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Getting Ready to Migrate to SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines

Updated: March 13, 2014

This topic provides guidelines and recommendations on migration to SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines:

Migration Plan

When you begin planning your migration, we recommend that you consider several key factors such as cost, business and technical requirements, timeline, and any testing that is required in the process of the migration. Cost is one of the biggest questions which needs be answered and it is recommended that it be addressed early in the decision making and planning process when considering the migration of an on-premises database or application to Azure. We recommend that you use the Azure VM Pricing Calculator to help estimate the monthly costs associated with the use of Azure Virtual Machines. For general migration guidance for Azure, we recommend that you read the articles in the Migrating Data-Centric Applications to Azure guide.

In addition, consider using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit. The MAP Toolkit is an inventory, assessment, and reporting tool that helps you assess your current IT infrastructure and determine the right Microsoft technologies for your IT needs. The MAP Toolkit gathers inventory and performance data from computers you are considering for virtualization and provides recommendations on capacity and assessment planning. You can use the following reports and wizards that the MAP Toolkit can generate for Azure Platform:

  • Azure VM Readiness Report: Provides a summary of the Microsoft Windows Server and Linux machines that are evaluated to be migrated to an Azure Virtual Machine.

  • Azure VM Capacity Report: Provides a summary of estimated resource usage and sizing requirements to migrate your physical and virtual servers to Azure Virtual Machines.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see Azure Virtual Machine Readiness and Capacity Assessment.

Licensing for SQL Server images and editions in Azure

While planning your migration, consider the available virtual machine image sizes and the supported SQL Server editions in Azure. Billing in SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines depends on the virtual machine size that you choose as well as the licensing of SQL Server. The following table includes the supported versions and the licensing considerations of SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine:

 

When you bring your own virtual machine

When you create a virtual machine by using the platform image

Supported SQL Server versions in Azure Virtual Machine

SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 SP1, and SQL Server 2014 all editions

SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 Enterprise, Standard, and Web

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Enterprise, Standard, Web, and Data Warehousing

SQL Server 2014 Enterprise, Standard, Web, and Data Warehousing

Important note: Additional SQL Server versions and editions are being planned. Log in to the Azure Management Portal to see all the supported SQL Server versions and editions.

SQL Server License

You migrate your own license via License Mobility through Software Assurance on Azure to Azure for running SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine. In addition, you will be charged for Azure compute and storage costs. For information on how to purchase the licensed copy of SQL Server, see How to Buy SQL Server.

You pay the per minute rate of SQL Server platform image including the Windows Server licensing costs. In addition, you will be charged for Azure compute and storage costs.

When you create a virtual machine by using a platform image, you can choose different virtual machine sizes. For SQL Server production workloads, we recommend that you use a virtual machine size of Medium or larger. For most up-to-date information on the supported virtual machine sizes, SQL Server editions, rates, and licensing on Azure Virtual Machines, see Virtual Machine Sizes for Azure and Virtual Machines Pricing Details.

If you plan to use a SQL Server platform image to create a virtual machine in Azure, make sure to address all dependencies on features not supported by the platform provided SQL Server image. There might be some differences between the SQL Server installation in the platform image and on-premises SQL Server. For detailed information on the supported configurations settings and components in the installation of the SQL Server platform image, see Configuration of the platform provided SQL Server virtual machine images.

Migration paths

SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines provides you an easy migration path when you want to move your applications and databases to the cloud and within the cloud as-is.

The following table provides a list of possible migration paths that you might consider when migrating from on-premises to cloud or cloud to cloud:

 

Source Server Destination Server Migration Description

SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 SP1, 2014 (on-premises)

SQL Server platform image in Azure

In this migration path, you can either use the Deployment Wizard in SQL Server Management Studio, or use the manual process outlined below:

Note: When you upgrade to SQL Server 2014 from older versions of SQL Server, you might need to consider the changes that are needed. We recommend that you address all dependencies on features not supported by the new version of SQL Server as part of your migration project. For more information on the supported editions and scenarios, see Upgrade to SQL Server.

SQL Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 SP1, 2014 (on-premises)

Windows Server platform image in Azure

In this migration path, you can follow these steps:

Virtual machine in Azure

Virtual machine in Azure

In this migration path, you can migrate your existing databases and schema from a source virtual machine to a destination virtual machine in Azure. This situation might happen in one of the following conditions:

  • You create a virtual machine by using the platform image SQL Server Evaluation Edition and the evaluation period is expired.

  • You want to move your databases to another virtual machine for any other business reasons.

For more information, see How to migrate SQL Server database files and schema between virtual machines in Azure using data disks.

Manage SQL Server virtual machines in Azure

You can manage your virtual machines in Azure by using the Management Portal, or the REST API or the PowerShell cmdlets. For more information on how to use REST and PowerShell with Azure, see Azure Service Management API Reference and Azure Management Cmdlets in the MSDN library.

If you want to create a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure by using Azure PowerShell cmdlets, see How to use PowerShell to set up a SQL Server virtual machine in Azure. You can download the latest version of Azure PowerShell at GitHub.

By default, Azure keeps all the operating system and SQL Server software in the operating system drive (C:). We recommend not to store any data in the temporary storage drive (D:) as it is not persistent. To learn more about the best configuration practices for SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines, see Important recommendations for SQL Server configuration.

Next steps

See Also

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