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2020 edition of SQL Server related services in Azure

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In this post I want to do a 2020 edition of SQL Server related services in Azure. Since so much has changed since I last covered it last year.

To recap, last year I did a video and post about SQL Server related services in Azure. You can read the post in detail here.

Because of all of the exciting updates this year I thought it would be good to do a positive overview of the ones I am excited about for awareness. I will only cover updates for though instead of repeating last years post.

By the end of this post, you will have an overview about some of this year’s updates for SQL Server related services in Azure.

Azure SQL services

Amongst many other updates, some of the Azure SQL services have had some name changes. Which you can read about here.

In reality, there’s been a lot of changes to the existing services. I’m not going to go through each and every one. Instead, you can see for yourself here.

I’ve used the configurable backup storage redundancy option for Azure SQL Managed Instance myself recently. For instance, I used it as part of a post I did about deploying to different types of SQL Server databases through a deployment pipeline here.

Azure Arc

Talk about an exciting update. Azure Arc has got lots of people in the Data Platform community talking this year and for good reason. Because the Data Platform related offerings are now in public preview.

With the introduction of Azure Arc Microsoft is now offering a central place to manage various services wherever they are.

For example, you will be able to deploy and manage SQL Servers hosted both on-premises and in Azure from one central location.

At this moment in time there are three Microsoft Data Platform Services that are in preview for use with Azure Arc as below.

  • Azure Arc enabled SQL Server
  • SQL Managed Instances
  • PostgreSQL Hyperscale

When you dig into this preview offerings it’s easy to see how great they can be. Because they also open up new possibilities.

For example, the possibility of installing and managing SQL Managed Instances anywhere that can host an Azure Arc data controller. You can see here that it’s an impressive list and opens up a lot of new possibilities.

You can read more about it in detail here.

For those of you who prefer to watch videos, you can watch the initial demo for Azure Arc for data services at last years Ignite conference here. In addition, you can watch a really good video about Azure Arc enabled SQL Server here.

Azure Synapse Analytics

On December 3rd this year Microsoft announced general availability of Azure Synapse Analytics. I did mention this in my post last year. However, since last year it has had a lot of significant updates done with it.

In reality, I’m still getting use to using the term SQL Pool instead of Azure SQL Datawarehouse. However, I do love being able to manage them in the new Azure Synapse Workspace.

Just by looking at the documentation here you can see Azure Synapse Analytics is a really great offering. I’ve looked at it whilst setting up a deployment pipeline for SQL Pool and it’s really good.

To make sure everybody gets up to speed on it they have made a load of courses available on Microsoft Learn. You can view all the available courses here.

In addition, Jovan Popovic has a really good video that shows how to create your own workspace here.

Big Data Clusters

I covered Big Data Clusters in my post last year as well. In addition, I showed how you can deploy it using Azure Data Studio.

In reality, there’s been a lot of interest in Big Data Clusters this year. Plus, I have noticed some Data Platform professionals going as far as to get Kubernetes certifications now.

However, Kubernetes can be used with other offerings as well like Azure Arc. Something to think about if you are considering what to learn next year.

In reality, both Big Data Clusters and Azure Data Studio have had a lot of updates since last years post. In fact, it’s safe to say that Azure Data Studio has had a load of good updates since last years post.

As far as Big Data Clusters are concerned you can view all the updates here. I know the support for deployments to Red Hat OpenShift caused a bit of excitement.

You can also watch a really good introduction to Big Data Clusters by Ben Weissman here.

Supporting applications

As far as supporting applications are concerned both SQL Server Management Studio and Azure Data Studio have had significant updates.

In addition, SQL Server Management Studio currently installs Azure Data Studio as well. However, this has upset some community members so not sure if this addition will stay.

Like I said earlier Azure Data Studio has had significant updates over the last year. Introducing lots of nice new features. For example, the SQL Database Projects and Azure Arc extensions.

I use the SQL Database Projects extension myself to work with database deployments and recommend it.

SQL Servers on Azure Virtual Machines

Last but by no means least there’s SQL Servers on Virtual machines. Which is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution for SQL Servers in Azure.

You can see here there’s been some updates since I covered them last year. Especially as far as your options to create availability groups are concerned.

Final word

I hope you have enjoyed this 2020 edition of SQL Server related services in Azure. Because I really wanted to do this update close to the anniversary of last years post.

In reality, I was prepared to do this as part of this years Festive Tech Calendar. Instead, I ended up co-presenting a video with Sander Stad instead. With this in mind, I thought I would do this post instead.

If you have any views or comments about this post feel free to reach out to me. For those of you who celebrate it and reading the week this post is published, Merry Christmas.

2020 edition of SQL Server related services in Azure
Published inAzureAzure Synapse AnalyticsSQL Server

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