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SQL Azure OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

SQL Azure is #1 ranked solution in top Database as a Service vendors. PeerSpot users give SQL Azure an average rating of 8 out of 10. SQL Azure is most commonly compared to Google Cloud SQL: SQL Azure vs Google Cloud SQL. SQL Azure is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 64% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 24% of all views.
SQL Azure Buyer's Guide

Download the SQL Azure Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is SQL Azure?
Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a relational database-as-a-service that delivers predictable performance, scalability, business continuity, data protection, and near-zero administration to cloud developers and solution architects. This is the deep technical library for Azure SQL Database.
SQL Azure Customers
adnymics GmbH, LG CNS, Centrebet, netfabb GmbH, MedPlast, Accelera Solutions, Sochi Organizing Committee, realzeit GmbH
SQL Azure Video

Archived SQL Azure Reviews (more than two years old)

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Lead Consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
A very good UI and no hard coding; lacking in technical documentation
Pros and Cons
  • "Coding does not require much effort."
  • "Lacking in technical documentation."

What is our primary use case?

I work for a consulting firm which uses the technology marketing projects from Microsoft and other IT vendors, re-routing the product, and creating a technical and architectural guide;  basically I work on the consulting assignments. I am a lead consultant in one of the leading IT companies in India and I've been implementing bridges and consulting in an architectural support role. I've been using Azure as a stack and that's where my proficiency is. We're partners with Azure. 

What is most valuable?

This has become a very global solution. The big advantage is the UI which has been simplified. The coding doesn't require much effort so it's valuable in that sense. They have invested a lot in security and compliance so it's also a good product in that area.

What needs improvement?

The product has many features that might not be explored by many end users because there isn't much technical guidance available. If I'm interested in understanding a particular feature I'd like there to be some kind of explore button that would provide technical in-depth assistance, and that's lacking for now. There is very little technical documentation. As already mentioned, additional features should include technical documentation on the product features. Secondly, there could also be some improvement in performance. I know they have done benchmark testing but sometimes performance is lacking. They can improve in that area too. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for four years. 
Buyer's Guide
SQL Azure
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about SQL Azure. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
611,060 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This is a good and stable product. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I don't think scalability is an issue, it's just a matter of adding more RAM as the users increase. 

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is good but adding technical documentation would really make a difference. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward and the deployment is very easy because it's a UI based migration. There's no hard coding. I believe deployment takes maybe two or three hours to get the environment set up and to be able to start exploring. We had one person  responsible for deployment and we have three or four people dealing with maintenance in a company of close to 200 people. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is a little expensive but not too bad in comparison to other products on the market and since I am using the cloud version it's really not too much. There are no additional costs. 

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking for many features in one product with easy usability and UI, then this product is good. You can readily add on features and exploration and all those things. They are adding features all the time so they are creating one large solution, which is like a repository for things like big data and sensors. The SQL Server encapsulates all the requirements. I would rate this solution a seven out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
MichaelSoliman - PeerSpot reviewer
Owner at Alopex ONE UG
Real User
Provides fast access to data, but needs an SQL function optimizer
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution provides more comfort to the end-user compared to a normal SQL server."
  • "The management is entirely controlled by Microsoft, so there are some restrictions."

What is our primary use case?

I am a consultant and some of my clients use this solution for their database.

SQL Azure is a platform, as opposed to a product. You do not select a specific version. It has very little administrative ability, such as the ability to back it up, but it offers much more comfort for the user.

What is most valuable?

This solution has all of the advantages that are available in a normal SQL server, except it is presented in an online environment that can be used from everywhere. It provides fast access to data because the SQL server can calculate where the data is. It is a complexity of order one. So, it does not depend on the size of the table. This is why SQL servers are the favorite data source for any website.

This solution provides more comfort to the end-user compared to a normal SQL server.

What needs improvement?

This solution suffers from the same problems that come about in a normal SQL server. One issue is the optimization of function-heavy evaluations. If you define your own functions, the execution plan of the SQL server performs sub-passes of the execution path, which makes the process very slow. Even if there are very easy means to optimize them, it is still slow. The server should perform automatic function optimization. This is a problem in any implementation, Azure or otherwise.

