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What to Consider When Moving your SQL Server Databases to Azure

Microsoft Azure is fast becoming the datacentre of choice for SQL Server workloads, and it's easy to see why. With Azure SQL Database we get a huge range of databases offering many performance levels (DTUs) that will serve most workloads. Easy provisioning and usage has made Azure SQL Database one of the most popular services in Azure. I have made a little checklist of features that many of our customers have considered when taking their on-premises SQL Server workloads to Azure:

  • Does it scale up and down?

  • Is the feature list close to "box" product?

  • Does it have automatic backups?

  • Does it connect with traditional tools?

  • What is the cost management like?

  • Does it have a high level of security?

  • How about Query Store?

All of the features mentioned above are fine and make sure that we won't have to compromise when moving to Azure. However, one of the most common questions from our customers is "how do I know what we will need, and how much will I have to pay?" It’s a very good question, and to start to answer it we must understand that the price you pay will depend on how much you need to provision, and how much you need to provision depends on a whole host of factors. I like to refer to this quote when thinking about this:

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” - Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia

You will need to look at things like usage patterns, poorly performing/ written queries that can be fixed, indexing (over and under), memory, disk speed and CPU to name but a few. If you are after more of a qualified answer then you could do worse than look at this DTU Calculator that will help you get a finger in the air about what size of database/ pool you need in Azure based on your current use of SQL Server in-premises. By measuring a few counters over a period of time that includes a good workload this tool will tell you what it thinks you need to go out and provision. In the past we have asked customers to use this calculator as a kind of ‘worst case’ estimate before they get us in to do a proper evaluation of their SQL Server estate. If you wish to do the same, don’t hesitate to get in touch and arrange a chat with us.


Allan Mitchell is the CIO of Elastabytes & has been a Microsoft Data Platform MVP since 2002. He’s a Yorkshireman who loves all things SQL.

You can follow him on Twitter @allanSQLIS


Elastabytes are a cloud managed services company specialising in SQL Server. We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner and our team is made of Microsoft MVPs. Whether you’re already in Azure and need a DBA-as-a-Service, or you’re about to go to Azure and need a hand getting there, Elastabytes can help.

Contact us at to set up a chat with one of our architects.

You can follow us on Twitter @elastabytes.

#SQLServer #SQL #Azure #AzureDatabase #Microsoft #DTUs #SQLDatabase #Cloud #infrastructure #migration #provisioning #workloads #scalability

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