Seeing database cloud migrations as opportunities, rather than risks.

close up photo of pink scrabble tiles
No need for panic!

Database migrations are typically one of the biggest challenges when we’re moving applications to the cloud. The reason for it is obvious, databases, or rather their contents, are the lifeblood of many businesses. This makes people rather cautious, when dealing with database migrations. I like that, caution is good. Applications and their servers, on the other hand, can be cloned or rebuild from the scratch. And it’s just fine how you move them, as long as it runs in the end. However, with the database the challenge is, that you need to ensure that every single transaction, and a bit of data is moved, as they were in the source system.

Database migrations, or upgrades, are also complex in the on-premises world and going to the cloud definitely adds a new layer of complexity to it. Having said that, I also feel that too often these complexities are considered too much from the risk perspective, rather than opportunity one.

Now, allow me to explain what I mean by examining 5 typical challenges that can be turned to opportunities.

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Why I know DBA role survives the public cloud.

Hand zooming into tablet with overhanging cloud.
Survival in the clouds.

For the past 10 years or so, I’ve seen it occasionally come up in the discussions that DBA won’t be needed in the future. Originally, it started with the vendors claiming that their database systems are becoming self-tuning. Then the final nail in the coffin was to be the public cloud, which was also to be self-tuning. And it wouldn’t be just self-tuning, it would be infused with AI and tears of the DBAs to produce absolute magic.

While technology has definitely gone forward, nothing’s yet fully self-tuning, but cloud (especially the cloud bills) have certainly brought tears to the eyes of many DBAs, and occasional CFO. There are also signs, that rather clearly, point to the fact that the DBA role, and other IT specialist roles, aren’t dying away anytime soon either.

Let me tell you why.

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Database Migration, Modernization, and R-strategies.

Arrow pointing to the cloud.
Applications go here!

Public cloud is a really great place to put your application and database workloads. However, it’s not always clear how, exactly, that should happen. Some people talk about migrating, others about modernizing, a few mix everything together, and then there is a bunch of words that all start with the letter R.

In this post, based on my own experience, I’ll attempt to provide a clear differentiation between migration and modernization approaches, and how they map to a mysterious thing called the R-strategies. I will also introduce you to the third option called Midernization, or Moigration. Yeah, I know. The naming is a work-in-progress. Anyway, this is the option that no one recognizes, but almost everyone ends up doing it.

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SQL Assessment API

Every so often, Microsoft puts some extra into their SQL Server product, which doesn’t get as much time in the spotlight as it should. Nope, not talking about any of the great, new things that we got coming in with SQL Server 2022. Today’s post will be used to look at something called. SQL Assessment API. It’s not a very exciting name for a feature, but it definitely provides a new, exciting capability!

So, what exactly is the SQL Assessment API, and where, and how would you use it?

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Running non-SQL Server database workloads in Azure

So many databases…

I’ve written few (most of my) posts about running SQL Server, and very often about running it in Azure. While Azure is absolutely the best cloud platform for SQL Server, it is also an excellent platform for plenty of other database workloads. In short: “If it runs on a server or a virtual machine, you can move it to the Azure.” However, I also feel that most blog posts should exceed tweets in length, which is why we’ll go a little deeper into this.

Not so deep, though, that we’d start discussing non-relational databases (those can go to CosmosDB).

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Officially the best Azure VM for SQL Server

Number one!

I was just recently going through my backlog of podcasts and came across Data Exposed episode with Microsoft’s Pam Lahoud (@SQLGoddess on Twitter) about SQL Server VMs in Azure. Now, we have it from the official sources that one of the best VM sizes for SQL Server workloads is the Edsv4-series.

Incidentally, this is also one of my favorites for running SQL Server, and one that I often end up recommending due to missing monitoring data. Read further to find what exactly makes this VM series so good for many of the SQL Server workloads.

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Azure Defender for SQL

It’s always a great time to write about security, so let’s go with this topic today. One of the main reasons I love public cloud is, that beyond nice offering for databases, they also provide great features around security.

One of these features, and the topic of this post, is Azure Defender for SQL. While Azure Defender has been around for a while, it was only very recently it was also made available for SQL Servers running on VMs.

So what is Azure Defender for SQL and why you should be enabling this today, if you already haven’t?

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