Migrate, modernise and innovate on the modern SQL family of cloud databases
A consistent SQL experience from edge to cloud
Get a 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 or enjoy hybrid flexibility with Azure SQL Managed Instance.
- Support modern cloud applications with Azure SQL Database.
- Extend your applications to IoT edge gateways and devices with Azure SQL Edge.
- Run Azure SQL on-premises and in multicloud environments with Azure Arc-enabled data services.
- Learn more about saving time and money on your migration.
Explore Azure SQL database services
Migrate your SQL workloads to Azure with ease while maintaining complete SQL Server compatibility and operating system-level access.
Modernise your existing SQL Server customised and vendor-provided applications at scale and at your own pace, with an intelligent, fully managed service.
Support modern cloud applications on an intelligent, fully managed service that includes serverless compute and Hyperscale storage.
Extend your applications to IoT edge gateways and devices for real-time insights in connected, disconnected or hybrid environments.
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.
Azure SQL Database serverless
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.
Azure SQL Database, general purpose or business critical tier
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.
Azure SQL Database, Hyperscale tier
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.
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines
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.
Azure SQL Managed Instance
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.
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines or Azure SQL Managed Instance
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.
Azure SQL Edge
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 that automatically applies the latest updates and patches, and provides the latest SQL Server features and functionality. Your databases are always up to date—eliminating end-of-support hassles. Even complex tasks like performance tuning, configuring high availability, disaster recovery, and backups are automated, freeing you to focus on applications.
Use your existing SQL experience in the cloud
Azure SQL is built on the same familiar SQL Server technology, 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. 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 SQL meets your mission-critical requirements and costs up to 93 percent less than SQL Server on AWS.
Azure SQL Managed Instance vs AWS RDS
Modernise your customised and vendor-provided apps on Azure SQL Managed Instance for better performance and price-performance. SQL Managed Instance meets your mission-critical requirements, is up to five times faster, and costs up to 93 percent less than SQL Server on AWS RDS.2
2Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Principled Technologies in April 2022. The study compared performance and price performance between a 16 vCore, 64 vCore and 80 vCore Azure SQL Managed Instance using premium-series hardware on the business-critical service tier and the db.m6i.32xlarge, db.r5b.4xlarge and db.r5b.16xlarge offerings for Amazon Web Services Relational Database Service (AWS RDS) on SQL Server. Benchmark data is taken from a Principled Technologies report using recognised standards, HammerDB TPROC-C, HammerDB TPROC-H and Microsoft MSOLTPE, a workload derived from TPC-E. The MSOLTPE is derived from the TPC-E benchmark and as such is not comparable to published TPC-E results, as MSOLTPE results do not comply with the TPC-E Specification. The results are based on a mixture of read-only and update intensive transactions that simulate activities found in complex OLTP and analytics application environments. Price-performance is calculated by Principled Technologies as the cost of running the cloud platform continuously divided by transactions per minute or per second throughput, based upon the standard. Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in South Central US for Azure SQL Managed Instance and US East for AWS RDS as of April 2022 and incorporates Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server, excluding Software Assurance and support costs. Performance and price-performance results are based upon the configurations detailed in the Principled Technologies report. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.
SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines vs AWS EC2
Switch to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines for better performance and price-performance. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines meets your mission-critical requirements and is up to 42 percent faster and up to 31 percent less expensive than AWS EC2.3
3Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in April 2022. The study compared price performance between SQL Server 2019 Enterprise edition on Windows Server 2022 in Azure E32bds_v5 instance type with P30 Premium SSD disks and SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2022 in Amazon Web Services Elastic Cloud Compute instance type r5b.8xlarge with General Purpose (gp3) volumes. Benchmark data is taken from two tests:
- The GigaOm Transactional Field Test derived from a recognised 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.
- The GigaOm Analytics Field test derived from the TPC-H Benchmark. The field test does not implement the full TPC-H benchmark and as such is not comparable to any published TPC_H benchmarks.
Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in North Central US for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and Oregon for AWS EC2 as of April 2022. The pricing incorporates three-year reservations for Azure and AWS compute pricing, and Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Windows Server, and Licence Mobility for SQL Server in AWS, excluding Software Assurance and support costs. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.
Protect your investment with built-in, intelligent security
- Enable tamper-evident, cryptographic verification for your centralised data stores from within your database with SQL Database ledger – no data migration or application changes required.
- Remediate potential threats in real time with intelligent threat protection and proactive vulnerability assessment alerts.
- Get industry-leading, multi-layered 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 Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
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. Further maximise your savings by paying in advance for your predictable workloads with Azure reservation pricing. Learn more about:
Get started with an Azure free account
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After your credit, move to pay as you go to keep building with the same free services. Pay only if you use more than your free monthly amounts.
After 12 months, you'll keep getting 40+ always-free services—and still pay only for what you use beyond your free monthly amounts.
Customers are transforming their business with Azure SQL
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."
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."
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."
Rohit Mistry, Infrastructure Analyst, Manulife
"Going forward, it doesn't make sense to be anywhere but in Azure because it makes us a more effective, efficient, and flexible development organization."
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."
Prince Bansal, Software Engineer, udaan
"Most of our databases run under the business-critical tier because we need that performance level. But we chose Azure SQL Database serverless for one of our databases so that we can use the auto-pause feature… That option delivers huge cost reductions."
Aaron Burstein, Data Systems Manager, 3M
"Thanks to faster, more efficient processes at the edge, we're anticipating significant improvements and cost savings. That's with the overall algorithm savings. Once we scale some of these things, we could see even more substantial savings."
Get started with Azure SQL learning resources and documentation
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Frequently asked questions about Azure SQL
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 and modernisation centre, where you can get the tools, resources and guidance to begin your move to the cloud.
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1Calculations based on scenarios running 744 hours per month for 12 months. Prices as of July 2022, subject to change. Savings based on eight core D13 v2VM in East US 2 region. Savings are calculated from full price (licence included) for SQL Server Enterprise Edition VM against the reduced rate (applying Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Windows Server), which excludes Software Assurance costs for SQL Server and Windows Server, which may vary based on Enterprise Agreement. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size and compute family. Contact your sales representative for details.