Five reasons to run SQL Server 2016 on Windows Server 2016 – No. 5: Consistent data environment across hybrid cloud environments

COnsistent data

Have you ever seen a tree that simultaneously bears completely different species of fruit? It’s a real thing: apples, plums, oranges, lemons, and peaches all growing on the same tree. The growers have the advantage of a consistent environment (the same tree) that allows them to be efficient with resources, pick the type of fruit they need when they need it, and always have the right kind of fruit without having to invest in specialized plants.

Those trees are like the consistent foundation shared by SQL Server 2016, Windows Server 2016, and Microsoft Azure: Common code underlying the Microsoft platform makes it possible to run your data workloads seamlessly on-premises, in a hybrid environment, or strictly in the cloud—and to pick the option you need, while moving easily from one environment to the other.

Common code = Unique value

The common code base creates a write-once-deploy-anywhere SQL Server and Windows Server experience. You have flexibility across physical on-premises machines, private cloud environments, third-party hosted private cloud environments, public cloud, and hybrid deployments. Figure 1 diagrams this unique platform.

Figure 1: Microsoft Data Platform: On-premises, hybrid, and cloud

Figure 1

This means that you can choose a hybrid deployment and take advantage of any of the four basic options for hosting SQL Server:

  1. SQL Server in on-premises non-virtualized physical machines
  2. SQL Server in on-premises virtualized machines
  3. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machine. This is SQL Server installed and hosted in the cloud on Windows Server virtual machines (VMs) running on Azure. Also known as infrastructure as a service (IaaS), it is optimized to “lift and shift” existing SQL Server applications to the cloud. All versions and editions of SQL Server are available, including free ones for dev/test and lightweight workloads.
  4. Azure SQL Database (Microsoft public cloud). This is a SQL Server database native to the cloud and compatible with most SQL Server features. It is also known as a platform as a service (PaaS) database or a database as a service (DBaaS). It delivers all the agility and world-class security features of Azure and is ideal for software as a service (SaaS) app development.

When you run SQL Server on Windows Server, whether on-premises or in an IaaS virtual machine, you get the benefit of:

  • Improved database performance and availability with support for up to 24 terabytes of memory and 640 cores on a single server.
  • Built-in security at the operating system level. For example, when database admins can use a single Active Directory management pane across Azure and on-premises machines to set policies, enable/disable access, etc., it truly raises the security bar across the organization.
  • Simple and seamless upgrades with Rolling Upgrades.
  • Ability to make SQL highly available on any cloud with Storage Spaces Direct to create virtual shared storage across VMs.
  • Access to new classes of direct-attach storage (such as NVMe) for applications that require redundant storage across machines.
  • Reduce costs of hosting additional VMs by leveraging a Cloud Witness.

You benefit from the ability to use familiar server products, development tools, and technical expertise across all environments. No other platform delivers across this spectrum of implementations and builds in hybrid capabilities everywhere. Learn how to choose Azure SQL (PaaS) Database or SQL Server on Azure VMs (IaaS).

Free migration tools

Further easing the way to hybrid and cloud solutions are the SQL Azure Migration Wizard and other free migration tools. These are designed to provide easy migration of Windows Server 2016 servers to virtual machines in the cloud.

When determining how much hardware to allocate for certain applications, downsizing datacenters, or migrating existing workloads to virtual machines (VMs), you can tap into cloud capabilities in several ways:

  • Backup to Azure, including, managed backup, backup to Azure Block Blobs, and Azure Storage snapshot backup.
  • The Azure Site Recovery tool to migrate workloads on on-premises VMs and physical servers to run on Azure VMs, with full replication and backup, Azure IaaS VMs between Azure regions, and AWS Windows instances to Azure IaaS VMs. Easy addition of an Azure node to an AlwaysOn Availability Group in a hybrid environment.
  • Two new limited previews, Azure Database Migration Service and Azure SQL Database – Managed Instance, create a great path for customers looking for a way to easily modernize their existing database environment to a fully managed PaaS service without application redesign.

SQL Server License Mobility and Azure Hybrid Use Benefit for Windows Server

Even licensing is designed to ensure that wherever you deploy, you can cost-effectively take advantage of all the options.

  • SQL Server customers with active Software Assurance can use existing licenses on Azure Virtual Machines with no extra charges to SQL Server licensing. Simply assign core licenses equal to the virtual cores in the VM, and pay only for VM compute costs.
  • License Mobility ensures you can easily move SQL Server databases to the cloud using your existing licensing agreement with active Software Assurance. No additional licensing is required for SQL Server passive high availability (HA) nodes; you can configure a passive VM with up to the same compute as your active node to deliver uptime.
  • Windows Server customers with Software Assurance can save up to 40 percent by leveraging on-premises licenses to move workloads to Azure VMs with this Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.

SQL Server 2016 with Windows Server 2016: Built for hybrid cloud

Microsoft continues to build in innovation so that organizations do not have to purchase expensive add-ins to get the benefits of the cloud with security features, simplicity, and consistency across on-premises and the cloud. Together, SQL Server 2016 and Windows Server 2016 will bear fruit for your organization. Get started on hybrid now.

Learn more about SQL Server in Azure VM in this datasheet.

Try SQL Server in Azure.

Improve security, performance, and flexibility with SQL Server 2016 and Windows Server 2016

By running SQL Server 2016 and Windows Server 2016 together you can unlock the full potential of the Microsoft data platform. This series of blogs on five reasons to run these two new releases together barely scratches the surface. What’s the best way to find out just how powerful this combination is? Try it out! Download your free trial of Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2016 today.

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