How businesses respond in times of uncertainty is as varied as the businesses themselves. Many slow down operations to operate more cost-effectively, while others lean into new opportunities that didn’t exist before. Regardless of how you respond, ensuring your organization can cost-effectively adapt and scale to rapidly changing conditions is key.

When it comes to migrating your data, you have a variety of options to consider, and it’s important to have the flexibility to choose a path that helps you respond to uncertainty in a way that makes the most sense for your business. Azure SQL is here to help.

Introducing Azure SQL

Azure SQL is a family of fully managed, secure, and intelligent SQL database services that support a wide range of application patterns, from re-hosting and modernizing existing SQL Server workloads to modern cloud application development.

The Azure SQL family.

Because the entire Azure SQL family is built upon the same SQL Server database engine, you can migrate applications with ease and continue to use the tools, languages, and resources you’re familiar with. You’ll discover that your skills and experience transfer easily to the cloud, as the innovative features in Azure SQL help you operate more efficiently and save money along the way.

Azure SQL helps you do more

Azure SQL has options for any budget. You can choose managed services that are automatically patched, updated, and backed-up for you, so you can refocus resources onto higher priorities. A recent Forrester study found operational and financial benefits of modernizing applications on Azure SQL, citing a three-year 238 percent return on investment and up to a 40 percent increase in database administrator (DBA) productivity, among other benefits.1

Cloud migration effort and administration continuum.

Azure SQL also helps you stay agile in an ever-changing world by reducing your costs and simplifying performance management. Serverless compute, for example, continuously right-sizes resources to meet workload demand. Hyperscale storage is built on a flexible, cloud native architecture that allows it to grow as needed, rapidly scaling up to 100 TB. Built-in AI powers intelligent features like automatic tuning and Advanced Threat Protection, which maintain peak performance and data protection on your behalf.

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines offers similar efficiency and cost-effectiveness with Azure BlobCache, which is automatically provisioned for Azure Marketplace images and gives fast, free reads for customers. Given that typical SQL Server workloads are read-heavy, this provides tremendous savings.

Azure SQL comes with industry leading offers

In addition to the operational and financial benefits that come with managed services, Azure SQL can help reduce your upfront costs with industry-leading pricing and special offers, such as:

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit—If you have SQL Server and Windows licenses with active Software Assurance, you can reuse those licenses in the cloud and save up to 82 percent2 off pay-as-you-go rates on SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, Azure SQL Managed Instance, and Azure SQL Database.
  • Reservation pricing—Get more cloud for less cost when you commit upfront to a one- or three-year term. With reservation pricing, you can save up to 80 percent3 versus pay-as-you-go pricing, and you can exchange or cancel unused reservations at any time.
  • Azure Dev/Test Pricing—Use your Visual Studio subscriptions to get discounted pricing and Azure credits for non-production scenarios, with savings up to 55 percent off pay-as-you-go pricing on Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance and Ubuntu Linux rates on SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines.

Get started

Need help with next steps? We can guide you to the right Azure SQL service that best meets the needs of your database workload, and you can get started today.


1 “The Total Economic ImpactTM of Migration to Azure SQL Managed Databases,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting in March 2020 on behalf of Microsoft.

2 Calculations based on scenarios running 744 hours/month for 12 months at 3-year Reserved Instances or Reserved Capacity. Prices as of 10/24/2018, subject to change. Azure Windows VM calculations based on one D2V3 Azure VM in US West 2 region at the SUSE Linux Enterprise Basic rate. AWS calculations based on one m5.Large VM in US West (Oregon) using Windows Server pay-as-you-go rate for Reserved Instances under Standard 3-year term, all upfront payment. SQL Server calculations based on 8 vCore Azure SQL Database Managed Instance Business Critical in US West 2 running at Azure Hybrid Benefit rate. AWS calculations based on RDS for SQL EE for db.r4.2xlarge on US West (Oregon) in a multi AZ deployment for Reserved Instances under Standard 3-year term, all upfront payment. Extended security updates cost used for AWS is based on Windows Server Standard open NL ERP pricing in USD. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size, and performance tier. Savings exclude Software Assurance costs, which may vary based on Volume Licensing agreement. Contact your sales representative for details.

3 The 80% saving for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is based on the combined cost of Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and 3-year Azure Reserved Instance. The estimate does not include Software Assurance costs. Sample annual cost comparison of two D2V3 Windows Server VMs. Savings based on two D2V3 VMs in US West 2 Region running 744 hours/month for 12 months; Base compute rate at SUSE Linux Enterprise rate for US West 2. Azure pricing as of 04/24/2018. Prices subject to change. Actual savings may vary based on location, instance type, or usage. The 80% savings for Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance is based on eight vCore SQL Database Business Critical in West 2 US Region, running 730 hours per month. Savings are calculated from on demand full price (license included) against base rate with Azure Hybrid Benefit plus 3-year reserved capacity commitment. Savings excludes Software Assurance cost for SQL Server Enterprise edition, which may vary based on EA agreement. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size and performance tier. Prices as of November 2018, subject to change.