Modernize your data estate on SQL from cloud to edge
Published Oct 13 2022 01:00 PM 3,010 Views

Experience SQL innovation with consistency and rich Azure integration


At this year’s Microsoft Ignite 2022 event, we talked about doing more with less and unlocking the value of your data. Leveraging the cloud to reduce costs, drive productivity and accelerate insights and decision-making can make a measurable impact on an organization’s competitiveness, particularly in uncertain times. This is true for your SQL Server data. At Ignite, we made several announcements that will help you modernize your SQL Server data by tapping into the power of Azure. These announcements (and a few sneak peeks) represent the ongoing investment we’re making in our family of SQL databases to deliver what you need for your business.

Whether you’re currently on-premises, in the cloud, or somewhere in-between with a hybrid strategy, what really sets Microsoft SQL Server and the Azure SQL family of databases apart is the underlying SQL engine, language, and tools consistency that extends from cloud to edge, and the level of integration it has with other Azure services. Take SQL Server 2022, for example, currently in preview. It is truly a hybrid data platform that now connects to Azure in ways never seen before. In fact, it’s the most cloud-connected SQL Server yet. It uses Azure SQL Managed Instance for managed disaster recovery and Azure Synapse Link for SQL for near-real-time analytics. It also integrates with Microsoft Purview for insights, lineage, and centralized policy management, a true hub for security.

Part of the enabling technology behind SQL Server 2022’s cloud connection comes from Azure Arc. Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server, which is our new branding for an existing member of the Arc-enabled family, connects your existing SQL Server to the cloud, allowing you to leverage some great Azure benefits, like Single Sign-on with Azure Active Directory with multi-factor authentication and Microsoft Defender for Cloud, as well as the Microsoft governance solution, Purview Access Policies.

Coming soon, you can take advantage of Pay-As-You-Go licensing for Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server. This means that you can connect your SQL Server to Azure and have flexible licensing options from traditional SQL Server licensing to Pay-As-You-Go pricing. Pay for what you use, whether your SQL Server is on-premises, hybrid, or multi-cloud.

Data permeates all aspects of a business, so faster actionable insights from that data can make all the difference. Azure Synapse Link for SQL enables near real-time analytics over your data in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server 2022, without having to create or maintain ETL pipelines. We’ve had some exciting new capabilities launch during its public preview, including a new Schedule Mode to control data ingestion timing, support for smaller-scale workloads, and full precision support for datetime data types in SQL Server. We’re looking forward to the general availability of Azure Synapse Link for SQL coming soon.


Migrate and modernize your SQL to Azure


Azure SQL Managed Instance combines the broadest SQL Server compatibility with all the benefits of a fully managed cloud database service. Not only does it provide industry-leading price performance using our latest premium-series hardware, but the latest generally available innovations help you further modernize your data for the cloud. Windows authentication for Azure Active Directory, for example, enables you to migrate legacy applications that cannot use Azure Active Directory authentication, with minimal to no changes in the application stack. Or, new data virtualization capabilities let you access external data while keeping it in its original format and location, eliminating the need for ETL processes and getting you faster insights from your data.

If you’re interested in migrating your Oracle data to Azure SQL, we have some exciting news for you. Migration planning just got easier for Oracle customers wanting to modernize on Azure SQL, including Azure SQL Database Hyperscale, with two public preview announcements: the Database Migration Assessment for Oracle and the Database Schema Conversion Toolkit for Oracle, both of which are extensions in Azure Data Studio. With these announcements, customers can receive migration recommendations and an evaluation of code complexity as well as target sizing recommendations – all from the same tool. Schema migration between the different database platforms is also automated, and it runs on Linux environments, too!

Today we also announced a comprehensive migration and modernization assessment for SQL Server on Azure Migrate, our free self-service migration tool. This new capability helps you easily discover and assess your entire SQL estate at scale, now including Hyper-V and bare-metal, helping identify ideal migration and modernization targets for Azure SQL, with cost optimization guidance built-in.


A modern data platform for your next app on Azure


We also provided an early view of innovations in Azure SQL Database  to help developers build apps faster and with less “plumbing code.” Coming soon to SQL Database are new ways to integrate data with other services by invoking REST endpoints, boost price-performance with memory-optimized premium-series hardware and access data using modern REST and GraphQL endpoints.  We’re very excited about the investments we’re making, like the offline SQL Database emulator and CI/CD integration, to help developers do even more with their SQL data. We invite you to watch our new Microsoft Mechanics video that double-clicks into some of the upcoming features that make Azure SQL Database great for modern, cloud-based apps.


Enable comprehensive data governance at scale


Finally, getting holistic and actionable insights from data, particularly in light of constantly evolving regulations, has become a real challenge.  Microsoft Purview provides a unified hybrid data governance platform that creates a map of your data estate comprising Azure data sources, multi-cloud, and SaaS data systems.  It’s truly the one-stop shop for technical, governance, and business stakeholders to map and curate their metadata and govern their hybrid data estate.

This year’s Ignite saw a lot of new features rolling out to Microsoft Purview, with public previews for ML-based classifications, manual data lineage, metamodels, and self-service data access on Azure SQL.  We also announced the general availability of dynamic lineage for Azure SQL Database.  You can learn about all these announcements and more here.


Your next steps


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