The management is entirely controlled by Microsoft, so there are some restrictions.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is as stable as any SQL server. I agree with others who say that SQL is more stable than the Microsoft operating systems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a scalable solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

If you have a support contract then it is excellent. They will work at the problem until it has been resolved. The support is very professional.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our customer in Luxembourg is using an Oracle server, rather than SQL Azure because it was a specification of the project. I am not the one who decides which database technology will be used by my clients.

What other advice do I have?

This is the best product that Microsoft has. It is the same product as a normal SQL server but built on Azure. The management is different, depending on the hoster of the cloud.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
SQL Azure
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about SQL Azure. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
611,060 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Marco Cenzato - PeerSpot reviewer
Ing. at Wolters Kluwer
Real User
Top 20
Enables us to manage highly intensive workloads and scale in real-time and on demand
Pros and Cons
  • "They have good documentation. It's concentrated information."
  • "Their support is nice but their responses aren't effective."

What is our primary use case?

We use the public cloud model of this solution. 

How has it helped my organization?

With Azure, we can achieve very high workloads (~6K queries/min) and, if necessary, scale databases in real-time with only one minute of downtime for our customers. It enables us to scale up on demand and to scale down when needed. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of Azure Database is the read-scaleout one: in Premium and Business tiers, the logic single DB consists of 4 identical DBs, the main one (writable) and three read-only synchronized copies; in our application we can use the three read-only copies for almost all of the read-only query and this allows workload distribution and minimizes the concurrency in write operations.

They have good documentation. It's concentrated information. 

What needs improvement?

Migrating existing application to SQL database had many problems, developing a new app for Azure Database not. 

Their support is nice but frequently their responses aren't effective. 

The documentation is always updated with the latest features but the documentation for the database features should be better. It doesn't specify when specific features will be released. The documentation needs improvement. They should improve the way they explain the information to the market.

It should have better support for UTF 8 (a feature already present on the on-premises version of SQL Database 2019) a for Hadoop integration.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for two years in a production environment and for four years in development.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was incredibly easy. Moving from a standard tier to a business tier is not so easy and the documentation isn't so clear the presence of the read scale out copies.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate it a nine out of ten. 

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Master of Information Technology at a individual & family service with 201-500 employees
Real User
Offers security verification and backup but the integration should be faster
Pros and Cons
  • "The stability is good."
  • "The initial setup was very complex."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for SQL Azure is to operate our database.

What is most valuable?

The features I like most is that it offers a lot of securitt verification and backup from our side as well as from within SQL Azure.

What needs improvement?

Security can sometimes be a problem when it affects our business needs. It needs to integrate more security without stopping the service or our business. In some cases we have a lot of restriction on people who needs to use the database for whatever reason. We need more performance but in the same way we need more security - from the application and also in the Internet. The problem is therefore in the internet. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for two years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good at the moment. We are more dependable on the stability from the internet from our service provider. The solution is responsible for 99% of the stability, but most of our problems are due to our local internet provider.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. We have 100 users and one can upgrade the system by performance and by the size of the storage. You can move between different types of storage using block or docket. You can use any way you choose without losing data. So the scalability it is very good. We plan to increase our usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

We are planning to redo the assessment about whether more people should be involved in the technical support. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. It is hard to explain, but the problem is when you have more than one service. We have only one service but the solution has multiple capabilities. 

The deployment team installed the solution on one machine at a time, so it took very long. I chose a big database and within less than nine minutes I was able to collect data. So that was much faster.

What about the implementation team?

We used a vendor team and they have one or two guys who are responsible for the maintenance. 

What other advice do I have?

When it comes to implementation, my advice would be to integrate between Microsoft platforms. I will rate it an eight out of ten as I would love to see faster integration.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
IT Manager at a pharma/biotech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Since moving to the cloud I have less troubleshooting and the database has become more stable
Pros and Cons
  • "The initial setup was straightforward. It took less than one day for deployment."
  • "The solution could be less expensive. They need to work on their pricing model."

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use it for accounting and ERP solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

I have an old SQL server, and it's not stable. I have two choices, to renew the server or move the data to Azure. So I decided to move everything to the cloud. The database has since become more stable, and I have less troubleshooting, which saves time and money.

What needs improvement?

