The family of SQL cloud databases providing flexible options for application migration, modernisation and development
Get a consistent, unified experience across your entire SQL portfolio and a full range of deployment options from edge to cloud. Intelligent and secure Azure SQL database services make it easy to:
- Migrate your SQL workloads with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines.
- Modernise your existing applications with Azure SQL Managed Instance.
- Support modern cloud applications with Azure SQL Database.
- Use your existing SQL skills in the cloud on the same SQL Server engine.
- Keep making the most of your current licence investments.
Explore Azure SQL database services
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
Migrate your SQL workloads to Azure with ease while maintaining complete SQL Server compatibility and operating system-level access
Azure SQL Managed Instance
Modernise your existing SQL Server applications at scale with an intelligent, fully managed service
Azure SQL Database
Support modern cloud applications on an intelligent, fully managed service that includes serverless compute
Choose your database
Get help with choosing the right Azure SQL database service. Answer a few questions and we can guide you to the right solution for your specific needs.
We recommend Azure SQL Database serverless, a compute tier that optimizes price-performance and simplifies performance management for databases with intermittent, unpredictable usage. Serverless automatically scales compute for single databases based on workload demand and bills for compute used per second, so you only pay for what you use. Learn more in our documentation and view our infographic. Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend Azure SQL Database, the intelligent, fully managed database service that supports modern cloud applications with a variety of service tiers to meet your storage and business continuity requirements. The general purpose tier offers budget-oriented, balanced, and scalable compute and storage options, while business critical provides the highest resilience to failures and the highest I/O performance. Review our documentation and learn more about choosing the right service tier. Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend Azure SQL Database, the intelligent, fully managed database service that supports modern cloud applications with a variety of service tiers to meet your storage and business continuity requirements. The Hyperscale tier is best for business workloads with highly scalable storage and read-scale requirements, rapidly scaling up to 100TB of storage. Review our documentation to learn more about SQL Database Hyperscale and other service tiers. Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, a great destination to lift and shift your SQL Server workloads, combining the performance, security, and analytics of SQL Server with the flexibility of Azure and 100 percent code compatibility. Review our documentation to learn more. Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend Azure SQL Managed Instance, the intelligent, scalable, cloud database service that combines the broadest SQL Server engine compatibility with all the operational and financial benefits of a fully managed and evergreen platform as a service. Combine your skills and experience with familiar tools and resources and do more in the cloud with what you already have. Review our documentation and view our infographic summarizing the savings of modernizing on Azure SQL. Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, a great destination to lift and shift your SQL Server workloads, combining the performance, security, and analytics of SQL Server with the flexibility of Azure and 100 percent code compatibility. Review our documentation to learn more.
If you do not require OS access or control and are okay with minimal database or application code changes, Azure SQL Managed Instance is a fully-managed option that provides instance-level functionality in the cloud. With its broad SQL Server compatibility, many of the features you use on-premises are the same in the cloud, or they have a cloud equivalent. See our feature comparison between SQL Server and SQL Managed Instance. Review our documentation to learn more.
Learn more about choosing the right deployment option in Azure SQL.
Get started with this step-by-step guidance.
We recommend Azure SQL Edge, a real-time data engine, optimized for IoT workloads that is backed by the security and performance of the same engine that powers SQL Server and Azure SQL. Stream, store, and analyze data at the source in connected, disconnected, or hybrid environments. View our customer stories or review our documentation to learn more.
Fully managed and always up to date
Spend more time innovating and less time patching, updating and backing up your databases. Azure is the only cloud with evergreen SQL that automatically applies the latest updates and patches so that your databases are always up to date – eliminating end-of-support hassles.
Use your existing SQL experience in the cloud
Azure SQL is built on the same SQL Server technology that you’re already familiar with, so you don’t need to relearn your SQL skills when you make the move. Develop your application once using your existing SQL skills and deploy it on any Azure SQL cloud database on Azure. And, Azure is the only cloud with a consistent SQL code base that stretches from edge to cloud.
Save with the lowest total cost of ownership
Get industry-leading pricing and maximise your existing on-premises investments when you migrate your SQL Server databases to Azure:
- Save up to 85 per cent1 on pay-as-you-go pricing when you bring your existing SQL Server licences to Azure with Azure Hybrid Benefit.
- Get more cloud for less when you combine Azure Hybrid Benefit with reservation pricing.
- Qualify for discounted rates to support your ongoing development and testing on Azure.
- Spend less time monitoring your workloads with a single portal that lets you view all of your Azure SQL databases, virtual machines, pools and instances in one place.
Azure SQL price performance
Azure is 3.6 times faster and up to 86 per cent less expensive than AWS for SQL workloads.
Azure SQL Database vs AWS RDS
Switch to Azure SQL Database and get better price performance than other cloud service providers. Azure SQL Database meets your mission-critical requirements and costs up to 86 per cent less than the competition.2
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines vs AWS EC2
Switch to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and get better performance and price performance than other cloud service providers. Azure SQL Virtual Machines meet your mission-critical requirements and are up to 3.6 times faster and 84 per cent less expensive than Amazon Web Services.3
2Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in August 2019. The study compared price performance between a single 80 vCore Gen 5 Azure SQL Database on the business-critical service tier and the db.r4.16x large offering for Amazon Web Services Relational Database Service (AWS RDS) on SQL Server. Benchmark data is taken from a GigaOm Analytic Field Test derived from a recognised industry standard, TPC Benchmark™ E (TPC-E) and is based on a mixture of read-only and update intensive transactions that simulate activities found in complex OLTP application environments. Price-performance is calculated by GigaOm as the cost of running the cloud platform continuously for three years divided by transactions per second throughput. Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in East US for Azure SQL Database and US East (Ohio) for AWS RDS as of August 2019. Price-performance results are based upon the configurations detailed in the GigaOm Analytic Field Test. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.
3Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in February 2020. The study compared price performance between SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in Azure E32as_v4 instance type with P30 Premium SSD Disks and the SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in AWS EC2 r5a.8xlarge instance type with General Purpose (gp2) volumes. Benchmark data is taken from a GigaOm Analytic Field Test derived from a recognized industry standard, TPC Benchmark™ E (TPC-E). The Field Test does not implement the full TPC-E benchmark and as such, is not comparable to any published TPC-E benchmarks. Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in West US for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and Northern California for AWS EC2 as of January 2020. The pricing incorporates three-year reservations for Azure and AWS compute pricing, and Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server, and Licence Mobility for SQL Server in AWS, excluding Software Assurance costs. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.
Protect your investment with built-in, intelligent security
- Remediate potential threats in real time with intelligent threat protection and proactive vulnerability assessment alerts.
- Get industry-leading, multilayered protection with built-in security controls including network security, encryption and access and key management.
- Take advantage of the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud database service.
- Get continuous protection with deeper insights from Azure Security Center.
- Download security infographic
Save with unique Azure offers and competitive pricing
Control your costs across all of your Azure SQL database deployments by using your existing on-premises licences on Azure with Azure Hybrid Benefit. And, further maximise your savings by paying in advance for your predictable workloads with Azure reservation pricing. Learn more about:
Get started with Azure SQL learning resource and documentation or contact an Azure specialist to learn more.
Build your Azure SQL, database migration and general Azure skills with free, hands-on tutorials:
Become Microsoft certified:
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
Premade Linux VM images:
Azure SQL Managed Instance
Azure SQL Database
Tutorials, samples and documentation:
Customers are transforming their business with Azure SQL
H&R Block delivers tax prep services with SQL Server
Sameer Agarwal, Manager, Enterprise Data Analytics | H&R Block
"[SQL Managed Instance] gives us a smooth migration path for moving existing workloads to Azure with minimal technical reengineering."
Komatsu cut costs in half with [SQL Managed Instance]
Nipun Sharma, Analytics Architect, Business Technology and Systems | Komatsu
"We determined [SQL Managed Instance] was the best choice for us in terms of scalability, cost, and performance...We've seen a 49 percent cost reduction and 25 to 30 percent performance gains."
Allscripts migrated in weeks instead of months
Peter Tomlinson, Director of IS, Technology Operations | Allscripts
"By moving our acquired applications to Azure, we were able to get them up, running, and adding value to the business in three weeks versus the three months needed to requisition servers and storage."
dv01 reduced query run time to 1 to 2 seconds
Dean Chen, VP of Engineering | dv01
"Expensive queries that were taking 30 seconds or more with our previous system now take 1 to 2 seconds, which means all of our analytics queries are close to real time for our users."
Legacy used managed instances to build a redundant hybrid environment
Jeff Olson, IS Technical Director | Legacy Health
"We are able to spin up resources in a few hours instead of months, and we've reduced the operational costs of disaster recovery by almost 65 percent. We essentially avoided a half-million-dollar capital purchase."
TeamSystem deploys faster with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
Using SQL Server on Linux-based Azure Virtual Machines, TeamSystem reduced the effort and cost of running its platform while increasing its agility and speed of deployment – all without compromising performance.
Frequently asked questions about Azure SQL
Azure SQL is a family of fully managed, secure and intelligent SQL database services, built upon the same SQL Server engine. It offers a wide range of deployment options and control requirements application patterns to meet the most demanding migration and modernisation initiatives. With Azure SQL, you can rehost SQL workloads on SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, modernise existing applications with Azure SQL Managed Instance and support modern cloud applications with Azure SQL Database. You can manage your entire portfolio through a consistent and unified experience that provides scenario-based guidance for creating the right resources to meet your requirements.
There are three primary considerations for selecting the right Azure SQL service for your requirements: Your overall objective, the extent to which you require operating system (OS) access or control, and the version of SQL Server you prefer. If you require control of the underlying OS due to compliance or software dependencies and would prefer to remain on your current version of SQL Server, then rehosting to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines would be your best option. If, however, OS control is not a requirement and you prefer to be on the latest “versionless” SQL Server, then modernising your existing applications or supporting modern cloud applications on fully managed solutions such as Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Managed Instance would be optimal.
We recommend visiting the Azure migration center, where you can get the tools, resources and guidance to begin your move to the cloud.
Ready when you are – start creating your Azure SQL Database, SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines or Azure SQL Managed Instance solutions
1Calculations based on scenarios running 744 hours/month for 12 months at 3-year Reserved Instances or Reserved Capacity. Prices as of 24/10/2018, subject to change. Azure Windows VM calculations based on one D2V3 Azure VM in US West 2 region at the SUSE Linux Enterprise Basic rate. AWS calculations based on one m5.Large VM in US West (Oregon) using Windows Server pay-as-you-go rate for Reserved Instances under Standard 3-year term, all upfront payment. SQL Server calculations based on 8 vCore Azure SQL Database Managed Instance Business Critical in US West 2 running at Azure Hybrid Benefit rate. AWS calculations based on RDS for SQL EE for db.r4.2xlarge on US West (Oregon) in a multi AZ deployment for Reserved Instances under Standard 3-year term, all upfront payments. Extended security updates cost used for AWS is based on Windows Server Standard open NL ERP pricing in USD. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size and performance tier. Savings exclude Software Assurance costs, which may vary based on Volume Licensing agreement. Contact your sales representative for details.