Cloud computing has revolutionized data access and storage and has become integral to business IT infrastructures. Choosing between Microsoft's Azure SQL and SQL Server is a common dilemma. Which SQL database system is best to use? This question weighs on the minds of many database managers, administrators, and analysts.
This article discusses how Azure SQL and SQL Server fit into the grand scheme of things and how they compare so you can choose the database service that's right for you.
Azure SQL on the Microsoft Azure Platform is a family of managed, secure, and intelligent products that use a relational SQL Server database engine in the Azure cloud. Microsoft brought all the power of the SQL Server products together as one cloud-based suite.
Suppose you're considering moving your on-premise SQL Server databases to the Microsoft Azure cloud. In that case, you need to choose among three viable options: the Azure SQL Database, SQL Managed Instances, or SQL Server.
Part of the Microsoft Azure Platform, Azure SQL is a cloud-based database service (PaaS) for hosting and using a relational SQL database in the Azure cloud. Thanks to its many advanced features, the Azure SQL database makes data management easy by sparing administrators any need to install hardware or software.
Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system with an array of add-on services built on SQL, a standardized programming language for database administrators (DBAs) and other IT specialists. Since 1989, it has been Microsoft's primary on-premise enterprise database platform.
Azure fully supports running any edition of SQL Server on IaaS (cloud-based virtual machine) for full compatibility with legacy on-premise SQL installs and operating system-level access.
Although the Azure SQL database does overlap with on-premise Azure SQL server's functionality and compatibility, these two products are not identical and are intended for different purposes.
Many differentiators will influence your decision between Azure SQL and SQL Server, including performance, cost, and operational complexity. Let's break them down to see how they compare.
One critical choice is whether to use Azure SQL Database or SQL Server on Azure VMs. Both database systems are optimized for different database requirements, so diving into their differences is crucial for making the right decision.
What are the differences between Azure SQL and SQL Server databases?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to making the final verdict in the case of Azure SQL vs. SQL Server. Each comes with performance, cost, and operational tradeoffs, so you need to weigh the pros and cons to identify which option best fits your needs.
As a rule of thumb, Azure SQL helps reduce complexity while SQL Server increases the level of control.
Opt for Azure SQL Database if:
Opt for SQL Server on an Azure VM if:
Luckily for all IT professionals, Azure provides an array of options and flexibility, so everyone can get exactly the services they need. The information provided in this article can help you make an informed decision before diving into creating and working with your first Azure SQL Database.
Want to learn more? Interested in earning Microsoft certifications? Accelebrate is a Microsoft Learning Partner offering Azure SQL Training, SQL Server Training, and a wide variety of other Microsoft courses for your team of 3 or more attendees. Contact us to request pricing for your team or enterprise.
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