4 reasons why Azure is the best destination for SQL Server migrations

4 reasons why Azure is the best destination for SQL Server migrations

When our customers come to use for help migration SQL Server to the cloud, they often ask us, “why do you talk about Azure so much in your blog posts? What is wrong with migration SQL Server to AWS?”

The simple answer is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with migration SQL Server to AWS. In fact, we’re more than happy to help our customers do so. With that said, we do normally recommend that our customers migrate SQL Server to Azure for a myriad of reasons, 4 of which we will cover in this blog post.

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1. A 5x lower TCO than AWS

The biggest reason we recommend Azure for SQL Server is a financial one. While cost savings may not be surprising in of itself, many of our customers are surprised by just how much they can save by choosing Azure over AWS.

Regardless of whether an organization we’re talking to is considering migrating to Azure SQL Database or simply to Azure VMs, running SQL on Azure represents a significantly lower TCO than AWS. In fact, according to third-party research firm GigaOm, Azure can save organizations up to 84% in cloud spend compared to AWS.

2. Azure Hybrid Benefit

One of the primary ways Azure keeps costs low is also #2 on this list – Azure Hybrid Benefit. Our customers are frequently excited when they learn that Azure Hybrid Benefit allows them to leverage their existing SQL Server licenses for steeply discounted compute rate on Azure. Other cloud providers, on the other hand, do not offer a comparable benefit and may even require customers to re-purchase licenses if migrating to non-Azure VMs.

Our customers love the flexibility provided by Azure Hybrid Benefit. Since they eliminate the need for organizations to re-purchase licenses, our customers find they can migrate on their terms, rather than relying on legacy technology until their licensing agreement expires.

3. Free extended security updates

Extended security updates are usually one of the first things we discuss when an organization comes to us because they’re facing a tight deadline before a given version of SQL Server hits end of support, such as SQL Server’s end of support next year. These updates allow up to 3 years of additional security updates, even past SQL Server’s EOS. Many organizations leverage the extended security update offer while evaluating new solutions, migrating, and modernizing their SQL Server environment.

One thing we often discover, however, is that our customers aren’t aware of Azure’s current extended security offer for organizations who migrate SQL Server 2012 to Azure VMs. That is, any organization who migrates their SQL Server 2012 environment to Azure VMs is eligible to gain Microsoft 3 years of free extended security updates while they evaluate options for addressing SQL Server 2012’s end of support.

The free updates represent a major cost savings when compared to purchasing the same extended security updates for an on-premises SQL Server environment or one hosted on VMs on other providers like AWS.

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4. Azure performs 3.6x faster than AWS

The research article from GigaOm above also highlights another key advantage of Azure over AWS. Not only is Azure significantly more affordable for organizations who chose it for migrating SQL Server, it is also faster.

In fact, GigaOm notes that, “Microsoft SQL Server on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VM) indicated 3.6x more transactional throughput on Windows over Microsoft SQL Server on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2).”

Given all of the other benefits described above, it becomes clear why Neal Analytics typically recommends Azure to customers considering options for a SQL Server migration.

Contact us if you want to learn more about Neal, SQL Server migrations or discover whether your organization qualifies for Microsoft’s migration incentives.