The solution could be less expensive. They need to work on their pricing model.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. I haven't faced any issues up to this point.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable. I worked sales and marketing for Microsoft and I know it's scalable. You can increase and decrease the specs for the server on demand. When it comes to physical hardware, you can increase the specs if you get the wrong machine. With software, you have to pay more money. You can also easily scale down and decrease the specs and save some money if you like.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've used technical support for other Microsoft solutions, and I've found them to be very fast in their response time. They'll call you and help you fix the problem.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've never worked with another cloud solution. This is my first.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It took less than one day for deployment. I have a lot of experience, so it might take others three or four days to complete a setup. You only need one person for deployment and maintenance.

What about the implementation team?

I did the implementation myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay less than $1000 monthly in licensing fees. There are no additional costs. When you start to use the cloud, you can move other services to the cloud as well. So I think we will pay more in the future when we move other services over. But right now we only use the ERP system with SQL Cloud. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I didn't really evaluate Amazon or Google. I just read up on them as Microsoft competitors. 

What other advice do I have?

I'm currently moving my system onto the cloud. I'm using a hybrid version of the solution.

My advice to anyone looking to switch to the cloud is to stabilize the technology and to consider Amazon, Azure, and Google. If you don't have experience in the cloud, you have to consider all solutions and pick the best one for your company. I decided to go with Microsoft Azure because of my past experience. So if you don't have the experience to fall back on, consider all technologies as well as their cost, money, and features.

I would rate the solution eight out of ten because of the cost. I'd like it to be cheaper so we can afford to move more of our services to the cloud.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Director of IT at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Offers High Availability and a decrease in total operating cost compared to on-premises
Pros and Cons
  • "This solution offers high availability, and business continuity is in place."
  • "This solution would be improved with the inclusion of better self-service tools."

What is our primary use case?

We offer this solution as part of a bundle to our customers for which we offer technical services. We are aiming to have a centralized marketplace.

We have experience with hybrid, on-premises, and public cloud deployments. We have a complex environment and are slowly transitioning to this solution. Our production environment is the only one that we're putting into Microsoft Azure. For security reasons, we still have some systems on-premises.

What is most valuable?

The DR for this solution is Active/Active.

This solution offers high availability, and business continuity is in place.

What needs improvement?

This solution would be improved with the inclusion of better self-service tools.

It needs to be easier for my technical teams to perform support tasks.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for about four months.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable. Multiple tiers and multiple layers are there. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We are still very early in the process and have not yet had many use cases. However, at this stage, Microsoft is working proactively with us. We have premium-level support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution is usually complex, especially for an enterprise customer. This solution is tailored to specific customers, which is why complexity varies.

The typical deployment takes six months.

What was our ROI?

Our Total Cost of Operations is cheaper using this solution as compared to an on-premises deployment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing for this solution is based on subscription. We have an enterprise license, so the price of this solution is high.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this solution, as long as the cloud environment is suitable.

This is a good solution, but from the angle of security, everything can be breached.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Professional Service Manager at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
An good solution for a small/medium sized business with excellent technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "In terms of stability, because Microsoft is the underlying technology, they are much more stable than say Oracle. Since 2014 they did a great job in offering stability, performance and high visibility on the solution, especially in comparison to the other competitors."
  • "It's not a feature, but the solution only offers a certain amount of memory and that's limiting. The scalability should be extended to more than two terabytes."

What is our primary use case?

It's a platform that we leverage for multiple uses. There isn't a specific primary use case for the solution.

What needs improvement?

The concurrency between the amount of the transactional replications and the logging needs to be improved. Also, the GUI, the specific management tool itself, needs some improvement as well.

It's not a feature, but the solution only offers a certain amount of memory and that's limiting. The scalability should be extended to more than two terabytes.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, because Microsoft is the underlying technology, they are much more stable than Oracle, for example. Since 2014 they did a great job in offering stability, performance and high visibility on the solution, especially in comparison to other competitors.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I didn't previously use a different solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is easy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'm not sure what the exact price is, but it's a moderate amount. It's not too expensive.

What other advice do I have?

We use the on-premises version of the solution. I would rate it nine out of ten. I would definitely recommend it to an SMB, a small or medium-sized business.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Enterprise End User Operations at a comms service provider with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A stable solution that offers good stability and excellent content management
Pros and Cons
  • "The stability is good and the performance is fantastic. Even when we try to do an inquiry into issues we can do it easily."
  • "The initial setup is complex."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for content management and publishing offsite for external users. We also use it as the intranet to get the largest professional view of the SharePoint version.

What is most valuable?

