SQL Server on virtual machines

Easily migrate your SQL Server workloads to cloud

  • Work with any SQL Server version and edition on any virtual machine (VM) size
  • Employ VMs that are tuned for exceptional performance by the team that builds SQL Server
  • Pay per minute, or bring your own licences

Seamless no-hassle migration

Ready to walk away from data centre management of your SQL Server apps? Azure makes it easy. Just spin up a virtual machine (VM), back up your SQL Server instance and restore it into Azure. It’s that easy to reduce your capital investments and optimise operational expenses by migrating your on-premises SQL Server to the cloud. And if you already have SQL Server licences with Software Assurance, you can even use our BYOL (Bring your own licence) images, eliminating the need to manually install SQL Server.

Why choose Azure for SQL Server virtualisation?

All cloud services are not the same. Azure offers you:

  • Cloud flexibility – Set up and manage your SQL Server deployments in minutes, then scale up or scale down on the fly.
  • Tuned for performance – Meet your toughest demands with virtual machines optimised by the team that built SQL Server.
  • Hybrid connectivity – Get the most out of your on-premises investments, and take advantage of all that Azure offers.
  • Secured and trusted – Protect your entire data estate with a secured database on the most compliant cloud.

Simplify security with automation

Trust our secured environment, which uses encrypted storage and private virtual networks and offers the broadest compliance available. Plus, easily configure SQL Server to optimise VM storage for your target workload, such as transaction processing or data warehousing, and automate common operations, such as database backups and OS patching.

Learn how to back up your SQL Server database to Azure

Develop and test cost-effectively

Spin up a new development environment in minutes, paying only for what you use. Our SQL Server Developer images, including SQL Server 2016, provide a full SQL Server feature set in a free licence for development and testing. And SQL Server Express images allow you to host lightweight workloads (<1 GB memory, <10 GB storage) with a free licence as well. Low VM usage costs mean you pay only pence per hour, while using all the features you need for development and testing.

How to spin up a virtual machine with SQL Server

Improve business continuity

Improve business continuity in the event of disaster by placing your SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Group replicas in virtual machines. SQL Server 2016 gives you up to eight readable replicas, which you can deploy to a fast-growing list of Azure regions around the world. Set up fast failover for database applications running in Azure, and strategically place your SQL Server replicas for peace of mind in case of on-premises failure.

Learn more about AlwaysOn Availability Groups

Choose the edition of SQL Server that’s right for you

Provision a virtual machine image with the edition of SQL Server that works best for your scenario.

Edition Description
SQL Server 2016 Developer Create Any SQL Server version and edition on any VM size
SQL Server 2016 Express Create VMs tuned for exceptional performance by the team that builds SQL Server
SQL Server 2016 Web Create Three perfect copies of your data locally and remote with encryption
SQL Server 2016 Standard Create Automated patching, backup, and high availability
SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Create Pay per minute or bring your own licenses

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Try SQL Server on virtual machines today