This blog post was co-authored by Eric Hudson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, CADD & AI.
We’re excited to announce the preview of Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, a new deployment option in SQL Database that streamlines the migration of SQL Server workloads to a fully managed database service. This new Managed Instance deployment option provides full SQL Server engine compatibility and native virtual network (VNET) support.
“SQL Managed Instance is that happy medium we were looking for. We needed the power and compatibility of SQL Server, but without the management overhead and cost that comes with running VMs 24x7. Not only will we get that power and ease of management, we’ll also be able to use the Azure Hybrid Benefit, which allows us to use our existing SQL Server licensing through Software Assurance. Developing, deploying, and managing our application is getting a whole lot easier and cheaper with Azure and SQL Managed Instance.”
Robert Shurbet, Senior Software Development Professional, Pivot Technology Solutions
Migrate your databases to a fully-managed service
Azure SQL Database is a fully-managed database service, which means that Microsoft operates SQL Server for you and ensures its availability and performance. SQL Database also includes innovative features that can enhance your security and business continuity to levels you’ve never experienced before. For example, you can rely on built-in high availability (HA), automated backups, and point-in-time restore to ensure business continuity. With a comprehensive security portfolio, you can implement intelligent features like Threat Detection which acts like an alarm system over your database, providing you proactive alerts about potential malicious activities—imagine virtually hands-free administration for hundreds to thousands of your SQL Server databases!
In addition to the benefits of a fully-managed service, Managed Instance enables an instance-scoped programming model that provides high compatibility with on-premises SQL Server (2005 through current versions), reducing or eliminating the need to re-architect applications and manage those databases after they are in the cloud. With Managed Instance, you can continue to rely on the same SQL Server tools you’ve used and loved for years—in the cloud, too. These include features such as native database restore, SQL Agent, Database Mail, Service Broker, Common Language Runtime (CLR), and Change Data Capture. To increase productivity and lower total cost of ownership, you can also lift and shift your SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) packages into a managed SSIS in Azure Data Factory (ADF) environment, where they will be stored in SSISDB hosted by Managed Instance and executed on Azure-SSIS Integration Runtime.
To streamline your migration to the cloud, Microsoft is also announcing the preview for Azure Database Migration Services (Azure DMS) support for Managed Instance. This enables SQL Server customers to more easily migrate their workloads to SQL Database Managed Instance. Azure DMS reduces the complexity of your cloud migration through a single, comprehensive service. The service supports migrations of homogeneous/heterogeneous source-target pairs, and the guided migration process is easy to understand and implement. Customers like DocuSign overwhelmingly see the value SQL Database Managed Instance brings to their productivity and scale initiatives.
“We process 1.1 million transactions per day on our platform and our transaction volume approximately doubles every year. We wanted the best of what we do in our data center, with the best of what Azure could bring to it. For us, we found Azure SQL Database was the best way to do it. We basically picked up our existing infrastructure and were able to deploy to Azure within a few seconds. It allows us to scale the business very quickly, with very minimal effort. The holy grail in a move like this is being able to lift your existing platform, move it into Azure without significant amounts of work, without having to re-engineer things.”
Eric Fleischman, Vice President & Chief Architect, DocuSign
To learn more, visit the Database Migration Service page.
Ensure ultimate isolation and security
Managed Instance is fully contained in your virtual network, so it provides the ultimate level of isolation and security for your data. You can now get the benefits of the public cloud while keeping your environment isolated from the public Internet.
The following diagram shows several options to deploy various application topologies completely in Azure or in a hybrid environment, regardless of whether you choose a fully managed service or hosted model for your front-end applications.
Any of these options allows connectivity to a SQL endpoint (TDS – tabular data stream), only through private IP addresses, which guarantees the optimal level of isolation for your data. For more details, see How to connect your application to Managed Instance.
Right-size your on-premises workloads in the cloud
Managed Instance introduces a pricing model based on virtual cores (vCores) that provides flexibility in selecting the right level of resources (storage and compute), making it easy to size workloads by comparing to physical cores on-premises. Managed Instance is initially available in a single performance tier, General Purpose, with the Business Critical performance tier coming online during the course of preview. For more information, see the SQL Database pricing page.
Save up to 30%* by leveraging on-premises SQL Server licenses
We’ve made Managed Instance a great economic choice, too, by offering support for Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. This benefit helps you maximize the value of your current SQL Server licensing investments and accelerate your migration to the cloud. Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is a benefit exclusive to Azure that enables you to use your SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance to pay a reduced rate on Managed Instance. Additionally, you will be able to migrate your SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) licenses to Azure Data Factory for a reduced rate with Azure Hybrid Benefit. If you are a SQL Server Enterprise Edition or Standard Edition customer and you have Software Assurance (SA), the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server can help you save up to 30%* on Managed Instance.
Available today in 20 Azure regions
At the time of this announcement, Managed Instance is initially available in 20 Azure regions: Canada Central, Canada East, Central US, East Asia, East US, East US 2, Japan East, Korea Central, Korea South, North Central US, North Europe, South Central US, South India, Southeast Asia, UK South, West Central US, West Europe, West India, West US, and West US 2. Managed Instance will be made available in more Azure regions through the course of preview.
Get started today!
Try Managed Instance today and let us know what you think! If you’re ready to migrate to a fully-managed database service, enroll into the preview from the Azure portal and accept the Preview terms.
Given high demand, we are managing acceptance into preview to ensure the best experience for our customers. Once you enroll in the portal, our goal is to confirm your status within three business days. Once accepted, you’ll be able to return to the Azure portal to complete the provisioning process. Otherwise, you’ll be invited to re-enroll at a later date.
Once you are in the preview, check out the article Create SQL Database Managed Instance QuickStart to create your first instance and learn how to easily migrate to SQL Database Managed Instance by using Azure DMS. Watch this five-minute video from Lara Rubbelke to learn more about Managed Instance and how it works:
For more details on user scenarios and a list of features and capabilities, visit the Managed Instance documentation page.
We’re excited for you to try SQL Database Managed Instance and experience virtually hands-free administration on all your SQL Server databases!
*Pricing for an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance price on US East price. The savings are calculated for Base rate when compared to fully priced (license included). The SA cost included above is for Open, NL. The SA prices may vary based on EA agreement.