SQL Server features in hybrid scenarios with Microsoft Azure


 

When I visit customers, the curiosity about Azure is always very high. One of the most frequent questions I get is:

“Can you help me to identify what I can do to modernize my datacenter leveraging some of the hybrid services that Azure offers?”

Well, that is an interesting question, but a simple blog post is certainly not the right place to answer it entirely. However, we can try to focus on a specific scenario here, so let me rephrase the sentence in this way:

“I already have SQL Server installed in my datacenter; I would like to utilize Azure to do backups, or to design a High Availability / Disaster Recovery solution. What can I do with my existing on-premises environment?”

To answer the question I decided to build a simple table that includes the most commonly used features that SQL Server provides for backups and HA/DR scenarios, like Log Shipping, DB Mirroring and AlwaysOn Availability Groups.

I am not covering SQL Server Failover Cluster here, as it is not a supported scenario in a hybrid configuration with Azure. Furthermore, I am not covering external tools; I am just focusing on SQL Server embedded features or, in case of backups, tools shipped by the product group to allow older versions of SQL Server to backup files to Azure Storage.

The table below assumes that the customer has a SQL Server installation already in-place, and he needs to extend the on-premises datacenter to use Azure for backups or HA/DR. First column is the version of SQL Server, and I have started from SQL Server 2005 up to SQL Server 2014. The other columns represent the features that we just mentioned above. I hope it will help you with the conversations with your customers.

 

SQL Server features in hybrid scenarios with Microsoft Azure

 

SQL Server Version

Backup

Log Shipping

Database Mirroring

AlwaysOn Availability Groups

2005 STD

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

not supported

not supported

NA

2005 ENT

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

not supported

not supported

NA

2008 STD

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y (Safety FULL)

*

**

NA

2008 ENT

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y *

NA

2008R2 STD

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y (Safety FULL)

*

**

NA

2008R2 ENT

-        Microsoft SQL Server Backup to Microsoft Azure Tool

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y

*

NA

2012 STD

-        SQL Server native Backup to URL

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y (Safety FULL)

*

**

NA

2012 ENT

-        SQL Server native Backup to URL

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y

*

Y *

2014 STD

-        SQL Server native Backup to URL

-        SQL Server Managed Backup to Microsoft Azure

-        Backup Encryption

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y (Safety FULL)

*

**

***

NA

2014 ENT

-        SQL Server native Backup to URL

-        SQL Server Managed Backup to Microsoft Azure

-        Backup Encryption

-        Network Share on Azure Virtual Machine *

Y *

Y

*

***

Y *

 

*requires a VPN connection between the on-premises network and Microsoft Azure

** Synchronous commit could affect performances in hybrid configurations

*** Database Mirroring is a deprecated feature

Further Information

SQL Server 2014 enables the possibility to store database files as Azure Blobs. You can learn more about this feature here, or read this Whitepaper

Francesco

@francedit

Comments (3)

  1. Ed (DareDevil57) says:

    thanks for sharing.

  2. __Francesco says:

    Hi, here you could find a tutorial :
    http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/virtual-networks-create-site-to-site-cross-premises-connectivity/ .Please consider that this tutorial requires also network administration skills, especially on the on-premises gateway configuration.
    HTH

  3. Moug says:

    Hi, Thanks for the information.. Can you please point me to page where it says about creating a VPN between on premise and Azure? I tried my best in last 2 week but no page is clear on 2008 R2 Ent.

    Note -> am a junior DBA so need more training in networking.. So I need help on Azure

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