Azure SQL News Update: April 2021
Published Apr 07 2021 09:00 AM 2,975 Views

Today and every Wednesday Data Exposed goes live at 9AM PT on LearnTV. Every 4 weeks, we’ll do a News Update. We’ll include product updates, videos, blogs, etc. as well as upcoming events and things to look out for. We’ve included an iCal file, so you can add a reminder to tune in live to your calendar. If you missed the episode, you can find them all at


You can read this blog to get all the updates and references mentioned in the show. Here’s the April  2021 update:


Product updates

In the last news update, I covered what happened at Ignite. I won’t duplicate here, but check it out here, there are some things you won’t want to miss!


In mid-March, there were several exciting announcements and releases. First, dynamic data masking (DDM) became generally available with the specific capability that allows you to grant and deny UNMASK permissions at the schema-level, table-level, and column-level, providing a more granular way to manage control and limit access.


Machine Learning Services on Azure SQL Managed Instance also recently became generally available with the capability to operate your own R or Python runtime with increased performance and do things like in-database machine learning. Michelle Wallig came on the show to talk more about these investments and the future of ML with Azure SQL and SQL Server.


There are other Azure SQL Managed Instance capabilities that landed recently in public preview. The first is support for cross-instance message exchange with Service Broker, allowing you to host a data tier of applications that distribute work across multiple instances (think: different regions, subscriptions, tenants!). Azure SQL Managed Instance also released Long-term backup retention (LTR) in public preview. This capability has been much anticipated since it is already available in Azure SQL Database. It allows you to retain database backups for up to 10 years.


The next announcement is a big one – Azure Monitor SQL insights for Azure SQL was announced in public preview! As someone who’s gotten to see this get built, it’s so exciting and I think you’ll find it exciting too – monitor all your SQL resources from one place, with easily accessible insights and drill downs so you can troubleshoot issues quickly. Bob Ward came on to demo it, you’ll want to check it out for yourself though. Additionally, Alain Dormehl, the PM behind it, will be coming on Data Exposed Live in May, so be sure to subscribe!

Finally, the public preview of a zone redundant configuration for Azure SQL Database serverless was announced last week. This update means all General purpose and Business critical Azure SQL Database customers can now opt for a zone redundant configuration. Learn more about the latest zone redundancy announcement here.


While it may not seem directly related to Azure SQL at first glance, I wanted to also call out that Azure Resource Mover recently became generally available. This service greatly simplifies how you move multiple resources between Azure regions. Learn more here.


Azure Data Factory product updates

We had a special guest, product leader of Azure Data Factory, Wee Hyong Tok, on the show to talk about the latest updates in Azure Data Factory. These updates include new regions, new Azure Data Factory and Azure Purview integrations, new connectivity and data flow improvements, and more! To get more information, refer to the Azure Data Factory April product updates blog.



We continued to release new and exciting Azure SQL episodes this month. Here is the list, or you can just see the playlist we created with all the episodes!

  • Mohamed Kabiruddin: Get Started with the New Database Migration Guides to Migrate your Databases to Azure
  • David Trigano: Granular Permissions for Azure SQL Dynamic Data Masking
  • [MVP Edition] Gaston Cruz: Easy Ways to Refresh Tabular Models
  • Amit Khandelwal: How to Enable AD Authentication for SQL 2019 Containers in Less than 5 Minutes
  • David Trigano: What's New in Azure SQL Auditing
  • Aaron Nelson: How to Run SQL Assessment Checks in Azure SQL MI
  • Silvano Coriani: How to Create Operational Analytics with Window Functions in Azure SQL, Part 3

We’ve also had some great Data Exposed Live sessions. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see them all and get notified when we stream. Here are some of the recent live streams.

  • Ask the Experts: SQL Edge to Cloud
  • Something Old, Something New: You have to draw the line somewhere
  • Deep Dive: The Architecture of Azure SQL
  • Deep Dive: Azure SQL Virtual Machine Sizing
  • Discover & Assess SQL Server Data Estate Migrating to Azure SQL Using Azure Migrate



As always, our team is busy writing blogs to share with you all. Blogs contain announcements, tips and tricks, deep dives, and more. Here’s the list I have of SQL-related topics you might want to check out.


Upcoming events

As always, there are lots of events coming up this month. Here are a few to put on your calendar and register for:

4/7: South Florida SQL Server User Group
SQL Edge to Cloud, Bob Ward

4/8: Azure Migration Virtual Event
 .NET App Modernization and Migration from End to end, using data migration tools and Azure SQL, Raj Pochiraju

4/12: Azure SQL Fundamentals (Ep.5)
 Deliver Consistent Performance with Azure SQL, Anna Hoffman and Bob Ward

4/19: Azure SQL Fundamentals (Ep. 6)
Putting it All Together with Azure SQL, Anna Hoffman and Bob Ward

4/28: Database Administration Virtual Group
SQL Edge to Cloud, Bob Ward

Coming May 4, learn how to build scalable and intelligent apps on Azure SQL faster with this free digital event. Register today!

In addition to these upcoming events, here’s the schedule for Data Exposed Live:
4/7: Azure SQL April 2021 News Updates 
4/21: Azure SQL Security Series
4/28: Something Old, Something New: Do Kangaroos Prefer Cake Or Frosting, Generally Speaking?

Plus find new, on-demand Data Exposed episodes released every Thursday, 9AM PT at

Featured Microsoft Learn Module

Learn with us! This month I highlighted the Optimize performance with Azure SQL Check it out!


Anna’s pick of the month: Learn Live! Azure SQL Fundamentals

On March 15th, Bob Ward and I started delivering one module per week from the Azure SQL Fundamentals learning path ( ). This week we did the performance module which is also the module of the month! Head over to to watch the on-demand episodes, but join us every Monday LIVE on at 2PM for a few more weeks!


Until next time…

That’s it for now! Be sure to check back next month for the latest updates, and tune into Data Exposed Live every Wednesday at 9AM PST on LearnTV. We also release new episodes on Thursdays at 9AM PST and new #MVPTuesday episodes on the last Tuesday of every month at 9AM PST at


Having trouble keeping up? Be sure to follow us on twitter to get the latest updates on everything, @AzureSQL. You can also download the iCal link with a recurring invite!


We hope to see you next time, on Data Exposed :)

--Anna and Marisa

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