SQL Server on virtual machines

Migrate SQL Server workloads to the cloud at the lowest TCO1

Industry-leading performance and manageability for your cloud database2

Get the combined performance, security and analytics of SQL Server, backed by the flexibility, security and hybrid connectivity of Azure. Access the latest SQL Server updates and releases, including SQL Server 2019.  Migrate existing apps or build new apps on Azure – the best cloud destination for your mission-critical SQL Server workloads.

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Getting started

Best TCO – Pay up to five times less with Azure Hybrid Benefit than with AWS1

High-performance virtual machines (VMs) for SQL Server on Linux and Windows

Built-in security and manageability with automatic security updates not available in any other cloud

Up to three years of free extended support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (only on Azure)

Best TCO with Azure Hybrid Benefit1

Save up to five times as compared with Amazon Web Services when migrating SQL Server databases with Azure Hybrid Benefit, and get free extended support for SQL Server 2008 R2 images in Azure IaaS1. Activate Azure Hybrid Benefit when you provision SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines images from the Azure Marketplace.

High-performance VMs for SQL Server on Linux and Windows

Take advantage of high-performing SQL Server VMs with industry-leading performance2. Choose from images with Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux Server or Ubuntu Linux. Gain co-located, integrated support for your SQL workloads with Red Hat and SUSE.

Built-in security and manageability

Ease maintenance with automatic security patching and restore your database to a specific point in time with Azure Backup. Help protect your data at rest and in motion with the database found to have the fewest vulnerabilities over a seven-year study, in the cloud with the most global, national and industry certifications3.

Advanced security on the most compliant cloud

  • Microsoft invests over USD 1 billion annually on cyber security research and development.
  • We employ more than 3,500 security experts who are completely focused on securing your data and privacy.
  • Azure has more certifications than any other cloud provider. View the comprehensive list.

SQL Server 2019 images now available

SQL Server 2019 combines SQL Server with Apache Spark™ and Hadoop Distributed File System for a unified data platform that enables analytics and AI over all data, both relational and non-relational. In addition, SQL Server 2019 delivers a comprehensive data virtualisation solution that enables customers to combine data sets across multiple databases in a performant manner directly through SQL Server. SQL Server 2019 delivers unparalleled security and performance across all data with new enhanced security and performance capabilities across both Windows and Linux.

Trusted by companies of all sizes

Financial tech company gains SQL Server performance and scalability on Linux

dv01 moved from PostgreSQL and Redshift to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines. By doing this, it reduced query times from 30 seconds to 1 to 2 seconds.

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Healthcare software manufacturer saves costs through cloud migration

Allscripts moved 600 on-premises virtual machines to Azure and reused on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licences in the cloud with Azure Hybrid Benefit.

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Pricing that helps you save with flexibility and choice

Manage costs across SQL Server editions and VM types on both Linux and Windows. Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Instances let you save on database and virtual machine services in the cloud using your existing on-premises licences and reserved pricing.4

Get started today

Choose the operating system and SQL Server edition for your virtual machine.

Configure basic settings, virtual machine size and optional features, and then customise your SQL Server settings, including automated patching and backup.

If you have questions, read our documentation.

SQL Server application development resources

Build intelligent apps fast

Innovate with Microsoft data and developer solutions. Learn how to easily incorporate intelligence into your SQL Server applications while using the tools and platforms of your choice.

SQL Server tools and APIs

Find all the resources you need to quickly build intelligent, data-driven apps.

Guide for getting started

Build apps with SQL Server on macOS, Linux and Windows.

Migrate your database to Azure

Join 90 per cent of the Fortune 500 that have moved to Azure. Get the resources to migrate your apps, data and infrastructure at your own pace and use assessment, migration and cost management tools free of charge as you transition your on-premises workloads to Azure VMs. Use our step-by-step Database Migration Guide for detailed instructions for each source and target pair.

Begin your cloud migration journey

View cloud data services resources for database administrators

Community and Azure support

Ask questions and get support from Microsoft engineers and Azure community experts on Azure forums, MSDN and Stack Overflow, or chat with an Azure support specialist.

Azure SQL VMs updates, blogs and announcements


SQL IaaS GigaOm white paper

Read GigaOm’s report comparing performance and price performance for SQL Server running in Azure Virtual Machines and Amazon Web Services EC2

Read the white paper

SQL Server on Azure VM webcast

Learn more about the latest innovations including Linux and Resource Provider.

Watch the webinar

SQL Server on RHEL VMs Operations Guide

Get started with SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Azure Virtual Machines with our detailed operations guide

Read the guide

Frequently asked questions

  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit is special pricing designed to help you maximise the value of your current licensing investments while accelerating your migration to the cloud. There is no application process or waiting period. Learn more.
  • Azure offers pre-configured SQL Server VM images for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Linux and Windows Server.
  • Ultra Disk for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is now generally available to purchase.
  • If you have SQL Server or Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 but don’t have Software Assurance, you can now migrate to Azure and get extended security updates for free for three years. Learn more.
  • We recommend you first consider Azure SQL Database Managed Instance fully managed relational cloud database service. This includes built-in intelligence that learns app patterns and adapts to maximise performance, reliability and data protection. If you need control over your database and operating system, and have dependencies on SQL Server Reporting Services, or you have ISV applications certified on particular SQL Server release years, you may benefit from using SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines. Learn more.
  1. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is up to five times lower than with SQL Server on Amazon Web Services EC2. Cost difference includes Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server (exclusive to Azure) and a three-year offer of free Extended Security Updates in Azure Virtual Machines for no additional costs. Prices are as of 24 October 2018 and subject to change. Actual regional pricing and programme discounts may apply. 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 more information. Learn more.
  2. Performance claims reflect comparison of throughput at a given price point for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with Premium SSD versus AWS General Purpose IOPS, and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with Ultra Disk versus SQL Server on AWS EC2 with Provisioned IOPS. Premium SSD is currently generally available to purchase. Ultra Disk is currently in limited private preview and will be generally available to purchase in the near future. To evaluate performance, we used the HammerDB implementation of the industry-standard TPC-C benchmark. The HammerDB TPC-C workload is derived from the TPC-C benchmark and as such is not comparable to published TPC-C results, as the HammerDB TPC-C results do not comply with the TPC-C benchmark. The HammerDB implementation of TPC-C can be described as follows: the schema and data were generated by HammerDB, the transactions were compliant with the standards set by TPC-C as implemented by HammerDB, the primary metric used was the total number of all transactions completed during the measurement interval, and the price performance metric was calculated as dollars per transaction which is defined as the normalised cost of running the HammerDB TPC-C workload on each of the platforms.
  3. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, SQL Server had the fewest security vulnerabilities from 2010 to 2017, in comparison with other major database vendors.
  4. There are currently no Reserved Virtual Machine Instances with SQL Server images pre-configured. You’ll need to manually install SQL Server on Reserved Virtual Machines.
  5. Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in October 2019. The study compared price performance between SQL Server 2017 Enterprise edition on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition in Azure E64s_v3 instance type with 4x P30 1 TB Storage Pool data (Read-only Cache) + 1x P20 0.5 TB log (No Cache) and the SQL Server 2017 Enterprise edition on Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition in AWS EC2 r4.16x large instance type with 1x 4 TB gp2 data + 1x 1 TB gp2 log. 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. The Field Test 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 West US for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and Northern California for AWS EC2 as of October 2019. 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. 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.

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