A Strategic Move for SQL Server Workloads: Migrate to Azure Virtual Machines

"Unlock the power of migrating to Azure Virtual Machines for enhanced flexibility, scalability, and performance.

Table of Content

    The Shift to Cloud-Based Flexibility

    With the end of support for older versions of SQL Server, such as SQL Server 2012, organizations face the critical task of ensuring their database systems remain secure, efficient, and up-to-date. One of the most viable solutions is migrating your workload to an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) running SQL Server. This approach is particularly suitable for migrations requiring OS-level access and for applications that demand quick, minimal-change transitions to the cloud. 

    The Azure Virtual Machine Advantage for SQL Server

    Key Benefits 

    • Free Extended Security Updates: SQL Server 2012 on Azure VMs receive free Extended Security Updates for three years past the end of support date, without requiring Software Assurance. 
    • Cost-Saving: Eliminates the costs of hardware and server software; pay only for hourly usage. 
    • Lift-and-Shift Capability: Straightforward migration with minimal or no changes required. 
    • Hosted Environment Benefits: Offload hardware and software maintenance. 
    • Automation: Automated patching and backups for Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions. 
    • OS Control: Full control over the operating system with a familiar SQL Server feature set. 
    • Rapid Deployment: Quick deployment from a range of virtual machine images. 
    • License Mobility: Bring your existing license to reduce operating costs. 
    • High Availability: Up to 99.99% availability with Azure’s infrastructure and SQL Server’s high availability options. 

    Key Considerations 

    • Manageability: Ongoing management of both SQL Server and the operating system is required. 
    • Networking: Integration with existing networking and Active Directory adds complexity. 
    • Shared Storage Limitations: Azure VMs support failover cluster instances with specific storage configurations only. 
    • Scalability Downtime: Changing CPU and storage resources involves downtime. 
    • Size Limitation: The cumulative total of all databases is limited to 256 TB. 
    • Feature-Rich SQL Server on Azure VMs 

    Azure VMs offer full versions of SQL Server without the need to manage on-premises hardware, simplifying licensing costs with a pay-as-you-go model. They run in various geographic regions worldwide and come in different sizes, allowing you to tailor the VM to your specific workload needs. 

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    Enhanced Features with SQL IaaS Agent Extension

    Registering your SQL Server on Azure VM with the SQL IaaS Agent extension unlocks numerous benefits: 

    • Automated backup and patching 
    • Integration with Azure Key Vault and Azure Update Manager 
    • Flexible licensing and version/edition changes 
    • Configurable tempdb and Defender for Cloud portal integration 
    • SQL best practices assessment and disk utilization monitoring 
    • High Availability and Disaster Recovery 

    In addition to Azure’s built-in virtual machine availability, SQL Server on Azure VMs supports SQL Server’s high availability and disaster recovery features, such as Always On availability groups and failover cluster instances. 

    Licensing: Versatility and Cost-Effectiveness

    Azure VMs offer a range of SQL Server images, compatible with different versions and operating systems. You can choose a pay-as-you-go model or bring your own license for cost savings. The available images are continually updated, ensuring you have access to the latest SQL Server versions. 

    Getting Started with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machine

    To begin, you can create your SQL Server on an Azure VM using the Azure portal, PowerShell, or an ARM template. Azure offers comprehensive resources for connecting to your VM, migrating data, configuring storage, optimizing performance, and understanding pricing structures. 

    Making the Right Move with Expert Help 

    Migrating to Azure Virtual Machines is a strategic decision that offers a balance of flexibility, control, and cost-effectiveness. It is an ideal solution for organizations looking to modernize their SQL Server infrastructure with minimal disruption. 

    For those considering this migration path, expert guidance is key. At Velosio, we specialize in assisting with migrations to Azure Virtual Machines, ensuring your transition is smooth, efficient, and aligned with your business objectives. 

    Ready to migrate your SQL Server to Azure Virtual Machines? Contact Velosio for professional assistance and start your journey to a more agile and secure database environment. 

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