If you’re still creating databases locally for all your development and testing needs, it’s time to give yourself the kick you need to start doing things a little differently and learn something new in the process.
Going to Azure isn’t as complicated as you think (if you start small). If you’re worried about costs, there are tons of credits floating around to make the learning cycle quick and painless.
First, setup a Resource Group, for a listing of all Azure related terminology, check here. When you’re done doing this, navigate down to SQL Databases and create a database server (a URL) and whatever associated database you want to go along with it.
In my portal view, this looks a little like this where I now have a server and a database.
Adding a database is pretty much the same, click on “SQL Databases” and run through the steps. Be careful on how much resources you use versus what you need.
For development, you’ll be fine with a small database (think MSDE) that is only 2GB
From here you can use the Query Editor (in preview) to make tables OR you can view these via the Server Explorer in Visual Studio by connecting to your Azure instance and drilling down into the databases.
To view the latest and greatest components in Visual Studio, I did have to download the latest SSDT (which necessitated a slight upgrade in Visual Studio 2017 as well).
I didn’t get into all the options on creating your database (i.e., Elastic Pools and such) because we have no reason for them right now, this is all about development. There were a few missteps along the way as I figured it out that amounted to maybe an hour of effort, going forward it will be minutes and the best part is I’ll be able to connect to them and/or create more, wherever I am.