New SQL Server deployment options in Azure Portal

I am super excited about blogging about the new SQL Server deployment options in Microsoft Azure portal. A recent addition to the portal (3rd week of January 2016). When you configure a SQL Server virtual machine from marketplace in Azure, you are required to provide basic settings like name of server, password, resource group, location and of course few other details like network, subnet and so on. That always existed, but now we have new options in SQL Server settings blade for-

  • Storage configuration
  • Patching
  • Backup and
  • Key vault integration
Azure Portal New SQL Server deployment options

New SQL Server settings in Microsoft Azure

SQL Server Deployment – Storage configuration

As part of the storage configuration, you can now just select the IOPS that your application requires using the slider, and based on that Azure will not only suggest the number of disks to be attached, but in fact automatically attach it as well. And that takes into consideration the size of the VM that you might have chosen in the previous step, based on which the number of disks are recommended.

IOPS, Disks and Throughput selection- Azure Portal New SQL Server deployment options

IOPS, Disks and Throughput selection for SQL Server

Of course instead of IOPS you can select throughput or storage disks and other parameters change accordingly.

SQL Server Deployment – SQL Automated Patching

The second option is that of ‘automated patching’. Here you can enable or disable automated patching and select the maintenance schedule time and so on.

Automated SQL Server patching in Azure- Azure Portal New SQL Server deployment options

Automated SQL Server patching in Azure

SQL Server Deployment – SQL Automated Backup

The 3rd option is that of SQL Server backup. Here you can select the backup storage account and retention period. One important point worth noting here is that you can encrypt the backups.

New Sql Server backup blade with encryption- Azure Portal New SQL Server deployment options

New Sql Server backup blade with encryption

SQL Server Deployment – Azure Key Vault Integration.

Finally the 4th option is leveraging the key vault as the EKM (Extensible Key Management) provider for storing the symmetric key which can be used by SQL server for various aspects where encryption is required like TDE (transparent data encryption), row level encryption, backup data encryption etc.

Summary

These four new options- storage, patching, backup and key vault integration can now be totally configured with few clicks from within the Microsoft Azure portal. Something that would otherwise have taken quite a bit of planning and at least 4 to 6 hours of effort is now available out of box. This is really cool. This kind of feature release takes automation and entire cloud value proposition to entirely new level.

One important point is that this blade with these newer options is available for SQL Server 2014 onward.

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