In SQL we tend to do normal queries. The features we use quite a bit are the backup and monitoring and also the export and import tools for data. We use all of these on a daily basis.

What needs improvement?

We're still discovering aspects of the solution. We haven't yet deployed all of the components, so I'm not sure of what additional features we'd like to see.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for since 2010.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good and the performance is fantastic. Even when we try to do an inquiry into issues we can do it easily. The administration of the tool itself is perfect and the performance is good. On the safety level, we have layers of a firewall. I think this makes it more secure, to help secure the level of encryption and the encryption of the data itself. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We deploy the solution on four machines and are using VMware. We can continue to add on top of this as much as we like. Scalability isn't a problem at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have many layers of technical support, starting with us and our own team. The vendor of our region also provides support if we need it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex.

We had to do some data collecting and we had issues with having redundant databases, meaning we had to do some synchronization between the databases. We did the integration of the networks and handled the clustering on top of the components of SQL. At the beginning we faced some issues, especially getting the servers to talk to each other. We needed to do some workarounds, but ultimately we were successful.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation ourselves. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have a three-year contract. The cost was somewhere around $70-80,000 for the original deployment, which was about two years ago. In the future, we may need to expand our license to include more company employees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did a survey for seeing what technologies were in the market. We ended up with Microsoft because of the general business requirements. Also, we could add the components to the solution for product management. We could add document management, for example, and many other alternatives that covered various business requirements. We ended up with this solution because of the ability to utilize the components. We also had the flexibility of using other plug-ins that helped with the commercial aspects of the business.

What other advice do I have?

We use the private cloud version of the solution.

I would rate the solution nine out of ten. I would recommend it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
AhmedArafat - PeerSpot reviewer
DevOps Engineer at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
User-friendly solution that is easy to understand and has good stability
Pros and Cons
  • "The initial setup is very easy. It's extremely straightforward."
  • "I need Microsoft to allow their network to access open source technologies."

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use the solution for continuous integration and continuous delivery.

What is most valuable?

Azure DevOps is the feature that is the most valuable aspect of the solution for us.

What needs improvement?

I need Microsoft to allow their network to access open source technologies.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. Microsoft is one of the most stable platforms. It offers 100% stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I would rate scalability as ten out of ten.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have been satisfied with technical support. We're a big Azure customer. I don't know if a normal customer or a start-up would get the same support from Microsoft but we are a big customer and we've paid a lot of money for the solution, so we have a good amount of attention from support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously we used open-source solutions and relied on the abilities of our techs. But now we're paying to have a big organization that can help manage and handle our projects.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy. It's extremely straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is okay. It's not too expensive.

What other advice do I have?

The solution is very user-friendly. I would recommend the solution. It's very easy to understand.

I would rate this solution ten out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Business Analyst at Paunaste OÜ
Real User
A straightforward, stable solution that provides regular database functionality

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use the solution to study SQL.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides regular database functionality

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to improve its customer network, including its online support.

In the next release, I'd like to see Azure SQL improve user rights management and user rights control management.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution offers up options for scalability. Right now, in our organization, only one person is using Azure SQL and they are using it daily.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is okay.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. Deployment takes about one hour.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented the solution myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are using the free version. It's free of charge for one developer.

What other advice do I have?

In terms of advice to others, I would suggest that they make sure they keep the system stable and to not add complexity.

I would rate this solution eight out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Data Platform Architect at APN Promise
Real User
Top 20
When we have a problem with a query we can trade information about what indexes we should create on tables
Pros and Cons
  • "What is really helpful about the Azure SQL is that when we have a problem with our sound queries, we can trade information about what indexes we should create on tables. It's really helpful for me and also for developers."
  • "I need something which is in one place so I can automate the Azure data factory, but it's a different tool. It's not easy and in one place, so I can't switch to the other tool and do something there, automate everything there in the on-prem infrastructure, and then have everything in the agent. I can just pick one packet and use it. However, I want to be able to click it and run it."

What is most valuable?

What is really helpful about the Azure SQL is that when we have a problem with a query, we can trade information about what indexes we should create on tables. It's really helpful for admin and for developers.

What needs improvement?

I need something which is in one place so I can automate the Azure data factory, but it's a different tool. It's not easy and in one place, so I can't switch to the other tool and do something there, automate everything there in the on-prem infrastructure, and then have everything in the agent. I can just pick one packet and use it. However, I want to be able to click it and run it. 

