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SQL Server Deployment in Azure Virtual Machines

Updated: February 28, 2014

Azure allows you to bring your own existing SQL Server virtual machines to Azure or create one by using the platform provided SQL Server image. For information on the infrastructure-as-a-service offering in Azure, see Overview of Azure Virtual Machines. This topic assumes that you are already familiar with the fundamental image and disk concepts in Azure. For information on virtual hard disk files, images, and disks in Azure, see Manage Disks and Images.

Consider these techniques when deploying SQL Server to Azure:

  • Create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure by using a platform gallery image: You create a new virtual machine in Azure using the platform provided SQL Server image. You can use the Management Portal, PowerShell, or the REST API to create your own SQL Server virtual machine directly in the cloud by using an image that is provided in the Image Gallery of the Azure Management Portal. For information on how to create a SQL Server virtual machine by using the platform image, see Provisioning a SQL Server virtual machine on Azure. Then, you can prepare the schema and data on-premises and upload them to an instance of SQL Server in a virtual machine by using the migration tools and techniques provided at Migrating to SQL Server in a Azure Virtual Machine. In this case, you would be charged for standard virtual machine rates as well as SQL Server rates as specified at Pricing Details.

  • Use SQL Server Management Studio to deploy an on-premise instance of SQL Server to a Azure virtual machine: You can use an existing VM or create a new VM as part of the Deployment Wizard in SSMS. For more information, see Deploy a SQL Server Database to a Azure Virtual Machine.

  • Create a Windows Server virtual machine in Azure and then install SQL Server using SQL Server setup: You create a Windows Server virtual machine in Azure by using the platform provided Windows Server image. Then, you can copy all the SQL Server setup or data files to a virtual hard drive (VHD) file on-premises and upload the VHD file to Azure by using the Add-AzureVhd cmdlet. When the upload process is completed, you can attach the uploaded VHD to your virtual machine in Azure as an attached disk. Then, you can install the required SQL Server components to your virtual machine in Azure. Since you bring your own SQL Server license, you would not be charged for SQL Server. For detailed information, see How to copy SQL Server data and setup files in a data disk from on-premises to Azure. This topic also demonstrates how to create a VHD file on-premises and copy SQL Server data or setup files to the VHD file.

  • Create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure by using the existing on-premises Sysprepped SQL Server virtual machine disk: You create a virtual machine on-premises, install the required SQL Server components, run Sysprep on the Windows operating system and upload the VHD file to Azure as an image by using the Add-AzureVHD cmdlet. By using the uploaded VHD, you can create multiple new virtual machines in Azure. Since you bring your own SQL Server license, you would not be charged for SQL Server.

    With this technique, you have two options for creating the SQL Server virtual disk before it is sysprepped:

    • You can perform a full setup of SQL Server in your virtual machine on-premises and then upload VHD to Azure.

    • You can install SQL Server by using the Image preparation of a stand-alone instance of SQL Server setup option. With this option, the SQL Server is not completely installed. You upload the VHD file and complete the installation in the Azure platform. This functionality helps you to customize the user credentials, the database, and file locations, and so on.

    For more information, see How to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using the existing on-premises SQL Server virtual machine.

  • Create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure by using a pre-created SQL Server disk: This technique helps you to move your existing SQL Server virtual machine without running Sysprep on the virtual machine. You upload VHD to Azure as an operating system disk and create a new virtual machine in Azure by using this uploaded disk. In this case, you can create only one virtual machine by using the uploaded disk. Since you do not run Sysprep on the virtual machine, the virtual machine keeps the same security identifier that is assigned to it on-premises. In case, you need to connect multiple copies of this virtual machine in the on-premises and Azure environments via Azure Virtual Network, duplicate SIDs might pose a problem. For more information, see How to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using the existing on-premises SQL Server disk.

  • Move SQL Server data and setup files to Azure by using Azure Blob Storage and SlipStream packages: This technique helps you to move your existing SQL Server data or setup files to a virtual machine in Azure by using Azure Blob Storage and FullSlipStream Packages. Create a Blob storage in Azure and upload your data or setup files to the Blob Storage directly from on-premises computer. For more information, see How to use the Azure Blob Storage Service in .NET. Then, connect to your virtual machine in Azure and download the contents of the Blob object to a local file. If the Blob object contains the setup files, you might want to download the service packs or cumulative updates as well. For SQL Server 2012, you can also download the FullSlipStream setup packages from the Download Center and install SQL Server directly.

  • Use Remote Desktop to transfer SQL Server setup or data files from on-premises computer to a virtual machine in Azure: When you connect to a virtual machine in Azure, you can set up the connection options at Remote Desktop in a way that can enable you to transfer your SQL Server setup and data files. First, make your local disk drives available in a remote desktop session. In the Remote Desktop Connection window, click Options. On the Local Resources tab, under Local devices, click Disk drives. Then, click Connect. Once logged in to the virtual machine, you should be able to see all your on-premises drives in the Windows Explorer in the virtual machine in Azure. You can copy and paste your files from on-premises to virtual machine.

  • Use Azure Virtual Network to transfer SQL Server setup or data files to a virtual machine in Azure: If you create a virtual machine in Azure and if it is located in a Azure Virtual Network that connects to your on-premises network, you can see the virtual machine in Azure as one of your on-premises computers. In this case, you can copy individual data or setup files to your virtual machine if you enable file-sharing on the virtual machine. This solution might not work well for larger numbers of files.

  • Copy SQL Server database schema and data to Azure Virtual Machine: There are various options to copy the SQL Server database schema and data from on-premises to SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines. For more information, see Migrating SQL Server database schema and data to Azure Virtual Machine.

The following tutorials will help you learn how to deploy SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines:

In This Section

 

Topic Description

How to copy SQL Server data and setup files in a data disk from on-premises to Azure

This topic explains how to copy your SQL Server data files or setup bits to a virtual machine in Azure by using a local fixed size virtual hard disk (VHD).

How to create a base virtual machine on-premises using Hyper-V

This topic demonstrates how to use Hyper-V Manager to create a VHD file that will be uploaded to Azure.

How to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using the existing on-premises SQL Server disk

This topic describes how to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure by using the on-premises SQL Server virtual hard drive (VHD) file.

How to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using the existing on-premises SQL Server virtual machine

This topic describes how to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using the existing on-premises SQL Server virtual machine.

How to use PowerShell to set up a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure

Demonstrates how to create and configure a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure using PowerShell.

How to Use Attached Data Disk to Store Database Files

This topic explains when and how to use attached data disks to store database files.

See Also

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