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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks

Azure SQL Database vs SQL Server on Azure VM

Compiled from numerous resources:

Topic Azure
SQL Database (PaaS)
SQL Server on Azure VM (IaaS)
Features Less features than box, optimized to reduce costs Full box product features, optimized for the best compatibility with existing applications and for hybrid applications
Performances Max 1750 DTU in Premium Tier Depends on VM SKU/Storage
DB Size Max 1TB in Premium Tier (P11) 64TB on G-SERIES
Workload Sizing by average usage Sizing based on peaks
High-Availability Built-in by platform. 99.99% high-availability SLA Manual configuration by AlwaysOn AG. 99.95% HA SLA that covers just the Virtual Machines in an availability set
Fault-Handling Necessary fault-handling &
Recommended fault-handling &
Locality No co-location with application Co-located by VMs and VNETs
Segregation Internet exposed endpoint Internal private endpoint
Versioning No control on upgrades Full control over DB upgrade
TCO Very low, almost self-managed.
Total cost of application = Highly minimized administration costs + software development costs + SQL Database service costs
High (as on-premises).
Total cost of application = Highly minimized software development cost + administration costs + SQL Server and Windows Server licensing costs + Azure Storage costs
Administration No full-time DBA required Full staffed DBA required
Management Easy to manage many DBs Complex to manage many DBs/VMs
Scale-Out Tools & Frameworks available No easy scale-out
Configuration No setup customization Full access to OS and SQL Server instance level properties
Authentication SQL standard authentication, Azure Active Directory authentication SQL standard and integrated
Security No Fixed IP, fixed 1433 port Fixed IP possible, port can be changed
Backup Backup files not accessible, 35 days Point-in-Time-Restore Full control of backup files, unlimited PITR
Hybrid No AlwaysOn AG support Can join on-premises AlwaysOn AG topology
Cross-DB Access NO: Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC), Linked Servers, USE statement , 4-parts names YES: DTC, Linked Srv, USE, 4-parts names
Migrate Existing Apps Moderate Fast
Build New Apps Fast Moderate
Licensing Not required Regardless of VM size or SQL Server edition, pay per-minute licensing cost of SQL Server + Windows Server + Azure Storage cost for the VM disks unless Bring-Your-Own-License option is choosen

Also see:
Comparison of App Service, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, and Service Fabric

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