SQL Azure Overview

SQL Azure is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Database as a Service vendors. It is most often compared to Google Cloud SQL: SQL Azure vs Google Cloud SQL

What is SQL Azure?
Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a relational database-as-a-service that delivers predictable performance, scalability, business continuity, data protection, and near-zero administration to cloud developers and solution architects. This is the deep technical library for Azure SQL Database.
SQL Azure Buyer's Guide

Download the SQL Azure Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

SQL Azure Customers
adnymics GmbH, LG CNS, Centrebet, netfabb GmbH, MedPlast, Accelera Solutions, Sochi Organizing Committee, realzeit GmbH
SQL Azure Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about SQL Azure pricing:
  • "I have an annual spend number, and it is in the hundred thousand dollar range. There are no additional costs to the standard licensing fees. Even though you have to look at the cost numbers of what you're going to be charged on a monthly basis, what you have to also remember is that your application may need a lot of rewriting and things like that. You get charged not just for the monthly costs but also for the transactions that occur. If your access to the data layer is not so efficient, your costs will go up because you're pulling far more data than you potentially need. These are hidden costs that nobody ever considers. If your application is not written very efficiently, you may actually increase your costs over on-prem versus cloud."
  • "It is beneficial in terms of cost because you are charged per data unit instead of licensing."
  • "We pay less than $1000 monthly in licensing fees. There are no additional costs."

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SZ
Tech Clinical Engineer at APN Promise
Real User
When we have a problem with a query we can trade information about what indexes we should create on tables

Pros and Cons

  • "What is really helpful about the Azure SQL is that when we have a problem with our sound queries, we can trade information about what indexes we should create on tables. It's really helpful for me and also for developers."
  • "I need something which is in one place so I can automate the Azure data factory, but it's a different tool. It's not easy and in one place, so I can't switch to the other tool and do something there, automate everything there in the on-prem infrastructure, and then have everything in the agent. I can just pick one packet and use it. However, I want to be able to click it and run it."

What other advice do I have?

We use a few different versions. It depends on the project. We use the S-1, 2, and 3, depending on the customer's requirements. If we compare, for example, the cloud infrastructure and on-prem infrastructure, there are lots of good things about cloud infrastructure because we can scale the product so that every single time when we need more performance, more computing, more storage we can just reach to the higher plan, and we can use it. There is obviously cost reduction because although we still need an on-prem trader for SQL parts, it's not hard like it was in SQL brand because we also had…
Michael John
Senior Database Administrator at a recruiting/HR firm with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5
A very stable and highly scalable solution that has cut down the size of our data center by 80%

What is our primary use case?

It is simply our relational database.

Pros and Cons

  • "Cost savings are the most valuable. The DR/high availability is also valuable. The failover group with the built-in DR/high availability features is probably one of the easiest things."
  • "Its automation can be improved. SQL Server Agent was a very big part of the on-prem tools. While moving from on-prem to the cloud, redoing some of such tools was very cumbersome in Azure. There was a whole new set of technologies and methodologies. It should have easier automation-type features to be able to implement such tools. It should have almost a SQL agent type of substance built into that."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate SQL Azure an eight out of ten.
Learn what your peers think about SQL Azure. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
512,221 professionals have used our research since 2012.
SE
Cloud Solution Engineer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Cost-effective, very scalable and reliable, and lets you easily migrate your on-premise SQL instance

What is our primary use case?

We're slowly progressing through the delivery of our production system or landing zone in the cloud. Nothing is in production yet.

Pros and Cons

  • "Its cost benefit is most valuable because you are charged per data unit instead of licensing. You can easily migrate your on-premise SQL to the cloud with a managed instance. That's what it is designed to do. It is easy to take your on-premise or older SQL instance and move it to the cloud. It makes it easy to get off your on-premise SQL and start utilizing the cost benefit of the cloud."
  • "I'm not really a SQL DBA, so I can't go into the depths of the areas that need to be improved. They can maybe make it a bit easier to educate people on how to develop SQL Server in Azure. They can provide some free seminars and webinars and more training in general for easier migration. I know there is some stuff on Microsoft learning, but it would be helpful and useful to have more up-to-date content."

What other advice do I have?

