Unlocking Insights: A Deep Dive into Azure’s Relational Databases Services


With multiple tables hanging around in the database, the relationship between certain tables deduced by a common data point could just make analyzing data a lot easier.

The introduction of cloud computing solves scalability, distributed storage, computing, and cost optimization, which a traditional on-premise IT infrastructure wouldn’t provide. Azure relational database services in the era of cloud computing will provide all the benefits of RDBMS dedicated to supporting cloud capabilities.

That’s how Azure Relational Database Services are significantly different from traditional ones. This article explores all the Azure relational database services that can aid in migrating the existing system or developing new applications in the cloud effortlessly.

The List of Azure Relational Database Services

Azure Data Services helps you with RDBMS such as SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, MariaDB, and non-relational databases as well. Our focus is on the list of services for relational databases in this article.

Azure SQL Services

The services for the database of Microsoft SQL Server are collectively put under Azure SQL. Every time you get confused about SQL Server and Azure SQL, it is just the same.

Under this come services such as Azure SQL Database, SQL Server on VMs, and Azure SQL Managed Instance. Let’s learn about it here

Azure SQL Database 

It’s a platform as a service offering where a managed database server is created in the cloud, after which you deploy a database on the created server.

You have two types of databases in this, such as an elastic pool and a single database. 

An elastic pool is one such option where there is a pool that is nothing but resources that are used by multiple databases. Comes to a rescue when the resources utilized by databases vary with time. Use the resources when needed during the processing time and release them when not in use to the pool. This reduces the cost dramatically otherwise.

A single database on the other side is where you create a server, run the single database, and access it through the same server. It is managed by Microsoft, but you need to populate the tables with data when you create it and configure the database. Where resources are pre-allocated and charges are based on the utilization per hour. You can also get a serverless configuration where it creates the server for you amongst other Azure subscribers with privacy for your database, and as required, resources will be allocated or deallocated.

This is helpful when you have a new cloud project that requires the latest features of the SQL server. Which needs database availability almost most of the time. Most specifically, when a system needs a variable load for allocating resources for the databases.

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance

Like the control on the on-premise server, you get full control over the managed instance, where you can control the resources you allocate and the database’s security. In contrast, the rest, like general tasks, will be taken care of by themselves.  This works depending on the Azure services and hence is connected to these services. Also, you can create as many databases as you want in the managed instance.

So you can use this when you want to migrate the existing instances on-premise to the cloud without having to run the server on the virtual machine. The feature here is different from that in SQL databases; if your existing instance was using a service broker, linked services, or a database mail, then Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is the right one to use. As the service itself performs most of the administrative tasks,  the administrator does not need to do much of them.

Read more: Unlocking azure Data and AI Mastery with Deep Dive into Azure Certifications 2024

SQL Server on Azure VM

Ignore managing on-premise hardware as you get full access to the SQL Server on the cloud with the SQL Server on Virtual Machine, which is an infrastructure as a service model. The virtual machine can replicate the database on the on-premise hardware effectively. Migrating from on-premises to a virtual machine is the same as migrating databases.

At the PaaS level, usually, the operating system features are not accessible, and hence one can use the virtual machine IaaS level to access the same for the applications to run smoothly.

For existing applications that need to be on the cloud with few changes and faster, this service is ideal. Also, if you want the hybrid environment to be implemented on the existing application, this option of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machine is still the go-to one.

Over the operating system and DBMS, you’ll get full administrative access to them, and if you have all the resources to maintain the VM, it is viable to rely on this option. So using all the existing tools and server products, you can maintain the virtual machine.

As this is a managed service, you might have to make some changes to the existing application and database, but if you have SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machine, where that issue is taken care of, you don’t need to make any necessary changes in the beginning.

Azure Database for MySQL

This is a PaaS solution of MySQL for the Azure cloud, which has the availability of a database without any additional cost, and you get scalability when you require it. With features like point-in-time restore and automatic backups, it is convenient, and you pay only for what you use and nothing else.

With the server itself, you get the connection for security where the rule of firewall is abided by. You can also configure the server settings for a lot of features, like extending the number of connections, timeouts, and lock modes.

Having to not maintain any underlying components, hardware, virtual servers, software patches, or network components, Azure offers a global database that could be scaled to a larger database. Azure Database for MySQL doesn’t have a few operations in it where Azure takes care of such functions itself.

Azure Database for MariaDB

This is nothing but the implementation of the MariaDB DBMS that supports running in the cloud. It is fully controlled and managed by Azure. You need no additional information after the provisioning of the service and data are transferred. This also comes with high built-in availability, with no extra cost involved.

It has pay-as-you-go pricing where you can predict the performance, and scaling is done in seconds. It protects the data when in rest and transit, also having features like automatic backups and point-in-time restoring, where security and compliance are offered for enterprise-grade as well.

Azure Database for PostgreSQL

This is again a PaaS implementation of Azure Cloud, it has all the benefits of a MySQL service when it comes to security, availability, scaling, performance, and administrative benefits. Features like direct interaction with the operating system and extensions that aren’t available in the Azure version.

But it doesn’t apply to all the extensions, as it supports the list of the most frequently used extensions. It also has a flexible server option that is fully managed, where you can make customizations in configuration at the server level. You get a high level of control, and it offers control over cost optimization.

The Wrap

There are plenty of Azure data services to seek help from in seamlessly navigating them, from migration to integration to analyzing them for data insights. All the services are mostly PaaS, where the majority of the data administrative tasks are managed and automated.

While there are already plenty of services developed, as we move further, they are only going to improve with additional features and functionalities that can fully support the needs of the IT industry and its clients.


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