Compare PaaS (SQLDB) and IaaS (Virtual Machine) on Azure

If you are looking at the Microsoft Azure platform as a possible solution to your SQL Server database requirements, you need to pick between Azure SQL Database (SQLDB) and a virtual machine running an instance of SQL Server (Virtual Machine). The platforms are similar, but they have basic differences that you should consider before you pursue a production solution.

In this article from Igor Pagliai at Microsoft, we see a comparison between Azure SQL Database running as PaaS and a typical Windows virtual instance with SQL Server installed as a IaaS solution. We see the pros and cons of each option, and it should help guide you in the direction of the solution which is best for your environment.



Server VM (IaaS)

Features Less features than box Full box product features
Performances Max 1750 DTU in Premium Tier Depends on VM SKU/Storage
DB Size Max 1TB in Premium Tier (P11) 64TB on G-SERIES
Workload Sizing by average usage Sizing based on peaks
High-Availability Built-in by platform Manual configuration by AlwaysOn AG
Fault-Handling Necessary fault-handling &
Recommended fault-handling &
Locality No co-location with application Co-located by VMs and VNETs
Segregation Internet exposed endpoint Internal private endpoint
Versioning No control on upgrades Full control over DB upgrade
TCO Very low, almost self-managed High (as on-premise)
Administration No full-time DBA required Full staffed DBA required
Management Easy to manage many DBs Complex to manage many DBs/VMs
Scale-Out Tools & Frameworks available No easy scale-out
Configuration No setup customization Full access to OS and SQL
Authentication Only SQL standard authentication SQL standard and integrated
Security No Fixed IP available Fixed IP possible at VM level
Backup Backup files not accessible Full control of backup files



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