Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse Review

Easy to set up and use, good technical support, and works with a variety of SQL databases

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for data warehousing. Specifically, we have an ERP that does not have a direct connection to our Power BI solution. This connection will exist in the future, but in the meantime, we use an ETL process to transport data out of the ERP into Azure SQL, and then from Azure SQL into Power BI. At that point, we can use the dashboard to display our information.

Our environment is a private cloud.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of this solution are its easy setup and ease of use.

The SQL functions are ok. I've been working with Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL for a long time, and everything is good.

Technical support is very good.

What needs improvement?

There are several things that I would like to see improved with this solution, including:

  • The price of this solution could be improved.
  • I would like to see better integration with Active Directory, because we have had problems, and we still do.
  • I expected that Microsoft would have had something out of the box for Office 365, but they do not.
  • It is difficult to configure, especially if you have multiple domains.
  • I would like to see a simpler interface for the Azure portal because it is kind of complicated.
  • It would be nice to have better monitoring of the usage of the data inside Azure SQL. What we don't use could be achieved in cloud storage. This would allow us to cut down the price.
  • Better customization would improve this solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is perfect. We have no problem with this solution, and it has not gone down in three years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This scalability of this solution is five out of five. It is easy to scale, although it is a bit pricey compared to the competition, even with the Microsoft discount that we get for being a big enterprise.

We have approximately three hundred users for Azure SQL. With respect to Power BI reporting that can run queries in Azure SQL, I think that there are thousands. We have no plans to expand at this time.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support for this solution is amazing. I have contacted them once, and the response time was amazing. They actually developed something that I suggested in the dialog within two months.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We used Power BI before choosing this solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is straightforward, with no issues.

The deployment took about three and a half months, although the time was not because of Azure SQL. It was our ETL tools that we used in-house during the deployment.

We have one cloud engineer, somebody from Microsoft that helps us from time to time, and someone from TPC who assists with the maintenance.

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator, TPC US, to assist us with our deployment, and I highly recommend them.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI, for sure, but I cannot provide any numbers.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is a pricey solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This solution was my recommendation, and I made it because we are a big Microsoft customer and, as such, felt that the integration would be smoother. It probably was.

We did evaluate other options including Google Sheets, Google BigQuery, and another solution from Microsoft.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody researching this or a similar solution is to list the pros and cons, along with the price, and estimate your needs before starting the project. I would also suggest contacting support for Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Finally, look into other, better-niched providers, like Teradata.

Scaling this solution is easy and the uptime is okay. It is easy to use, and the support is excellent. My biggest complaint is the cost.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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