Use Managed Instances for a Quick and Easy Migration to Azure Cloud

There are three options available to you when initializing a SQL Server instance in the Azure Cloud. The most recently announced option is the SQL Database Managed Instance, which was made publicly available at the start of Q3-2019 on the Azure Cloud.

What is a Managed Instance, and should you choose it over Single or Elastic Pool options in the Azure Cloud?

Managed Instances in the Azure Cloud

A SQL Managed Instance is a new service offering from Microsoft that provides almost full compatibility with the latest on-premise version of the SQL Server Database Engine.

Managed Instances are great for businesses looking to migrate their database to a fully-managed Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment in the Azure cloud. The Azure Data Migration Service (DMS) allows you to quickly initialize a highly-compatible cloud SQL database with native VNet support. Microsoft also has its Software Assurance program, where you can get a discounted rate on licensing fees by using the Azure Hybrid Cloud Benefit.

The Benefits of Managed Instances

Since a Managed Instance is offered through the Azure Cloud, you get many Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) benefits compared to on-premise SQL instances, including:

  • No hardware purchasing costs
  • No hardware maintenance costs
  • Rapid creation of new instances, with automated resource scaling
  • Automatic operating system patches
  • Easy integration with other PaaS solutions

For business-critical and general workloads, Microsoft offers a 99.99% uptime service level agreement. In addition to this, they also have automated backup scheduling with configurable retention periods. These backups also allow you to go back to a specific date and time using Microsoft’s Point-in-time restore.

One of the most prominent features of Managed Instances is the new SQL Azure VNet compatibility. Instead of running on a public endpoint like Single and Elastic Pools, you get a private IP address on the Azure VNET, which you can connect to via your corporate VPN. This allows you to create tunneled connections from your office to your cloud network, offering transparent data encryption (TDE) and more security compared to Single or Elastic Pools.

Migrating to a SQL Server Managed Instance in Azure

Much like Single SQL instances, Managed Instances allow for quick and easy migration to the cloud.

The simplest way to migrate your database is through backing up your on-premise environment, and uploading it to a SQL Server Managed Instance via Azure Blob storage. From here, you can restore the backup on the cloud SQL Server instance and have a fully functioning replica of your on-premise deployment.

How is a Managed Instance structured in the Azure Cloud?

A Managed Instance of SQL Server in the cloud treats compute and storage components separately:

  • With storage, each database will be stored on its own Azure Premium disk. This guarantees that a backup is always available if a hardware failure occurs.
  • With compute nodes, you have several active nodes, along with redundant nodes, to offer a fallback if an active node fails.

This offers a good balance between cost, reliability, and performance when using a SQL Server Managed Instance.

There are also options for faster storage with Managed Instances. If your SQL Database workloads require less than 1ms of storage latency, you may opt for an Ultra Disk. These disks can range from 4GB to 64TB in size and have a maximum throughput of 2000MB/s.

SQL Server Managed Instances with Trianz

Trianz is a leading Microsoft Azure Managed Service Partner. We take pride in our human-first approach to IT consulting, offering 24/7 support on the Microsoft Azure Cloud via Concierto Cloud, an award-winning IP-based cloud management platform. Migrating to the cloud requires comprehensive planning and foresight, so consult with Trianz today and start your Azure migration journey.

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