SQL Azure Benefits

Gaston Nusimovich
Software Architect at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Some customers' applications require very large tables (large number of records). Here are examples of how this solution helped them: * Performance of memory-optimized tables in SQL Azure exceeds that of an on premise SQL Server * Microsoft adds new features, including bug fixing, to SQL Azure every fortnight on the average. * Performance benchmark: There is a benchmark suite that is relevant, Azure SQL Database Benchmark (ASDB). This benchmark includes metrics in plans for the three-service tiers, Basic, Standard and Premium. (In-Memory OLTP support is only available in Premium tier plans.) The main reason for the business case of using SQL Azure for a few large tables for our customer was as follows: * Most of the tables in the data model (DM) for the application are small enough to have required performance in a Standard Edition of an on premise SQL Server instance. Only four tables are large enough and have peaks of concurrent transactions per minute that are large enough to require in-memory OLTP support. * We needed to compare TCO for an Enterprise on premise SQL Server instance for the entire DM (that would be mainly under-utilized) versus TCO of a Standard on-premises for most of the DM + TCO of SQL Database with in-memory OLTP support for these four tables. (TCO for this scenario includes an estimate of changes in the design of the application.) * This TCO comparison was calculated for a period of two years. That is the time between a given version of on premise SQL Server and the next version. * The end result was a lower TCO for the second scenario. The first scenario implies paying an Enterprise instance up-front at the start of the two year period. * In the second scenario, the application would have two data repositories. Transactional control for the app is the reason why I mentioned the limitation of the SQL database. It only supports distributed transactions between instances of SQL Azure. That was a technical problem to solve. This was one of the main reasons for the changes in the app in the second scenario. * We had to make some changes to the app to separate transactions and their contexts for the two repositories. * In this case, it would be an improvement if Microsoft were to provide support of distributed transactions between SQL Azure instances. We would also like to see support for other kinds of services for Microsoft and other vendors who support standard distributed transactions. View full review »
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