We could definitely use something which can automate the work. For example, I know there are a lot of tips like what indexes you should use, or what security features you should look at with your current SQL server. The acquired performance is assured, so some more statistics about acquired performance would be really valuable for the developer and also the administrators who use it. That would be really valuable, but we also need something which automates the work in particular SQL agents. I'm disappointed that it is not in the simple plan and I have to buy a higher plan.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I didn't notice any problems with the performance of this product. It's pretty stable. Computing is working as it should, so it's really good. It's stable, and the performance is really very good. That's what I really like about Azure SQL.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's very scalable. That's why we like cloud solutions. You just add on every time you need some more performance pages. I just change the plan and it works.

How are customer service and technical support?

To be honest I have never had a problem that called for technical support. I never had a chance to contact support because it works without any problems. It's the same thing with clients because we work very closely with our customers. Every time they have some problems we get a call from them and can solve the problem for them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial implementation is straightforward. There are a few click-throughs and you have ready to use infrastructure. It usually takes five to ten minutes. Even less.

What other advice do I have?

We use a few different versions. It depends on the project. We use the S-1, 2, and 3, depending on the customer's requirements.

If we compare, for example, the cloud infrastructure and on-prem infrastructure, there are lots of good things about cloud infrastructure because we can scale the product so that every single time when we need more performance, more computing, more storage we can just reach to the higher plan, and we can use it. There is obviously cost reduction because although we still need an on-prem trader for SQL parts, it's not hard like it was in SQL brand because we also had to care about the infrastructure too. Right now, we are concentrating on the software which is good and saves us money. 

I would rate this solution nine out of ten because it offers a lot, including statistics and other things which are very hard to get from Azure. However, you have to specify what you actually would like to monitor, which is not straightforward.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
PeerSpot user
Software Architect at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Provides memory-optimized tables, elastic scale, and portal management tools.

What is most valuable?

  • Memory-optimized tables
  • Elastic scale
  • Azure portal management tools

How has it helped my organization?

Some customers' applications require very large tables (large number of records). Here are examples of how this solution helped them:

  • Performance of memory-optimized tables in SQL Azure exceeds that of an on premise SQL Server
  • Microsoft adds new features, including bug fixing, to SQL Azure every fortnight on the average.
  • Performance benchmark: There is a benchmark suite that is relevant, Azure SQL Database Benchmark (ASDB). This benchmark includes metrics in plans for the three-service tiers, Basic, Standard and Premium. (In-Memory OLTP support is only available in Premium tier plans.)

The main reason for the business case of using SQL Azure for a few large tables for our customer was as follows:

  • Most of the tables in the data model (DM) for the application are small enough to have required performance in a Standard Edition of an on premise SQL Server instance. Only four tables are large enough and have peaks of concurrent transactions per minute that are large enough to require in-memory OLTP support.
  • We needed to compare TCO for an Enterprise on premise SQL Server instance for the entire DM (that would be mainly under-utilized) versus TCO of a Standard on-premises for most of the DM + TCO of SQL Database with in-memory OLTP support for these four tables. (TCO for this scenario includes an estimate of changes in the design of the application.)
  • This TCO comparison was calculated for a period of two years. That is the time between a given version of on premise SQL Server and the next version.
  • The end result was a lower TCO for the second scenario. The first scenario implies paying an Enterprise instance up-front at the start of the two year period.
  • In the second scenario, the application would have two data repositories. Transactional control for the app is the reason why I mentioned the limitation of the SQL database. It only supports distributed transactions between instances of SQL Azure. That was a technical problem to solve. This was one of the main reasons for the changes in the app in the second scenario.
  • We had to make some changes to the app to separate transactions and their contexts for the two repositories.
  • In this case, it would be an improvement if Microsoft were to provide support of distributed transactions between SQL Azure instances. We would also like to see support for other kinds of services for Microsoft and other vendors who support standard distributed transactions.

What needs improvement?

