A guide to modernization vs. migration: Which is right for you? Part 1
Published Feb 07 2022 11:12 AM 3,690 Views

This blog post was co-authored by Eric Hudson, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Data & AI.  

This is the first blog of a series focused on SQL Managed Instance, where we will dive deeply into technical topics that will help you successfully modernize your SQL Server workloads onto Azure.


What is Azure SQL Managed Instance?


Azure SQL Managed Instance is the intelligent, scalable cloud database service that combines the broadest SQL Server database engine compatibility with all the benefits of a fully managed service that is always up to date.


SQL Managed Instance is a service that is managed by Microsoft, so you will no longer need to worry about version upgrades or end-of-support events.  Backups are automated and high availability is built-in to the service. SQL Managed Instance has some of the newest Azure-only features to leverage the latest SQL Server innovation available as "cloud first"—which makes it easy for you to build apps in the cloud, rather than build on-premises and then migrate to the cloud. Being "cloud first" will help you create apps faster and reduce the overhead associated with on-premises resources and cloud migration.


How do I choose between PaaS and IaaS service?


Choose the path that is right for your workloads. Many organizations begin with an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) migration of their workloads to take advantage of cloud benefits right away, while others begin with platform as a service (PaaS) to increase agility and developer productivity. No matter the approach you begin with, you’ll be able to start innovating as soon as you are on Azure SQL. If you choose IaaS migration, you can always move to .


“We came from an IaaS mindset. Last year, we migrated to Azure PaaS. Now everything is automated—we integrate servers with a few clicks of a button.” Rohit Mistry: Infrastructure Analyst, Manulife


If you have an on-premises SQL Server and want to migrate to Azure, you have several options: You can move to SQL Server on a virtual machine (IaaS), or migrate to SQL Managed I (PaaS).


  • When to choose : You’ll want to choose PaaS for the broadest with the benefits of a , integrated service. This means the service, not you, will perform complex tasks such as managing high availabilitydisaster recovery, and automated backups. Automated and AI powered features enhance performance and security for you.

    PaaS also provides up to 99.99% SLA (for SQL Managed Instance). If you choose PaaS, you can be assured that you are always up to date, never out of support. Automated and AI powered features enhance performance and security for you.


  • When to choose IaaS: You’ll want to choose IaaS if you plan to perform a lift-and-shift to the cloud with no immediate modernization plans. IaaS moves your legacy workloads with little or no architecting and refactoring. There are minimal new skill sets needed, and you can leverage the experience you already have. IaaS also provides OS-level control to customize manageability and security.


“We determined [Azure SQL Managed Instance] was the best choice for us in terms of scalability, cost, and performance.… We’ve seen a 49 percent cost reduction and 25 to 30 percent performance gains.” Nipun Sharma, Analytics Architect, Business Technology and Systems, Komatsu Australia


 Modernize your apps with SQL Managed Instance


Today’s data estates are increasingly complex, with data hosted on-premises, in the cloud, or at the edge (bringing apps closer to data sources). Organizations that are building applications can find themselves constrained by limitations that can ultimately impact their customers’ experience. Limitations arising from incompatible platforms, inadequate data security, insufficient resources, and price-performance barriers create complexity that can inhibit app modernization and development.


SQL Managed Instance provides a secure, highly compatible and flexible environment to meet your most demanding requirements.


Modernize mission-critical apps with SQL Managed Instance to minimize these constraints and limitations. Azure SQL provides industry-leading, multi-layered protection with built-in security controls including T-SQL, authentication, networking, and key management.


Modernize SQL Server environments to assign a certain number of resources via performance tiers, and focus on a simplified instance-scoped programming model


Modernize connectivity to SQL Server data for unprecedented hybrid flexibility and database mobility with the link feature for Managed Instance. With this feature, you can connect your SQL Servers hosted anywhere to a fully managed service. With an approach that uses near real-time data synchronization to the cloud, you can offload workloads to read-only secondaries on Azure to take advantage of a fully managed database platform, cloud-only features, performance, and scale.


For example, this approach allows you to synchronize data from multiple SQL Servers to a single managed instance in Azure (consolidation), or synchronize from a single SQL Server to multiple managed instances in any of Azure’s 60+ regions worldwide (de-consolidation). The latter empowers you to quickly bring your SQL Server workloads closer to your customers in any Azure region worldwide. Consolidation and de-consolidation scenarios work best with the link feature for SQL Managed Instance.


Stay tuned for a deep dive into the link feature for SQL Managed Instance in a future blog in the Azure SQL Managed Instance: Technical blog series.


               Workload consolidation in Azure                                                           Workload de-consolidation in Azure



Visit the SQL Managed Instance migration guide for help with migrating your SQL Server instance to Azure SQL Managed Instance. This guide will discuss the Microsoft suite of migration tools. We recommend that you use Azure Migrate to make an assessment for which destination to move to. Then, run Data Migration Assistant (DMA) to get recommendations on your best destination.


Microsoft offers new migration tools to help accelerate your transformation of moving more workloads to Azure. You can use Log Replay Service (LRS) to manually configure database migration from SQL Server 2008-2019 to SQL Managed Instance. This tool provides a log shipping experience for migrating to Azure SQL Managed Instance.


You can also migrate using Azure Data Studio to use the SQL Server assessment and migration capability in Azure Data Studio. This is the preferred path. With the transactional replication feature, you have the option to choose which tables you want to migrate to SQL Managed Instance—it's no longer an "all or nothing" choice. This will save time spent migrating, and will minimize the amount of space needed during the process.                                                                                                                                            

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Stay tuned for more blogs in the Azure SQL Managed Instance: Technical blog series. Upcoming topics include:


  • Application compatibility: Discover the most friction-free path to the cloud through assessments and planning.
  • Performance and scale: Optimize performance for your demanding workloads
  • Business continuity: Use mechanisms, policies, and procedures that enable your business to continue operating in the face of disruption.
  • Securing your data on SQL Managed Instance: Build and maintain a strong security posture.
  • Migration tools: Learn about the free migration tools and programs to help you on your journey to the cloud.


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‎Apr 04 2022 03:42 PM
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