How Azure Improves Your SQL Experience

April 2, 2019
Dan Ortman

Author

Dan Ortman

Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead at SoftwareONE | Linkedin

Microsoft’s Azure SQL is attracting many organizations as it provides a variety of benefits to databases. Organizations may consider an upgrade to Azure SQL for various factors. One common reason is a need to upgrade out-of-date or otherwise unsupported database solutions. A timely example of this is the end of extended support for SQL Server 2008. Other organizations may be implementing a strategic imperative to future-proof their organizations by implementing cloud solutions across the organization.

No matter what motivates your organization to explore Azure SQL as a database solution, your SQL database experience will likely be vastly improved by implementing Azure SQL. Here’s just a sample of ways that Azure SQL can transform your organization’s SQL experience:

Simple to Set Up and Administer

The first way that Azure improves the SQL experience lies within its simplicity. It is well known that physical versions of SQL Server can be rather difficult to administer. Members of the IT team often must be specifically trained to understand the nuance of deploying and managing their SQL Server solution. This includes time consuming tasks like apportioning databases and working around physical systems in the network. Through Azure, these critical features come preloaded. While proper database management is still a necessity, Azure SQL helps cut through the noise and simplify the process of running your database.

Not only is Azure SQL easy to deploy, it is easy to migrate data from previous instances of SQL. For example, SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 don’t require application code changes, resulting in almost no migration-related downtime. This seamless transition to a simpler platform makes Azure more appealing to organizations across industries.

Availability and Reliability

Azure SQL provides advanced levels of availability and reliability which SQL Server struggles to match. The first way Azure SQL accomplishes this is by replication. Automatically, Azure SQL replicates every database twice on two different nodes. By providing this level of replication and availability, your database will very scarcely experience downtime or data loss.

Conversely, SQL Server requires manually implementing database mirroring and failover clustering. This requires effort from IT teams that are already stretched thin and provides an opportunity for error that could prove disastrous.

Another way that Azure SQL enables better reliability is through continuity. It automatically backs up database and transaction logs so if there is any data loss or errors, your organization will be able to restore their database to the way it previously was. Azure SQL also prevents data loss through geo-redundancy, since Microsoft’s cloud is hosted in dispersed locations. This will keep your data safe from events like natural disasters which could destroy or temporarily take down your organization’s traditional data centers.

Azure SQL’s advanced continuity simplifies the back-up process and allows your IT team to restore its database at any point in time. This makes restoring data nearly stress-free. Through harnessing the power of replication and continuity, Azure SQL can allow your organization to fully rely on its databases.

Cost Effective

Despite providing so many advanced capabilities, Azure SQL is quite cost effective. When designing Azure SQL, Microsoft made it a priority to make the platform attractive for small and large businesses alike. For that reason, they implemented a scaling pricing model based on usage. Applications are also easy to migrate and scale with Azure SQL due to Microsoft providing a highly federated infrastructure via Azure Active Directory. Because of this, moving to Azure SQL can be quite smooth and without incurring too many additional costs.

With automatic upgrades, Azure SQL makes keeping your database up-to-date simple. By cutting out the time needed to perform these upgrades, your organization can expect to save time on performing these upgrades, while the upgrades will help members of your organization work more effectively.

Upgrading to Azure SQL from previous versions of SQL Server such as SQL 2008 is also a cost-effective venture. Microsoft’s Software Assurance program allows organizations running these out-of-date versions of SQL to upgrade to Azure SQL for a deep discount. With existing license and Azure Hybrid Benefit, expect to save up to 55% on your Azure SQL migration.

Azure is Future-Oriented

It should be apparent that Azure SQL is quite effective even in today’s database environment. However, one of the most enticing features of Microsoft Azure is how its geared towards the future, where the cloud will become more pervasive. Azure SQL isn’t just a cloud database – it’s a provider of infrastructure that can expand to the scale of petabytes.

Thinking of upgrading to Azure SQL from SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2? Microsoft will also help future-proof your current SQL Server environment. By upgrading to Azure SQL from an out-of-date version of SQL server, your organization will receive three free years of extended security updates. This way, your organization won’t need to rush to upgrade your legacy software and data to the cloud.

Final Thoughts

Organizations that migrate their databases to Microsoft’s Azure SQL have many benefits to look forward to. Azure SQL offers a user-friendly, cloud-based database that is cost effective for many organizations to upgrade to. Best of all, Azure SQL will help to ensure that your organization is prepared for the future of the cloud and the data stored within it.

Want to learn how to optimize your investment into Azure SQL? Register for our upcoming webinar, Optimization: One of the most costly software investments, SQL Licensing, is also the most complex. How do I avoid overspending? or learn more about our Azure service, AzureSimple.

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