SQL Azure only supports distributed transactions with other instances of SQL Azure. This has been an obstacle for us.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this product for almost four years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

You can deploy your solution to a SQL Azure database directly from SQL Server Management Studio (the same tool used to manage solutions for On Premises SQL Server editions), so, the transition from SQL Server On Prem deployment to SQL Azure deploy presents no issues.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues with scalability. This is a strong feature of the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Microsoft has very good customer service, both free and paid customer service (by free customer service I mean customer service on free cloud solutions like Outlook.com)

Technical Support:

Microsoft has very good technical support for this service and product, as usual. Regarding SQL Azure, the amount of free online resources for developers is huge and relevant.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

For some customers' applications, we switched from memory optimized tables with on premise instances to SQL Azure instances. The switch happened under the same SQL Server umbrella.

How was the initial setup?

It takes some time to get accustomed to the Azure portal and to navigate through its tools and options. You can also connect directly from the SQL Server Management Studio. It is fairly easy to configure the proper parameters for connection. Once you are connected, it is transparent for any experienced SQL Server DBA or SQL developer.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Even if you are an experienced SQL Server DBA, there is some learning to do to be able to develop, deploy and manage SQL Azure solutions. At Microsoft Virtual Academy there is a set of free courses to learn all this.

You can use a free SQL Azure account to do some of the required practice while learning (bear in mind that the free account for all Azure tools, including SQL Azure, requires that you provide credit card information), but you will also need to license a SQL Azure plan for actual deployment and use of the solution: Basic plans, Standard Plans, Premium Plans.

You can choose a plan according to the amount of resources used by your solution (storage required, number of transactions, etc.), such that the hourly rate of the chosen plan is tied to the range of resources used.

The main setup cost that we have experienced is basically time required to do the training, and payment of a plan during the development and testing of the solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate anything else. I started using SQL Azure through teaching some MOC courses that included it, in early 2013. I had the chance to get to really know the product and the service.

What other advice do I have?

For any potential customer who is considering migrating an app to SQL Azure, my advice is:

  • Spend enough time analyzing if SQL Azure offers you a viable business case for the said app. It may or may not offer this to you!
  • It is very important that you have a thorough understanding of the performance details and issues of the current app from a standpoint of the database engine. This is mainly with DMVs and DMFs, if you are using an on premise SQL Server.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I teach MOC courses (Visual Studio, SQL Server) at a Microsoft Certified Training Center, on a continuous basis since 2007. This is as far as I have a relationship with the vendor (Microsoft).
it_user660030 - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Management Architect at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
Vendor
Provides an option for maintaining structured data in smaller databases.

What is most valuable?

There is significant abstraction from beginner to intermediate database administration responsibilities. In this way, I can focus on my business objectives, as opposed to heavy upfront cost of ownership when compared to on-premises or IaaS alternatives.

How has it helped my organization?

It provides faster turnaround time to getting solutions customer facing.

What needs improvement?

It could have closer parity to on-premises capabilities. Introduce a graph database engine component.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure since its inception.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Historically, SQL Azure has tended to choke at databases larger than 50GB, and in some cases, as small as 20GB. Granted, this starts becoming a function of database design.

Caveat: It's been a while since I last attempted to put larger sets of data into a single SQL Azure database. Now, if you don't use resilient connection tolerance practices (or technologies), then it may feel unstable. Here again, it becomes a function of design.

In other words, if you simply choose to use on-premises traditional designs and principles when interacting with SQL Azure, then there is a higher probability of it "feeling" unstable.

How is customer service and technical support?

I've seen and experienced some amazing service and then I've endured appalling interactions, too.

This becomes a function of your SQL engine skill, the diligence and appropriateness of your design, the support tier you purchased, and some luck if you connected with a support engineer who not only spoke your language, but also carried an attitude of chasing down a solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is super straightforward. I don't really find that question useful, or at least as useful as, "What is it like incrementally adjusting the design of the database?"

This is where Microsoft's eco-system further outshines the alternatives. Again, this is a much longer discussion, but it's folly to choose a platform, and even a technology, without considering the lifecycle of changes.

In an agile world, you have to ask how you are going to get that data tier to respond efficiently and within business requirements and tolerances.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's an elastic service, at least in its simplest definition, and a proactive one with some reactive capability. Therefore, there is value in monitoring usage and adjusting proactively to gain optimal savings.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Alternatives tended to be IaaS offerings hammered or butchered to be PaaS. So, frankly, the answer is that I don't know of other PaaS alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

SQL Azure is a good option for maintaining structured data, especially for smaller databases (0 - 25GB).

My solutions today leverage a plethora of structured and unstructured data. Therefore, having this service in close proximity to the resource groups I use for the other services is beneficial.

