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SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines

Migrate SQL Server workloads to the cloud at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO)1

Save money and simplify SQL Server management in the cloud

Migrate your SQL Server workloads to the cloud to get the performance and security of SQL Server combined with the flexibility and hybrid connectivity of Azure. Lower your total cost of ownership (TCO) and get free, built-in security and automated management when you register your virtual machines (VMs) with the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension—at no extra cost. SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is part of the Azure SQL family of databases.

Lowest total cost of ownership (TCO)

Reduce the cost of running SQL Server in the cloud with pricing offers only from Azure.

Simple, familiar, and powerful SQL Server

Migrate your SQL Server workloads to the cloud and enjoy versatile virtual machines.

Robust and simple high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR)

Easily configure Always On availability groups and utilize free high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR) license benefits.

Free, built-in security and management

Get automated security updates and simplified configuration management.

Lower your total cost of ownership (TCO) with Azure Hybrid Benefit

AWS is five times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server1. Use Azure Hybrid Benefit to significantly reduce cost when you migrate your Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to Azure. Migrate your SQL Server workloads to Azure and enjoy free Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012, only in Azure. Save even more by reserving capacity for up to three years with Reserved Instances.

Simplify SQL Server migration to Azure

Easily migrate to Azure and enjoy powerful virtual machines with up to three times the performance of AWS2. When you migrate your on-premises SQL Server workloads to the cloud, you'll run your applications and business-intelligence workloads on the same virtual machine or dedicated host, but with more management capabilities. SQL Server offers the flexibility to deploy on Linux or Windows and provides preconfigured Azure Marketplace images on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Windows Server.

Be prepared with robust and simple high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR)

Use SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines as a disaster recovery site for on-premises SQL Server instances with the high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR) Software Assurance benefit, accessible through the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension. The extension also allows you to easily configure Always On availability groups as well as to monitor and manage their health.

Learn more about the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension

Protect your data with free, built-in security

Azure has the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud service provider. SQL Server IaaS Agent extension provides you with the option to automate the application of storage best practices and to deploy SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with preconfigured security and management best practices. The extension also allows you to automate installation of Windows and SQL Server security updates within a customer defined maintenance window. Plus, easily implement Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) to protect data at rest with Azure Key Vault integration.

Learn more about the trusted cloud

Advanced security on the most compliant cloud

  • Remediate potential threats in real-time with intelligent threat protection and proactive vulnerability assessment alerts.
  • Get industry-leading, multilayered protection with built-in security controls including network security, encryption, and access control.
  • Take advantage of the most comprehensive compliance coverage of any cloud database service.
  • Protect your data with Always Encrypted technology, where encryption keys are never revealed to the database engine.

SQL Server 2019 images are 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 for all relational and nonrelational data. Combine datasets across multiple databases in a performant manner with a comprehensive data virtualization solution. SQL Server 2019 delivers unparalleled security and performance across all data with new enhanced security and performance capabilities for both Windows and Linux.

Trusted by companies of all sizes

Italian enterprise resource planning (ERP) leader reduces costs and effort in the cloud with Microsoft SQL Server on Linux-based Azure Virtual Machines

Using SQL Server on Azure, TeamSystem reduced the effort and cost of running its platform while increasing its agility and speed of deployment—all without compromising performance.

Team System

Rx.Health revamps automated processes with Azure

"Our engineers and clinicians are creating automation and monitoring magic in healthcare with our platform, and Microsoft Azure is the foundation."

Richard Strobridge, Chief Executive Officer, Rx.Health

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 licenses in the cloud with Azure Hybrid Benefit to maximize cost savings in the cloud.


Pricing that helps you save with flexibility and choice

Manage costs across SQL Server editions and VM series 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 licenses and reserved pricing.3

Get started today

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

Easily deploy a new Windows or Linux virtual machine and customize your experience using the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension with guided storage optimization, monitoring configuration, and features including automated patching and backup.

To learn more, read the 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.

Learn more

SQL Server tools and APIs

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

Learn more

Guide for getting started

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

Learn more

Migrate your database to Azure

Join 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies that have moved to Azure. Get 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 the step-by-step Database Migration Guide for detailed instructions for each source and target pair.

Begin your cloud migration journey

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 Server on Azure Virtual Machines e-book

Read this Packt e-book to learn how to maximize value and performance by migrating your SQL Server workloads to Azure Virtual Machines.

Read the e-book

SQL IaaS GigaOm report

Read the GigaOm report that compares performance and price performance for SQL Server running in Azure Virtual Machines and Amazon Web Services EC2.

Read the report

SQL IaaS GigaOm report

Read the GigaOm report that compares performance and price performance for SQL Server running in Azure Virtual Machines and Amazon Web Services EC2.

Watch the webinar

Frequently asked questions

  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit is special pricing designed to help you maximize 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 preconfigured SQL Server VM images for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Linux, and Windows Server.
  • Azure Ultra Disk Storage for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is now generally available to purchase.
  • SQL Server 2012 Extended Support will end on July 12, 2022. At that point if you have SQL Server 2012 but don't have Software Assurance, you can now migrate to Azure and get Extended Security Updates free for three years. Learn more.

    If you have SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 but don't have Software Assurance, you can still enjoy Extended Security Updates in Azure. This includes one additional year of 2008 Extended Security Updates, only in Azure, until July 9, 2023 for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2.

  • Azure SQL is a family of fully managed, secure, and intelligent SQL database services. It offers the widest range of deployment options for SQL from the edge to the cloud—all built on the same SQL Server engine. Azure SQL provides both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)—SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines—and platform-as-a-service (PaaS)—Azure SQL Managed Instance and Azure SQL Database—options. Selecting the right service depends on a variety of factors, which include migration effort, ongoing administration, and the extent to which you want to modernize in the cloud.

    IaaS (SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines) is generally seen as the fastest and most straightforward migration option, but it requires a more hands-on approach to database administration. You'll continue to purchase, install, configure, and manage your own software, including operating systems, middleware, and applications.

    Fully managed PaaS (Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure SQL Database ) reduces or eliminates day-to-day administration but may require changes to the application code. Automated and intelligent features boost performance and data protection on your behalf, while cloud-native technologies like serverless and Hyperscale automatically scale compute and storage resources based on workload demands.

1Total cost of ownership (TCO) is up to five times lower than 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 cost. Prices are as of June 4, 2021, and subject to change. Actual regional pricing and program 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.

2This claim comes from a performance benchmarking test done by GigaOm on March 3, 2021. Performance claims reflect comparison of throughput at a given price point for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with Premium SSD managed disks for high performance SSD versus AWS General Purpose IOPS, and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with General Purpose SSD versus SQL Server on AWS EC2 with Provisioned IOPS. Premium SSD managed disks are generally available to purchase. The datasets used in the benchmark were generated based on the information provided in the TPC Benchmark™ E (TPC-E) specification. For this testing, we used the database scaled for 1,000,000 customers. This scaling determined the initial data volume of the database. For example, a total of 1,000,000 customers is multiplied by 17,280 to determine the number of rows in the TRADE table: 17,280,000,000. Learn more.

3There 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.

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