Shedding some light on Azure SQL

When I prepare the "What's new on the cloud..." series, I'm pretty sure that for Azure the most updates will go to the Azure SQL service. The main idea of the service is simple but if you analyze it more deeply, you'll find some concepts that might not be the easiest to understand at first.

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First and foremost, why Azure SQL can be confusing? After all, it's supposed to provide a managed version of the RDBMS, isn't it? Yes, but it has multiple flavors that can be a bit troubling if you've just started to discover the service:

Unfortunately, that's not all! The service has some other interesting and frequently updated parts.

Managed instance

The Managed Instance is a fully managed SQL Server. It's probably enough to identify it as a solution in Azure SQL but not enough to understand it fully. There are some other concepts to know:

Serverless Azure SQL

Serverless is a special tier available in Azure SQL Database where you control the throughput with min/max vCore number and an auto-paused delay. As for the Managed Instance, let's see these and several other points more in detail:

Flexible sever

Flexible Server is a special deployment mode for MySQL and PostgreSQL databases. Even though Azure SQL has a Single Server deployment mode for MySQL and PostgreSQL, the Flexible Server mode is recommended for all new projects. Why?

Hyperscale

The last Azure SQL component to present is Hyperscale. It's also vCore-based but has some significant differences compared to the already presented modes:

I only presented here some high level concepts of the Azure SQL with the goal to organize a bit better my understanding of the service. I know, certainly the service itself is not the first database option you think while designing a data architecture. But as you can see, it offers some interesting methods for the transactional workloads that can also scale.


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