SQL Server on virtual machines

Easily migrate your SQL Server workloads to the cloud

Seamless no-hassle migration

Ready to walk away from data centre management of your SQL Server apps? Azure makes it easy. Spin up a virtual machine, 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. If you already have SQL Server licences with Software Assurance, then you can use our Bring your own licence (BYOL) images, and eliminate the need to manually install SQL Server.

Why choose Azure for SQL Server virtualisation?

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

  • Operating system choice – support for Windows Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Ubuntu Linux.
  • Cloud flexibility – Set up and manage your SQL Server deployments in minutes, then scale up or 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 everything that Azure offers.
  • Highly secured and trusted – Protect your entire data estate with a highly secured database on the most compliant cloud.

Simplify security with automation

Trust our highly secured environment, which uses encrypted storage and private virtual networks and offers broad compliance. Easily configure SQL Server to optimise virtual machine storage for your target workload (such as transaction processing or data warehousing) and automate common operations such as database backups and operating system 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, and only pay for what you use. Our SQL Server Developer images, including SQL Server 2017, provide a full SQL Server feature set in a free licence for development and testing. SQL Server Express images allow you to host lightweight workloads (up to 1 GB memory and 10 GB storage) with a free licence as well. Low virtual machine usage costs mean that you only pay pennies per hour while using all of the features you need for development and testing.

Learn 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 Always On Availability Group replicas in virtual machines. SQL Server 2017 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 Always On Availability Groups

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

Set up a virtual machine image with an edition of SQL Server that works best for your scenario.

Edition Description
SQL Server 2017 Developer
Build, test and demonstrate apps in a non-production environment with this full-featured edition of SQL Server.
SQL Server 2017 Express
Build small, data-driven web and mobile applications up to 10 GB in size with this entry-level database. Available for free.
SQL Server 2017 Web
Use a free, secured, highly scalable data platform for public websites.
SQL Server 2017 Standard
Find rich programming capabilities, security innovations and fast performance for mid-tier applications and data marts. Easily upgrade to the Enterprise edition without having to change any code.
SQL Server 2017 Enterprise
Access mission-critical capabilities to achieve unparalleled scale, security, high availability and leading performance for your Tier 1 database, business intelligence and advanced analytics workloads.
Edition Description
SQL Server 2017 Developer
Build, test and demonstrate apps in a non-production environment with this full-featured edition of SQL Server.
SQL Server 2017 Express
Build small, data-driven web and mobile applications up to 10 GB in size with this entry-level database. Available for free.
SQL Server 2017 Web
Use a free, secured, highly scalable data platform for public websites.
SQL Server 2017 Standard
Find rich programming capabilities, security innovations and fast performance for mid-tier apps. Easily upgrade to the Enterprise edition without having to change any code.
SQL Server 2017 Enterprise
Access mission-critical capabilities to achieve unparalleled scale, security, high availability and leading performance for your Tier 1 database and data warehousing workloads.
Edition Description
SQL Server 2017 Developer
Build, test and demonstrate apps in a non-production environment with this full-featured edition of SQL Server.
SQL Server 2017 Express
Build small, data-driven web and mobile applications up to 10 GB in size with this entry-level database. Available for free.
SQL Server 2017 Web
Use a free, secured, highly scalable data platform for public websites.
SQL Server 2017 Standard
Find rich programming capabilities, security innovations and fast performance for mid-tier apps. Easily upgrade to the Enterprise edition without having to change any code.
SQL Server 2017 Enterprise
Access mission-critical capabilities to achieve unparalleled scale, security, high availability and leading performance for your Tier 1 database and data warehousing workloads.
Edition Description
SQL Server 2017 Developer
Build, test and demonstrate apps in a non-production environment with this full-featured edition of SQL Server.
SQL Server 2017 Express
Build small, data-driven web and mobile applications up to 10 GB in size with this entry-level database. Available for free.
SQL Server 2017 Web
Use a free, secured, highly scalable data platform for public websites.
SQL Server 2017 Standard
Find rich programming capabilities, security innovations and fast performance for mid-tier apps. Easily upgrade to the Enterprise edition without having to change any code.
SQL Server 2017 Enterprise
Access mission-critical capabilities to achieve unparalleled scale, security, high availability and leading performance for your Tier 1 database and data warehousing workloads.

Try SQL Server on virtual machines today