Getting Started with SQL Server in Azure

“The move to the cloud is inevitable.”  Listening to Microsoft marketing and all the MVPs out there, it can certainly seem like we are getting further and further behind each day we aren’t use cloud services.  Sure, lift and shift of VM resources are straightforward at this point and they are happening with more frequency; however, this doesn’t mean everyone is leveraging cloud services.  How do you go about trying to prepare for the future when the company you work for isn’t quite ready to make the leap?  In this episode, we talk with Jim Donahoe about making the transition from our traditional SQL Server environments to using Azure SQL Database.  We discuss some of the basics and some of the challenges you will face as you make the migration.

It can be a bit overwhelming to think about all the other services available in Azure.  Lift and shift gets us to the ‘cloud’, but if we want to start doing the cool stuff, we will have to make our data available to start interfacing with these services.  We know that cloud providers are pushing more hybrid models as not every system is ready for the cloud.  New development initiatives make better candidates for the cloud services and this episode covers the first steps to help you on path to cloud services.

Episode Quotes

“Microsoft takes care of all of the back-end work of creating the DNS, getting you pointed, opening the ports, all of that good stuff is already baked right into that install.”

“It takes some of the administration side off of it, and some people get a little uncomfortable with that, but I like to think of it as they’re taking some work away from me so I can play with the more advanced features.”

“The way I always think of an elastic pool is that it’s mainly a cost-savings feature.”

“You actually can do a cross-database query, it’s just you’ve got to set it up a little bit different.”

“If my database is going to get hammered with an archive procedure, I can scale [it] out to a Premium tier and never have it go down to my users or to my application. Then once the operation’s done, I can scale it back and again, nobody ever knows except you.”

Listen to Learn

00:40     Intro
01:53     Compañero Shout-Outs
02:18     Conference
04:08     Intro to the guest and topic
06:09     The Azure SQL Database nickel tour
08:09     Jim’s magic trick…nothing up his sleeves…poof! Server!
11:06     DTU calculation?!
12:40     Think of elastic pools as a cost savings feature
15:13     Cross-database queries in AzureDB – Jim has templates he can share
18:33     You can’t just drop an existing application into Azure SQL Database and expect it to work
20:46     Jim’s favorite option is transactional replication
23:47     Not all the services are compliant with Active Directory, so what about security?
25:45     Noisy neighbor issues with Azure SQL Database? Jim’s never seen it.
27:02     Will there be performance impact with new features being deployed?
29:32     Do some data profiles work better in Azure SQL Database than others?
32:44     What is currently not supported
35:25     The moral of the story
36:46     What it means to get stuff back when things go pear-shaped
38:34     A few more features of Azure SQL Database and some missing features.
40:09     Be ready to learn on the fly
41:12     SQL Family Questions
45:54     Closing Thoughts

Our Guest

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Jim Donahoe

Jim is a Cloud Solutions Architect with RDX.  He lives in Pittsburgh in a small suburb.  He loves working with all things Azure(ARM templates, DBaaS, SQL on IaaS).  He is an avid collector of retro video games! He is a member of the Idera ACE program for 2018.

Meet the Hosts

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Carlos Chacon

With more than 10 years of working with SQL Server, Carlos helps businesses ensure their SQL Server environments meet their users’ expectations. He can provide insights on performance, migrations, and disaster recovery. He is also active in the SQL Server community and regularly speaks at user group meetings and conferences. He helps support the free database monitoring tool found at and provides training through SQL Trail events.

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Eugene Meidinger

Eugene works as an independent BI consultant and Pluralsight author, specializing in Power BI and the Azure Data Platform. He has been working with data for over 8 years and speaks regularly at user groups and conferences. He also helps run the GroupBy online conference.

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Kevin Feasel

Kevin is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and proprietor of Catallaxy Services, LLC, where he specializes in T-SQL development, machine learning, and pulling rabbits out of hats on demand. He is the lead contributor to Curated SQL, president of the Triangle Area SQL Server Users Group, and author of the books PolyBase Revealed (Apress, 2020) and Finding Ghosts in Your Data: Anomaly Detection Techniques with Examples in Python (Apress, 2022). A resident of Durham, North Carolina, he can be found cycling the trails along the triangle whenever the weather's nice enough.

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