It does tend to constrain me to the Azure platform, as I've yet to find a vendor who can give me the RDBMS PaaS offering. Constrain makes it sound like “suck up some pain”. However, I have yet to find the Azure platform limiting.

Here is some context or insight. I was previously on the product team that heavily influenced the direction and feature set of SQL Server, both box (on-premises) and cloud. My focus and specialty is related to scaling the RDBMS tier to support high-demand applications.

To that end, SQL Azure was very useful for a certain set of business problems. At the time, I certainly would not have recommended anything larger than 50GB residing in a SQL Azure database.

I also felt strongly that a significant value proposition of cloud-based RDBMS solutions lay in the as yet untapped elastic-scale possibilities.

To that end, I developed a framework for customers to leverage, which found its way (in a crippled form) into what is today's SQL Azure elastic feature. What I'm trying to say is that true elastic-scale and distributed scale of SQL Azure is hobbled. That frustrates me.

The value proposition of using SQL Azure for mobile and web app solutions is also significant, and it remains as strong as ever. This is especially the case for solutions that enjoy the benefits of structured data.

The on-going improvements of SQL Azure reaching parity with an on-premises feature set is making SQL Azure a viable option for many applications that previously couldn't even begin to look at cloud-based, non-IaaS, therefore PaaS, offerings.

In my current role, I consider SQL Azure the leader for cloud-based RDBMS solutions, far ahead of any other cloud-based RBMS offering. Where I have structured data, SQL Azure is my de facto storage tier.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Pradip K. Wani - PeerSpot reviewer
Manager of Architecture/Design with 51-200 employees
Real User
You can arrange training and demos based on the client’s budget.

What is most valuable?

  • Cloud products reduce the cost of the production of software products
  • You do not have to buy the product at the up-front market cost
  • You pay for it as you use the product
  • You can develop a product on your own premises
  • Just give the key to the vendor, so that there are no separate deployment costs.
  • You save on travel and meals, as well as housing required for a development team required for deployment and implementation.
  • The distance between the client and development team is invisible.
  • You may arrange virtual-real trainings/demos based on the affordability of the client’s budget.
  • There is no requirement of special hardware, as costs and additional software are bared by the cloud platform. You can spend as you need based on what the client’s needs are and scale hardware and software up to the client’s needs.
  • Cost of the platform and the software upgrades are covered under the service contract.

How has it helped my organization?

We developed our product with a small team of .NET developers for a client, a law university in Delhi, India.

We received the requirements from conversations of our team with our client, over the phone, and with email.

There was minimal training required for the team to be trained in cloud, as every developer in the team had basic .NET skills.

This product was then intended to be used by law university students for their training in court room sessions as student lawyers debating against each other to deduce lawful judgements of a case under study.

We provided virtual chat rooms for the students and had facilitated a method to share video sessions of their debates in virtual court rooms.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft has delivered on its promise by providing a free, developer-student (community) edition of Visual Studio.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this for around 6-9 months to develop and implement the product.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are questions in the developers’ and clients’ minds:

  • Since Azure is a pay-by-use product, what is the provision for the future?
  • If, for some reason, we lost this provision, what fallback parachute is Microsoft planning for customers?
  • What risk planning and hedging should the client do? There is no such possibility, but the concern must be addressed by Microsoft.

Physically owned products are also subject to failure. The hardware on premise also fails and needs to be maintained, so there is expected downtime.

Microsoft provides mirroring of cloud servers. There is a sure provision of backup and restore of the cloud environment.

By centralizing these services and products at a central location (datacenter), we are optimizing on services and goods cost and sharing these costs with other cloud dwellers.

By going towards the cloud, we are going towards a virus and spyware free environment.

We are moving away from special, owned hardware and products, to cloud-based datacenters, which exist in the other resource rich, low cost, areas.

This is Platform as a Service of the SOA revolution.

Along with overseas datacenters, we shall promote near shore or local datacenters to capitalize on the cloud advantage. We will also address issues of risk hedging, which will spur job growth in local areas.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We didn’t have any scalability problems.

How are customer service and technical support?

We did not explore this option, but the response was good for whatever we did request.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We switched due to the advantages I mentioned earlier.

How was the initial setup?

