On their recent blog post Updated CTP for SQL Azure Database includes complete feature set for PDC 2009! the SQL Azure team outlined a new feature:
Firewall Support – The new firewall features
allows a customer to specify an allow list of IP address that can
access their SQL Azure Server. Security is a concern for companies
looking at storing data in the cloud and with this new feature you can
rest assured that only hosts you specify will be allowed to connect.
To clarify, we are able to specify an IP address range rather than just a single IP address.
Now this is all well and good, a cautious approach to security in cloud computing is to be commended. It does raise a rather large issue for developers though because we now need to know what our IP address is and the reality is that sometimes we simply don't know. I contacted my internet service provider (SKY Broadband in the UK) and asked the following:
I wish to use a 3rd party
service that requires me to tell them what IP range my IP address will
be in. I do not have a fixed IP address provided by SKY hence please
could you tell me what IP range the IP address that you assign to me
will be in?
I am afraid that we cannot provide this information, as it is business sensitive.
you have an online service that requires this information, then they
should be contacting us on your behalf, using the correct channels, in
order to obtain this information.
Hmmm...this means I cannot connect to SQL Azure from my house and that, for me, is a huge problem. I have informed the SQL Azure team about this via a post on the SQL Azure forum and am waiting to see what their course of action will be. As an interim measure the submission screen for the IP addresses will tell you what your current IP address is although obviously, given that IP addresses change, this is not a long term solution.
Watch this space.