you install this extension.
  • SQL Server Schema Compare: When comparing DACPAC files and databases, you may use the schema compare extension to do so, and then you can apply the modifications made to the target from the source.

Server Reports: You may use server reports extensions to monitor DB buffer usage, DB space usage, backup growth trend, CPU utilization, and waits on your server.

Jupyter Notebooks: The Jupyter interactive notebook format is supported by the ADS for scripts written in Spark, SQL, Python, or Scala. They will just need one notebook to keep track of the code, the text, and the results. You can define connection information so scripts may execute and the results shared. Additionally, it enables Jupyter books, which are collections of Jupyter notebooks that can include additional Jupyter notebooks.

Top Features of SQL Server Management Studio

The following are the most useful aspects of the SSMS tool:

Always On Dashboards: For viewing availability group health, data transfer, synchronization statuses, availability group failover, and availability group settings, SSMS includes sophisticated, graphical dashboards built in. These dashboards may be used for monitoring if you've set up an availability group for high availability or disaster recovery.

Live Query Statistics: Monitoring a transaction still in progress is made easier using the live query metrics. While processing the query, you can watch the live query execution plan. Most of the time, it assists you in locating bottlenecks or stages in the execution of queries.

SQL Server Agent: SSMS makes it possible to schedule and automate various processes by providing access to SQL server agent configurations, jobs, alarms, operator setups, and proxy configurations.

Query Store: Users are granted the ability to analyze the past behavior of queries, as well as their execution plans, and to compel the adoption of the best execution plans to achieve the highest possible level of performance. To expedite the investigation of any performance concerns, the SSMS query store graphically displays the data.

Server Configuration: It is possible to set SQL server instance configurations using either the SSMS server or database property windows.

Maintenance Plans: The maintenance plans can configure regular database maintenance operations such as index maintenance, statistics maintenance, and backup maintenance, amongst other things.

Azure Data Studio vs SSMS - FAQs

1) Are SSMS and Azure Data Studio the Same?

Although SSMS has several functionalities that ADS do not, there are many features in ADS that SSMS lacks. So both are not the same; they differ in their particular features.

2) What is Azure Data Studio good for?

Azure Data Studio is a database application that works on macOS, Windows, and Linux as well as on-premises and cloud-based data platforms. It is used by data professionals. Azure Data Studio is a new way to edit, with code snippets, IntelliSense, source control integration, and an integrated terminal.

3) Does Azure Data Studio use SQL?

Azure Data Studio provides a modern, keyboard-focused SQL writing experience with built-in capabilities such as numerous tab windows, a robust SQL editor, keyword completion, IntelliSense, code navigation, code snippets, and source control integration (Git).

4) How do I Install Azure Data Studio with SSMS?

SQL management studio and Azure Data Studio are two entirely different apps that may be downloaded, installed, or upgraded independently of one another and without affecting an existing SQL (or SQL Express) database. SQL server express is installed, and these settings are automatically created by SCCM when a secondary site is set up.

5) Does Azure Data Studio replace SSMS?

Azure data studio looks to be a robust data exploration and analysis tool that might be used in place of SSMS. While SSMS still reigns supreme in some areas, such as support for SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), azure data studio includes several capabilities that make it a robust tool for data analysis.

6) What type of SQL does Azure Data Studio use?

Azure Data Studio gives you access to SQL Server 2014 and later, PostgreSQL servers, and of course Azure products like Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Managed Instance.

7) What is the difference between SQL Server and Azure SQL Server?

Despite the fact that they are both relational database management systems, they differ significantly. Azure SQL Database is a cloud-based service, whereas SQL Server is a local application. Microsoft controls the infrastructure and security of Azure SQL Database on your behalf.

8) Is Azure Data Studio an ETL tool?

Azure Data Factory is an ETL and data integration service in the cloud that lets you make workflows for moving and changing data.

9) Who uses Azure Data Studio?

Azure Data Studio is one of the most well-known solutions for database professionals that work with local and cloud platforms on macOS, Windows, and Linux. This product is a lightweight, modern environment for the development of SQL code that contains a number of embedded capabilities.

10) Is Azure Data Studio free to use?

Yes, Azure Data Studio is free to use for personal or business needs.

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Wrapping Up

The portability of azure data studio is its most notable strength; in contrast to SSMS, which is compatible with the Windows operating system, ADS can function on Linux platforms as well. That is a significant advance, and it is in keeping with Microsoft's overall strategy to expand its reach into the non-windows world. Spend some time becoming familiar with both sets of features so you can choose which one, ADS or SSMS, will serve your needs the best. 

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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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