There are many SQL databases in the market, some better than others. Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database, which leverages on Windows Azure cloud computing platform and which borrows from SQL Server database technology, is one of the industry leaders. There are several reasons why you should migrate your database to it.
- Elastic databases/pools
If you are a small business or app and your usage patterns are predictable, you can dial single DB performance up and down on demand. This is, however, not practical with unpredictable usage patterns since managing the business model and costs will be difficult. Azure SQL DB has elastic pools where performance is automatically allocated to a pool and you are charged for the collective pool performance as opposed to single DB performance.
- High availability
Since Azure SQL Database is a Microsoft SQL Server® Cloud service, this means your DB will be hosted on a highly-secure Microsoft-owned and operated data center. Your DB will have almost 100% availability (Microsoft offers 99.99% availability SLA (service level agreement) which is industry-leading SLA. You get to choose which of Microsoft’s data centers your DB will be hosted in.
A good DBA service will advise you if you need additional protection layers in case of errors or disasters given your specific business demands. Azure SQL DBs has three service tiers (Basic, Standard, & Premium), with each offering different features. Examples of how to protect the integrity of your data using Azure SQL are using point-in-time restoration to restore a DB to an earlier data (even 35 days) and fail over to a DB replica in another country if the data center hosting your DB has an outage (Geo-Replication).
- High server security
Your data will be safe and secure because of Microsoft’s SQL Server security – the same security that many giant corporations use. You can fine-tune the Azure SQL security for even greater data security. As an example, you have a say on the number of people who can access your DB and on what each user is able to access.
- Easy migration
Most business owners who know the benefits of Azure SQL DBs simply avoid migration because they think this is disruptive and complex. The fact is Azure SQL VM Servers are optimized for easy migration of applications and hybrid deployment (extension of on-premise apps to the cloud).The fact that you can build applications on Windows Azure or on-premises and move the applications to SQL Azure later gives you great flexibility.
If you already have a data migration tool for SQL Server to Server instances, it will still work. You can also use T-SQL scripting, Microsoft Sync Framework, SQL Database Migration Wizard (not supported by Microsoft), or the bcp utility for migration. You will get V12 Portability with Azure SQL where you can move your DB in and out of PaaS and IaaS and to and from the cloud, something that was very costly in the past.
- Easy Sync
Azure SQL has sync tools for those that have SQL Server data stored somewhere and they want to sync it with Azure. You can also migrate the data passively via sync. SQL Data Sync, published by Microsoft, enables you to achieve this and the service and inbound data to Azure are free of charge.
- Improved business performance
With the high availability architecture, you get higher speed data retrieval and speed connectivity and low downtime. All these factors work towards improving the performance of your business. You get more capabilities with an Azure SQL DB. As an example, your technicians can enter required data on the spot and they will get all the info about their next case on the spot. With Query Store, you will be able to track your DB performance metrics across different hardware and host platforms. It will then give you a competitive view of different configurations and time periods.
- Low DB development and deployment costs
If you are considering hiring expert DBA services, you will pay less with Azure SQL DBs because it will take days and a smaller number of people to develop the database as compared by the months needed for web-based applications. You need not buy any software since the runtime is free.
The fact that you can use SQL Server Management Studio and SQLCMD further reduces the initial rollout cost. You will not need to manage a virtual machine, DB software, or OS, bringing down your administration cost. You also save money because you do not have to design, build/buy and manage the data protection and fault tolerance.
There are different solutions for both small and large organizations. If you are a start-up business with a small budget, $4.99 per DB per month will give you 150 GB per DB is all you need.Azure SQL DB also allows for geographical and horizontal scaling (which enables DB sharding) and AlwaysOn and other readable secondaries.
- Backward compatibility
If you are hell bent on maintaining your traditional SQL Server application, Azure SQL is still a good idea because it allows you to test and develop such traditional applications. With this option, you will have both cloud-based VM and dedicated SQL Server instances. You should only consider this option if you have IT resources able to maintain VMs.
- Multitenant apps
Traditionally, there was a tradeoff in customer security, management, and performance when SaaS developers were writing multitenant app for different customers. This is no longer the case with Azure SQL DBs because the developer can monitor and manage multitenant applications. You also get one-customer-per-DB isolation benefits.
- Non-Microsoft technology support:
Microsoft seems to have decided to support many 3rd party software technologies across the different Azure layers to encourage people to use Azure with the software they are already comfortable working with. Among the supported software are Python, node.js, NoSQL, PHP, Java, and Hadoop. Windows Azure HDInsight (Hadoop on Azure system) is available by invitation only at the moment. The Polybase in the Cloud feature allows for the querying of non-rational storage in the T-SQL context, meaning you can use data from anywhere in the cloud.
Author Bio: Bill Williams is a DBA expert with many years of experience in rational DBs like Azure SQL. Hiring expert DBA services saves you money since you do not have to hire an in-house team. It also allows you to concentrate on running your core business.