October 24


What is SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines? 

By Ryan Freeman

October 24, 2022

There are a few flavours of Azure SQL so we thought it could be helpful to go into each in more detail. Today, we are focussing on SQL Server on Azure VMs and some of the 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 industry category Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and allows you to run SQL Server inside a fully managed virtual machine (VM) in Azure. 

There are many advantages of running SQL Server on a Azure VM, these include 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 when compared to other cloud technology providers. Microsoft also give you the opportunity to migrate on-premises SQL Server licenses to the cloud at no additional cost with Azure Hybrid Benefit.  

Another benefit if you are 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 percent compatible with SQL Server on-premises workloads but with more management capabilities. You have the option to 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. Plus, 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 installation of Windows and SQL Server security updates within a customer-defined maintenance window. Also, easily 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 conclude our look into Azure SQL products with Azure SQL Edge so stay tuned! 

Digital Samurai 

Digital Samurai live and breathe SQL Server, and now Azure SQL – which is built on SQL Server. We would love to hear what plans you have for your Data Platforms whether you are working on-premises with SQL Server, thinking of 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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