I would absolutely recommend this solution to others. If they are going for Azure, they probably don't have a choice. I would advise others to get used to all the options and ideas of SQL PaaS, SQL managed instances, and SQL on VMs. They should get their head around which one is best for their company. They should make sure that it fits their company's vision of where they want to go with their databases because it may or may not be the best solution for everybody. That's why there are a couple of options, so just make sure to select the right one. I would rate SQL Azure an eight out of ten…
JS
Solution Principal at a computer software company with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
A very mature product with good documentation and good stability

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for its Data Lake and Data Warehouse, in both cases for our customers.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is a fairly mature product. It provides good stability."
  • "From a security perspective, although their features are decent, they can always be improved upon, updated, and refined to help protect clients better."

What other advice do I have?

We're Microsoft partners. The solution is constantly being updated. We're on whatever the latest version/update is at any given time. We're a consultancy, so we work with a variety of clients and adjust solutions based on their needs. I'd advise new users to take advantage of the documentation on offer from Microsoft. It will really help them understand the solution. Overall, I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.
RM
Senior Information Technology Manager at a aerospace/defense firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Easy to provision, scale up, and scale down

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for an application in two different models, the PaaS model and the SaaS model. One is the product, so we are using it as a SaaS model. We are using the other one simply as a PaaS model. For its deployment, we are sort of using the highest model in which one instance has only VM and the SQL installer on it. Another instance is simply using SQL Azure.

Pros and Cons

  • "We primarily and generally use it only for DB purposes. When it comes to the Azure part, we can easily provision, scale up, and scale down the generator machine. This kind of flexibility is the USP of SQL Azure. Its interface and ease of use are also valuable. It is very easy to use and integrate with multiple databases. If I need to pull in or import some data from my on-premises database, the ease with which you can connect and pull the data, not only from SQL Server but also from other flavors of MySQL or even Oracle, is very good."
  • "The way it has been designed, in the on-premises deployments, the underlying Windows OS is highly scalable but has a very large resource requirement. A lot of power-related and memory-related things are there, which I have not seen in the RHEL and Oracle. I have not tried SQL on RHEL EXEC. On Windows, infrastructure-wise, a very large workload is running on the SQL. This issue is related to Windows, not SQL."

What other advice do I have?

I would, of course, highly recommend this solution. You cannot avoid SQL Server or SQL Azure if you are primarily working in the database domain. There are a lot of other databases available in the market, but the ease with which you can do the development and the overall support that you get cannot be compared with any other database. I would rate SQL Azure a nine out of ten.
Nhan-Nguyen
Development Manager at Incepta
Real User
Top 5
Very reliable, versatile, simple to use and reasonably priced

What is our primary use case?

As consultants, we deploy this solution to our customers both on cloud and on-prem. Most of our clients buy the solution as an application package which requires a database. If they are a "Microsoft shop," I recommend they use SQL Server. I'm the development manager and we are customers of Azure.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution has become easier to use over time and it's also reasonably priced."
  • "Some issues with scalability."

What other advice do I have?

If our clients are non-Microsoft clients and they have the money, then I recommend Oracle. But for ease of use, scalability, and value for money, I like SQL. I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.
KH
Program Solution Architect at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable and easy to use with good technical support

What is our primary use case?

Azure has multiple use cases. Organizations can use it for hosting infrastructure, for example. There are cloud services that you can utilize. The main purpose of the cloud is that you don't need to set up your own data center, and then you can just use the cloud platforms provided by Azure or AWS, or any other cloud. They all serve the same purpose.

Pros and Cons

  • "It's easy to use in terms of their portal, which is very nicely organized."
  • "Their availability in the Middle East and Asia regions needs to improve."

What other advice do I have?

We are partners. We are working on the latest version of the solution. I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. I would recommend the solution. There are not many cloud providers. Azure and AWS are some of the top providers. These are the two which compete with each other, and both of them have good services. That said, I would recommend Azure for sure.
IM
IT Manager at a pharma/biotech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Since moving to the cloud I have less troubleshooting and the database has become more stable

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use it for accounting and ERP solutions.

Pros and Cons

  • "The initial setup was straightforward. It took less than one day for deployment."
  • "The solution could be less expensive. They need to work on their pricing model."

What other advice do I have?

I'm currently moving my system onto the cloud. I'm using a hybrid version of the solution. My advice to anyone looking to switch to the cloud is to stabilize the technology and to consider Amazon, Azure, and Google. If you don't have experience in the cloud, you have to consider all solutions and pick the best one for your company. I decided to go with Microsoft Azure because of my past experience. So if you don't have the experience to fall back on, consider all technologies as well as their cost, money, and features. I would rate the solution eight out of ten because of the cost. I'd like it…
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