Why SQL Server runs best on Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services offers many ways to optimize your on-premises data and data platform projects from development and test of new SQL Server applications to migrating existing on-premises SQL Server instances on the latest images of SQL Server to cost effective hybrid scenarios such as database backup and extended business continuity.  So why is Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services the ideal place to implement such scenarios?

The latest Images of SQL Server always available

Let’s start with having the latest images of SQL Server as soon as they are made generally available including tuned images for select workloads like an optimized data warehousing image.  An example is Microsoft Azure offered SQL Server 2014 CU1 update at the end of April, the day it was made generally available.  This image is still pending to be uploaded on many other service providers.  In addition critical updates for SQL Server are enabled by default, ensuring that your SQL Server running in an Azure VM always receives these upon release. 

Additional VM Sizes to choose from and more continually being added

With recently added larger VM sizes including the A8 (8 vCPUs, 56GBmem) and A9 (16 vCPUs, 112GB) virtual machines you know have access to more cores and more memory for your larger SQL Server workloads.  You can scale up these large VMs even further with the unique in-memory OLTP design architecture in SQL Server 2014 that removes database contention to allow you to utilize more vCPUs in parallel for increased number of concurrent users and significantly increase transactional performance.

Cross regional connectivity support for extended business continuity and global BI 

Now with the new cross regional Virtual Network connectivity amongst Azure datacenters you can extend the SQL Server business continuity scenario even further by being able to select which Azure datacenters to place AlwaysOn secondaries.  With up to 8 secondaries available with SQL Server 2014, you are not only enhancing business continuity by placing additional asynchronous secondaries but also improving global BI performance by offloading BI reporting from your primary to the closest Azure secondary.  This allows you to take advantage of the global scale that Microsoft Azure datacenters offers along with the cost savings through economies of scale.

Business Continuity with lower RTO and RPO with ExpressRoute

Azure ExpressRoute offers customers a secure dedicated connection to Microsoft Azure.  The connection offers much higher speeds than standard Azure connections as well as greater isolation when it comes to data security.  This means fasters SQL Server backups to Azure storage using the SQL Server cloud backup capability offered in SQL Server 2012 and enhanced in SQL Server 2014.  In addition to improved cloud backup, you can significantly improve hybrid business continuity by combining SQL Server AlwaysOn with ExpressRoute.  The significantly faster and reliable connection between your primary on-premises and secondary in Azure you can improve your recovery point object (RPO) by reducing potential for data loss in asynchronous mode and also improve your recovery time objective (RTO).

The above capabilities in Microsoft Azure make it an ideal environment for you to maximize the benefits of SQL Server hybrid scenarios.  Ready to create your own virtual machine? Check out the resources listed below, and look for upcoming technical blogs to follow on the topics discussed here. 

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Learn more about Virtual Machines

Read how Amway and Lufthansa leveraged Microsoft SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure