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Resilience Options for SQL in Azure

No business runs an SQL server for the fun of it. Every company knows that their SQL server plays a vital role in daily operations. Typically, it’s the backbone of an organisation’s most critical processes. It may even be the back-end for Line of Business systems, such as the CRM, ERP, financial databases, and so on.

With all of that in mind, it becomes clear that a business needs a resilient SQL setup. These systems need to be highly available and secure to keep the business operating at its peak, but what options do you have for setup to achieve these new standards?

SQL in Azure

 

Consider Business Continuity

Business Continuity is the combined effect of resilience and high availability (HA). Organisations have plenty of options when it comes to achieving business continuity with their SQL setup.

However, many of the options that exist are complex and very expensive. In addition to the up-front costs to build, many options available today also take substantial budgeting just to keep running. A prime example of this is on-premise infrastructure.

Instead, the budget-friendly yet highly-effective alternative is to migrate your business’ SQL workloads to Azure. In doing so, you’ll open the door to some new opportunities for resilience while achieving a highly available (HA) setup. The decision will lead you to three simple choices.

Deploy The SQL Server on IaaS VMs

The first of the three deployment options enable your organisation to configure a pair of SQL servers running on virtual machines (VMs). These will be set up in an Availability set using either an “Always On” availability group or a Failover Cluster Instance.
The great thing about this deployment option is that it enables your business to run a full version of your SQL server, but it’s all confined within the cloud. There is no on-premise hardware for you to manage and the licensing costs are billed on a pay-as-you-go plan, which makes scaling simple.

You can set up automated backups for your SQL Server Azure VMs and a manual backup function is also available. When opting for a high availability solution, it can be set up from scratch or designed using a template, making configuration automatic.

Different virtual machine sizes are offered in order to meet varying needs and demands, which means it is easy to find the right setup for your business whether you project substantial growth or stability ahead.

Deploy An Azure SQL Database

This PaaS service has high availability built right in. That means there is nothing for your team to do or manage. PaaS includes patching, backups, point-in-time restore, and more.

Azure will handle these things automatically, detecting failures and dealing with replication and underlying issues without you even lifting a finger. Bug fixes and database upgrades can take place automatically along with other tasks that would otherwise eat up your team’s time.

This means your organisation is protected against everything except for the Azure data centre going off-line. If you want to protect against that as well, the solution is simple: implement Active Geo-Replication.

Active Geo-Replication is a powerful implementation feature that’s meant to boost business continuity by allowing your applications to perform a fast and automatic disaster recovery protocol if the data centre experiences an outage.

When enabled, Geo-Replication allows the application to start a failover to a second database located in a different region of Azure’s network. This provides greater peace of mind and minimises downtime for your business.

Deploy An Azure SQL Database Managed Instance

The Managed Instance deployment option is the same as the above when looking at things from a business continuity perspective, except the Azure SQL Database Managed Instance does not offer Active Geo-Replication as an option.

It is built on the same PaaS infrastructure and offers all of the same great PaaS features as well. This option is designed for businesses that are looking to get into the fully-managed cloud environment Azure is able to offer with as little work as possible to carry their databases over to the new setup.

The Data Migration Service, or DMS, offered by Azure is fully automated, making the shift quick and simple. High availability is built right in with 99.9% uptime SLA.

As a user, you’ll get to take advantage of automated data backups along with a backup retention period that you can configure based on your organisation’s needs. Point-in-time restoration and the other features mentioned above also apply to the Managed Instance deployment.

Take The Next Steps

Compared to the expense and time-consuming management of an on-premise infrastructure setup, Azure is far superior and much more affordable. It puts everything into the cloud where your team can enjoy scalability, convenience, and peace of mind.

You’d be mad to, at the very least, not evaluate Azure. It’s a fantastic platform to run your SQL workloads on and it’s flexible enough to fit the demands of any growing SMB today.

Everything that you can achieve on-premise can be achieved in Azure. Once set up, your team will experience effortless monitoring and management at the touch of a finger. What’s important is that you start the process with the right team helping you.

If you have questions about your business’ deployment options or if you’re curious about learning more about how Azure can save your business time and money while boosting efficiency, talk to us.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we specialize in SQL based workloads in Azure and we’re more than happy to give you a free call. Speak to one of our Azure consultants to evaluate all of your options and put your business on the right track.

 

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