You don’t have to install the product on the cloud platform. You receive a login with pre-pared software installs. Custom requirements need to be implemented or requested.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Every region of a country has cheaper locations that can provide cost advantages, and data center growth must be equally distributed on earth with electricity and resource rich, low cost, areas to keep the cost of the cloud minimal. This will also avert natural and man-made calamities.

The United States and other countries can take this cloud option to the next level of off-shoring without any immigration and terrorism issues, enabling development in impoverished areas of the world.

This can further cut down the cost of software development, other "down-the-line" products, services and goods, and will empower the poor and neglected of the world.

This will also improve trade between the countries. There are always imbalances amongst populations in any country in skills and monetary status. An equalizer could be achieved by allowing more trade, more freedom, and more pollination.

In India, we had to start development using the 3-month free subscription Azure platform .net and SQL . Now as far as I know, vs 2015 community edition is a free download. One can develop software application in it and deploy it with an Azure subscription which is pay as you use. All nitty-gritty development can be done by a development team. That's why Microsoft has delivered their dream cloud promise with the zero cost alternative of community edition.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered local cloud and physical install options. These options were expensive and less effective.

What other advice do I have?

Microsoft Cloud is reliable and dependable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
IT Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
You can change the plan of a service in terms of DTUs, point of restore, and auditing.

What is most valuable?

  • Availability and scalability
  • Ability to understand the application and not necessarily the structure of your database
  • Natural replication of the SaaS service provides efficient availability
  • You can choose the geographical replication: Simply open a map and tag the new location of a replication
  • Scale tab: You can change the plan of the service in terms of DTUs, point of restore, and auditing

How has it helped my organization?

We have configured this solution into a worldwide application based on Microsoft SQL with SQL Azure and with SQL Azure elastic pool.

What needs improvement?

Maybe the portal should have a more detailed and granular way to query data. You can use API for this purpose.

Azure is working on the query engine in order to give you the ability to analyze a query for performance with insight to improve the load or the time of a query.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used SQL Azure for one year along with the other Azure services.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I had no issues during our work.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very flexible. In the case of a heavy load period, you don’t see any difference in terms of performance. The advantage with a SaaS service is the normal scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

If you don't have Premium support, you need to wait for 24 hours to receive support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Other databases like PostgreSQL and SQL Server were evaluated. We decided to switch because our .NET application works well with Microsoft solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The configuration was straightforward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

You need to be careful about the size of your database or pool in order to fit it exactly within your budget.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate any other options.

What other advice do I have?

The best use of this product is the combination with other SaaS services. Evaluate communication on premise if you need to.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Owner at AFF Group
Vendor
It works in the cloud and made our back-end service scalable, but its cost efficiency could be improved.

Valuable Features:

  • It works perfectly in the cloud.
  • It made our back-end service scalable.

Improvements to My Organization:

In many cases we use Azure as a service platform.

When larger data is collected by continuous business operations and will be processed for further analysis, we use SQL Azure.

Room for Improvement:

  • Scalability
  • Cost efficiency
  • Business continuity
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user261489 - PeerSpot reviewer
Program and Project Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Popular
Security features should be improved, but it has helped us to reduce a lot of customer infrastructure budgets.

What is most valuable?

  • Azure SQL database
  • Office 365 mail server

How has it helped my organization?

We are a solutions provider and we have implemented this solution for many organizations. With these customers, we have managed to reduce a lot of infrastructure budgets and to provide an eco-friendly setup. Organizations can reduce, by a lot, electricity consumption and simplify their cooling plant setup.

What needs improvement?

It needs to improve the security features, because people still aren't confident enough to use a public cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used it for one year alongside Office 365 and Windows VM.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There wasn't much except some issues faced when migrating into the cloud.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Not much.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues encountered.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

It's very good.

Technical Support:

They have very good support and lots of online training as well as having seminars and customer support available. I have joined many sessions through the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't use a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

It's not complex and, in actual fact, it's easy. Ready made set-ups are available any time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is good, but there is still a gap if you are going to manage a large setup and a big growth of an organization. If that's the case, then pricing will be big challenge especially the pricing forecast and your analysis of growth and IT budget.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have done some studies of SalesForce AWS among others .

What other advice do I have?

It's a nice, very advanced technology based project that is very secure and cost effective cut edge technology. There are lots of cost and technical resources that can be cut while implementing this solution, to manage cost budget IT infrastructure for any organization.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Download our free SQL Azure Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
Updated: June 2022
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free SQL Azure Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.