What is SQL Server on Azure VM?

What is SQL Server on Azure VM?

 
SQL Server service is available on Azure cloud. It comes in multiple flavors, one of them being SQL Server on Azure VM. In this article, we will learn what SQL Server on Azure VM is and when to choose it. SQL Server on Azure VM is a full version of SQL Server installed on an Azure virtual machine (VM). SQL Server on Azure VM works in exactly the same way that it works for on-premises machines. That means, you can install your own SQL Server on VM, set your own configurations, and even use your own existing SQL Server license.
 
 
 
SQL Server is one of the most popular and used RDBMS in the world. Check out Most Popular Relational Databases to learn more about popular RDBMS.
 
What are the advantages of using SQL Server on Azure VM?
 
The key advantages of SQL Server on Azure VM are the following: 
  1. Install the way you like - SQL Server on Azure VM offers you the same installation and configuration options as you would do on your on-premises server. You can install SQL Server on VM the way you prefer. The only difference is that the hardware is in Azure as a virtual machine.
  2. Easy migration of existing databases - You can migrate your existing databases as it is without doing much work on the migration side. You can literally backup your existing databases and restore as it is on a VM. This is the simplest path to moving your existing databases to the Azure cloud.
  3. Most advanced, secure, and intelligent database - SQL Server on Azure VM allows you to install the latest versions of SQL Server. The current version of SQL Server is SQL Server 2019, which is one of the most advanced, secure, and intelligent database management systems.
  4. Automated updates - Automatic updates are available on Azure VM that will install the latest patches automatically with Windows updates.
  5. Automated backups - Automatic backups is one of the key features that allows application and data owners to backup the latest copy of data and its objects. Backups have options to restore previous versions of the database in case of corruption or other problems.
  6. High availability - If you require high availability, consider configuring SQL Server Availability Groups. This involves multiple instances of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines in a virtual network. You can also have copies of SQL Server in different zones for disaster recovery.
  7. Easy upgrades for performance - Azure virtual machines offer different machine sizes to meet various workload demands. SQL Server VMs also provide automated storage configuration, which is optimized for your performance requirements. When you need more space, memory, or CPU, you can easily upgrade your hardware.
  8. You can also upgrade or downgrade your existing SQL Server edition using Maintenance wizard. Run SQL Server Installation setup and click on Maintenance and look for Edition Upgrade to upgrade to a new version of SQL Server.
  9. Cost Advisor - Azure Advisor feature allows you to review the performance and recommendation of your SQL Server service related to performance and cost.
 
When to use SQL Server on Azure VM?
 
As you have read earlier, SQL Server on Azure VM is useful when you want to migrate your existing databases to Azure cloud without doing much work.
Another reason to select SQL Server on Azure VM is when you want to use your existing SQL Server licenses and want to keep control of your database and VM.
Cost can be another major reason. If you’ve high available systems with high traffic, SQL Server on Azure VM can save you significate compare to other options. Azure Reservations can save you up to 70% of your cost on SQL Server.
 
Watch Microsoft’s Anna Hoffman talks about the challenges, solutions, and key benefits to SQL Server on Azure VMs.
 
 
SQL Server on Azure VM Pricing Model
 
SQL Server on Azure VM offers two pricing models: 'Pay as you go' and 'Bring your own license'. You need to be careful with your choice here and use the Azure Pricing Calculator to get an idea of the cost. If you think your database is going to be used a lot, you probably better off using your own license. If you are using SQL Server for a smaller application that does not have much work, Pay as you go is probably the better option for you.
 
The latest edition of SQL Server is SQL Server 2019. Here is the licensing model of SQL Server 2019.
 
 
 
SQL Server 2019 Features
 
SQL Server 2019 is the most advanced, intelligent, and high-performance RDBMS. Some of the key features and improvements in SQL Server 2019 include:
  • Near real-time insights using big data clusters
  • High performance and scalable out of the box
  • Intelligent query processing
  • Improved in-memory database
  • Intelligent performance
  • Graph support
  • Mission-critical security
  • High availability and data recovery
  • Supports Linux and containers
  • And more…
Watch the following video to learn more about the new features in SQL Server 2019.
 
 
Summary
 
In this article, we learned what SQL Server on Azure VM is, as well as when and why one should choose SQL Server on Azure VM over other SQL Server options available on Azure.
 
References:
 
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-sql/virtual-machines/windows/sql-server-on-azure-vm-iaas-what-is-overview