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What is SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines? 

By Ryan Freeman

October 24, 2022

azure, SQL, sql server, virtual machines

There are a few flavours of Azure SQL, so we thought it could be helpful to go into each in more detail. Today, we focus on SQL Server on Azure VMs and some advantages of migrating SQL Server workloads to the cloud. 

Firstly, SQL Server on Azure VMs is part of the Azure SQL family of managed, secure, and intelligent products that make it possible to use the SQL Server database engine in the Azure cloud. 

SQL Server on Azure VM falls into the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) industry category. It allows you to run SQL Server inside Azure’s fully managed virtual machine (VM). 

There are many advantages of running an SQL Server on an Azure VM: lowering your total cost of ownership (TCO) with Azure Hybrid Benefit, simplified SQL Server migration to Azure and simple high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR). All of this is with the additional built-in security that Azure offers. 

Let’s take a look at the features in more detail:  

Performance and Cost Optimisation   

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines performs very well compared to other cloud technology providers. With Azure Hybrid Benefit, Microsoft also allows you to migrate on-premises SQL Server licenses to the cloud at no additional cost.  

Another benefit of operating SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2012 is that you can migrate your SQL Server workloads to Azure and get free Extended Security Updates. 


SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is 100 per cent compatible with SQL Server on-premises workloads but with more management capabilities.

You can deploy on Linux or Windows and use preconfigured Azure Marketplace images on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Pro Linux, and Windows Server. Effectively, you can migrate with no code changes. 

High Availability / Disaster Recovery 

When considering HA/DR, you can use SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines as a disaster recovery site for on-premises SQL Server instances. You can easily configure Always On availability groups to monitor and manage SQL Server health. 


Azure has comprehensive security built into Azure. You can use the extension to deploy SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines with preconfigured security and management best practices and automate the installation of Windows and SQL Server security updates within a customer-defined maintenance window.

Also, quickly implement transparent data encryption (TDE) to protect data at rest with Azure Key Vault. 

That concludes our introduction to SQL Server on Azure VMs. Next week we’ll complete our look into Azure SQL products with Azure SQL Edge, so stay tuned! 

Digital Samurai 

Digital Samurai lives and breathes SQL Server, and now Azure SQL, built on SQL Server. We would love to hear your plans for your Data Platforms, whether you are working on-premises with SQL Server, considering migrating to the cloud or have even been ‘born in the cloud’! 

With our team of SQL Server and Azure SQL experts, we offer help in all areas (upgrades, migrations, management, analytics, security …) and are a friendly bunch, so please feel free to get in touch!

Ryan Freeman

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