SQL Operations Studio – Initial Thoughts

I have used SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) for years.  I never really thought of it as a bad IDE per say.  It offered many improvements over its predecessor “SQL Server Enterprise Manager” for those who remember. As a DBA, SSMS will be your IDE of choice.  That said, as someone who interacts with SQL Server daily but, is not a DBA, there are a couple shortcomings with SSMS.

  • It’s heavy
  • No dark theme
  • Clunky snippets
  • Not cross platform

In the past, I’ve tried to bridge some of these gaps by using Visual Studio Code‘s SQL Server Extension.  At first, I was pretty excited about the extension.  Queries were super easy to write and the intellisense was great!  Unfortunately after some time, it became clear this was not the route for me.  VS Code is great just not as a SQL IDE.  Without an Object Explorer, I found I would still need to keep SSMS open in the background.


SQL Operations Studio is a new SQL IDE by Microsoft (still in preview) that allows the management of SQL Server, SQL Azure, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse databases.  It’s built on the same Visual Studio Code shell so, all the same benefits I got using the SQL Server VS Code extension, I get with SQL Operations Studio.

To complement the VS Code awesomeness, SQL Operations Studio is geared towards SQL Databases.  This means you get an Object Explorer and a lot of other SQL Specific commands, menu items, etc.


SQL Operations Studio also contains a Marketplace similar to the VS Code Marketplace. The SQL Operations Studio Marketplace can also be used to download Microsoft extensions such as ‘SQL Profiler‘ or ‘SQL Agent‘.  Also like Visual Studio Code, you can find various third party extensions provided by the development community. The Marketplace can be used to download dashboards and insight widgets which can be accessed by right-clicking a connection in the object explorer.  These are more geared towards providing dashboards and analytics on the health of SQL Server.

Dashboards and Insights

So far I’m impressed with SQL Operations Studio.  Its built off of one of my favorite IDE’s (Visual Studio Code) and based on the SQL specific additions that have been added to it, I believe I have found my long awaited SSMS replacement.