Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance 

By Ryan Freeman

October 19, 2022

azure, azure SQL, managed instances

Welcome to the third in the series of our SQL Server 2022 feature-specific posts. Last week we were looking at Query Store enhancements, and this week, we are looking at the new Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance. 

When will we have SQL Server 2022? 

For those who don’t know, SQL Server 2022 is coming and should be released later in 2022. At the time of writing, you can now download SQL Server 2022 preview to try the new features in the latest release.

‘SQL Server 2022 is the most Azure-enabled release of SQL Server yet, with continued innovation across performance, security, and availability.’ – Microsoft. 

What is Azure SQL Managed Instance? 

Azure SQL Managed Instance (or SQL MI for short) is part of the Azure SQL family of managed, secure, and intelligent products that use the SQL Server database engine in the Azure cloud. 

Azure SQL Managed Instance is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering and is best for most migrations to the cloud. SQL Managed Instance is a collection of system and user databases with a shared set of resources that is lift-and-shift ready. 

Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance

This new feature lets you connect your SQL Servers hosted anywhere to Azure SQL Managed Instance, providing hybrid flexibility and database mobility.  

It’s important to note that this connectivity (available in private preview) is only supported for SQL Server 2019 and SQL Server 2022. SQL Server 2016 will soon be helped, but it is essential to check beforehand if you are using this version of SQL Server or even SQL Server 2014. 

This new link feature from SQL Server to Azure SQL Managed Instance uses near real-time data replication so you can offload workloads to a read-only secondary in Azure and take advantage of Azure-only features, performance, and scale. 

If a disaster happens, this new link feature allows you to continue running your read-only workloads from the SQL Managed Instance in Azure. You can also migrate your apps from SQL Server to SQL Managed Instance simultaneously to minimise downtime. 

The technology that underpins the near real-time data replication between SQL Server and SQL Managed Instance is based on distributed availability groups, part of the well-known and Always proven On availability group technology stack.  

Hopefully, that is an excellent introduction to the new Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance; next week, we’ll be looking at Contained Availability Groups, so stay tuned! 

Digital Samurai 

Are you excited by the new version of SQL 2022? At Digital Samurai, we certainly are! We would love to hear your thoughts. 

It may also benefit you to know that on the 27th of July, 2022, extended support ended for SQL Server version 2012. Is this a version you are using, or any prior? 

If you have any questions on SQL Server 2022 or upgrading to the later versions of SQL Server, please feel free to get in touch; we will be delighted to assist. 

Digital Samurai are a team of data and SQL experts that have experienced every version through the years – yes, back to SQL Server 6.0! We also have a wealth of experience in upgrades and migrations and are always available to help. 

Ryan Freeman

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