We’re excited to introduce a new, simplified configuration experience for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine. You can now configure SQL Server connectivity, performance, security, and high availability when you create a SQL Server VM in the Azure Portal. Either accept the default recommended settings or modify them as you want. No more time consuming manual configuration after setup!
This new simplified configuration experience builds on our earlier features to speed up the configuration of SQL Server: Automated Patching, Automated Backup, Azure Key Vault Integration. We have consolidated these SQL Server specific features under a new “SQL Server Configuration” section in the Create Virtual Machine Portal experience, and added the ability to configure SQL Server and VM storage for a target workload, configure SQL Server connectivity, and configure SQL Server to store encryption keys in the Azure Key Vault.
Configuring SQL Server Virtual Machines with the new experience
To try out the new configuration experience for SQL Server Virtual Machines, go to the Azure Portal. In the Azure Marketplace, you will find any version of SQL Server you want. Select the new Resource Manager deployment model and click Create. In the Create Virtual Machine blade you will find the new SQL Server Configuration section will all the SQL Server specific features.
Configuration of SQL Server connectivity
In the past, configuring SQL Server connectivity was not trivial. For example, to connect from on-premises using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) you had to Remote Desktop to the VM, open the SQL Server port in the VM firewall, open SSMS and enable SQL Server Authentication, and create a Public Azure endpoint for the VM.
Now, you can simply choose SQL connectivity over the Internet and enable SQL Server authentication from the Portal. In addition, you can choose SQL connectivity within an Azure Virtual Network, or still allow it only within the VM.
Configuration SQL Server and VM storage for a target workload
In the past, after provisioning a SQL Server VM, you had to manually attach and configure the right number of data disks to provide the desired number of IOPs or throughput (MB/s). Then you need to stripe your SQL files across the disks or create a Storage Pool to divide the IOPs or throughput across them. Finally, you’d have to configure SQL Server according to the performance best practices for Azure VM.
We’ve now made this part of the provisioning experience. You can easily configure the desired IOPs, throughput, and storage size within the limits of the selected VM size, as well as the target workload to optimize for (online transaction processing or data warehousing). As you change the IOPs, throughput, and storage size, we’ll automatically select the right number of disks to attach to the VM. During the VM provisioning, if more than one disk is required for your specified settings, we’ll automatically create one Windows storage space (virtual drive) across all disks.
Automated patching and automated backup
Automated patching allows you to specify a time window to patch Windows and SQL Server. This allows doing this during predictable times without impacting your workload. We have heard so many customers asking for this feature that we have enabled it by default to 60 minutes on Sunday at 2:00 am. Of course you can change these values as you want.
Automated backup allows you to automatically backup all databases in SQL Server based on your workload and specify their retention time. We don’t enable backups by default as everyone has different requirements.
Earlier this year we announced the Azure Key Vault Integration feature. This feature simplifies configuring SQL Server to store encryption keys in the Azure Key Vault. We also added this option to the portal experience to further simplify this.
We have introduced a new, simplified configuration experience for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine. No more time consuming manual configuration after setup!