Database Lifecycle Management (DLM)

Database lifecycle management (DLM) is a policy-based approach to managing databases and data assets. DLM is not a product but a comprehensive approach to managing the database schema, data, and metadata for a database application. A thoughtful and proactive approach to DLM enables an organization to manage data resources according to appropriate levels of performance, protection, availability, and cost.

DLM begins with discussion of project design and intent, continues with database develop, test, build, deploy, maintain, monitor, and backup activities, and ends with data archive. This topic provides an overview of the stages of DLM that begin with database development and progress through build, deploy, and monitor actions (Figure 1). Also included are data management activities and data portability operations like import/export, backup and restore, migrate, and sync.

How to Use this Topic

Use the SQL Server Database Lifecycle Management diagram to identify the actions that apply to your database scenarios. To get additional information about a specific DLM task, scroll down to the links and click a topic name.

Database Lifecycle Management

Figure 1. Database Lifecycle Management scenarios and tasks for Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database.

Database Lifecycle Management Tools and Scenarios

Use the links in the following tables to view documentation and video presentations about database lifecycle management.

  • SQL Server Data Tools

  • SQL Server Management Studio

  • Azure SQL Database

SQL Server Data Tools

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is the final name for the software application formerly known as SQL Server Developer Tools, Code-Named “Juneau”. SSDT provides a modern database development experience for the SQL Server and SQL Azure database developer. As the supported SQL Azure development platform, SSDT will be regularly updated online to ensure that it keeps pace with the latest SQL Azure features.

The following table links to videos and documentation about database development tasks using SQL Server Data Tools.

SSDT free download

Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) - Includes a link to the free SSDT product download, a beginner’s guide, a list of additional resources, and a link to the SSDT community forum.

Get started with SSDT

Get Started with SQL Server Data Tools - Introductory video demonstrations by Gert Drapers, an FAQ page, and links to additional SSDT resources.

Database development

Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools: Database Development from Zero to Sixty - A database development video demonstration.

Development best practices

Data Development Technical Articles - Technical documentation, videos, webcasts, and code samples for database application developers.

Database migration

SqlPackage.exe - Documents the SqlPackage.exe command line utility that automates database migration and portability tasks, including Extract, Export, Import, Publish, DeployReport, DriftReport, and Script.


Azure SQL Database Tools and Utilities Support - Describes tools and utilities that can be used with Windows Azure SQL Database.


Azure SQL Database Guidelines and Limitations - Describes differences between Widows Azure SQL Database and on-premise instances of SQL Server.


SQL Server Data Tools Team Blog - Official team blog for SSDT on and off-premise database development.

SQL Server Management Studio

SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is a software application used for accessing, configuring, managing, and administering all components of SQL Server. SSMS includes both script editors and graphical tools that work with SQL Server objects and features.

The following table links to videos and documentation about database monitoring and management tasks using SQL Server Management Studio.

SSMS free download

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express - Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express is a powerful and reliable free data management system that delivers a rich and reliable data store for lightweight web sites and desktop applications.

Backup and restore

Backup and Restore of SQL Server Databases - Describes the benefits of backing up SQL Server databases, covers basic backup and restore terms, introduces backup and restore strategies for SQL Server, and presents security considerations for SQL Server backup and restore.

Migration to Windows Azure

Migrating Databases to Windows Azure SQL Database - This topic describes various options to migrate an existing SQL Server database to Azure SQL Database.

Hybrid architectures

The New World of Data: SQL Server and Hybrid IT - This video discusses solutions that span on-premise and cloud environments.

Data sync

SQL Data Sync - Describes how to use the SQL Data Sync user interface to easily create and schedule bi-directional data synchronizations between the cloud and on-premise instances of SQL Server.


SQL Server Blog - The official team blog for SQL Server.

Azure SQL Database

Azure SQL Database enables organizations to rapidly create, scale and extend applications into the cloud with familiar tools and is built on core SQL Server technology.

The following table links to videos and documentation about database monitoring and management tasks that use the SQL Database service.

Get the free trial

Azure 90-day Free Trial - A free trial offer that provides you 90 days to deploy web sites to the cloud, run virtual machines, create scalable applications, and add a scalable, secure back-end to a mobile application.


Getting Started with Microsoft Azure SQL Database - Learn the fundamentals of Azure SQL Database administration using the Azure Management Portal. If you are new to database administration, you can follow these lessons to learn essential skills in about 30 minutes.

Azure training

Azure Readiness Content - The Azure Readiness Content provides a set of presentations and demos designed to help learn the latest Microsoft Azure features and services.

Performance monitoring

sys.dm_db_wait_stats - Returns information about all the waits encountered by threads that executed during operation. You can use this aggregated view to diagnose performance issues with Azure SQL Database and also with specific queries and batches.


Monitor Windows Azure SQL Database Using Dynamic Management Views - Provides information on how to use dynamic management views to detect common performance problems caused by blocked or long-running queries, resource bottlenecks, or poor query plans.

Backup and restore

Azure SQL Database Backup and Restore - Backing up and restoring data is different in Azure SQL Database than for an on-premise SQL Server. This topic describes the recommended strategy to backup and restore an Azure SQL database.

Import and export

How to: Use the Import and Export Service in Azure SQL Database – Describes how to create a logical backup (BACPAC) file that contains the schema definition and a table data for an Azure SQL database.

Database portability

How to: Use the Import and Export Service in Azure SQL Database - Describes how to use Azure SQL Database Import and Export operations to copy databases between Azure SQL Database servers, or to migrate databases between on-premise instances of SQL Server and Azure SQL Database.

Connection management

Windows Azure SQL Database Connection Management - This topic provides an overview of SQL Database and its network topology, and then describes reasons for connection losses and provides guidelines and best coding practices to manage the connection life cycle in SQL Database.

Troubleshooting connections

Windows Azure SQL Database Connectivity Troubleshooting Guide - This topic documents common connectivity error messages that you might see while connecting to Azure SQL Database.

Windows Azure Technical Support blogs

The following blogs are published by Microsoft Customer Support Services to provide solutions to common customer issues:


Azure SQL Database Community Forum - Discuss database technologies like SQL Database, Reporting, and the Data Synchronization Service.


Azure Team Blog - The official team blog for Azure.

Manageability, monitoring

Azure Service Dashboard - This Azure website shows the health status of the Azure Platform running at data centers around the world. You can subscribe to RSS feeds for individual data centers, or view detailed incident reports for a service that is not running as expected.


Stackoverflow for Azure SQL Database - View questions and answers from other Azure SQL Database users, or post questions and answers about SQL Database performance, troubleshooting, or implementation details.

See Also

Other Resources

Azure Home Page

Azure Developer Center

Azure Manage Center

Azure Team Blog

Azure Support Options