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How to optimize SQL Server Licensing

How to optimize SQL Server Licensing

The most popular database management system used in any organization is Microsoft SQL. But the organizations are not taking proper initiative in optimizing SQL licensing.  One of the biggest challenges faced by these organizations is overcoming the complexity of SQL and its ever changing nature.

The first step towards optimize SQL Server licensing IT team must assess is their on-premise SQL server inventory such as:

  • The current instances of SQL server must not exceed the amount of actual hardware and active servers in your network environment.
  • Evaluate the version and editions of the SQL server instances so that you can understand whether your organization is over spending
  • Review the redundant servers to understand where these funds are being spent and how much money is overspent. 

If the organizations are serious about optimizing SQL licensing, they may consider migrating their servers to Azure SQL or AWS (Amazon Web Services).

What is Azure SQL Database and its features?

Azure SQL is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) which helps right-sized database set-ups by lowering the amount spend on licensing. It makes use of SQL faster and easier. It is a cloud-based service providing relational database functionality to more than one million databases. A logical grouping of databases residing on different physical machines where the organization owns the hardware and software and the hosting and maintenance is undertaken by Microsoft.

Using Azure AQL cloud platform, organizations are able to reduce their time spend on licensing and were able to slash their data center costs by 36% in 2018. Since directories and securities are pre-coded in Azure SQL, labor hour is saved as the need for coding is decreased. Your organization’s savings will increase significantly as there are fewer requirements of direct maintenance and management.

Azure SQL server database shares a common code with the latest version of SQL server. Most of the standard SQL language, query processing, and database management features are identical in SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. Azure SQL database ensures highly availability of data and the database is created as a part of managed instance, single database or as a part of elastic pool.

According to Forrester, migrating to Azure SQL could provide up to a 466% return on investment, a 505% reduction in time-to-deploy, and an 80% reduction in IT admin time.

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What are the limitations of Azure SQL Database?

Azure SQL Database is a virtual database instance with shared physical resources. Azure SQL limits are -

  1. Server-level functionality is restricted or not supported.
  2. Server-centric features are not available
  3. Most Transact-SQL commands are available in Azure SQL. Hence,  CREATE or ALTER Database options are not supported because it is related to server specific functionality.
  4. If the IP address is not mentioned in the Azure Management Portal, incoming connections to the database are blocked.
  5. It does not support windows authentication. SQL authentication is required with strong passwords.
  6. Distributed transactions i.e., transactions with multiple transaction managers are not supported by Azure SQL.
  7. Heap tables are not supported in version 11 of the Azure SQL database. You can create a table without clustered index but UPDATE, DELETE or INSET functions are not allowed. The latest version V12 allows you to create and modify data in a table without clustered index. SELECT INTO function is also supported for creation a table from a result set.
  8. Azure SQL Database does not provide monitoring utilities such as SQL Profiler, SQL Trace, Activity Monitor or PerfMon. 
  9. Database Diagrams are not available, EXECUTE AS command is not supported for logins, and event tracking, notifications or query notifications are not supported.

What is AWS?

AWS or Amazon Web Services is the most widely adopted cloud platform offering 165 services with a wide range of applications including compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), security, and application development, deployment, and management. The service includes a mixture of infrastructure – a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and packaged software as a service (SaaS). Migrating to the cloud from your existing apps is much faster, easier and cost-effective.

Launched in 2006, AWS is the first company  to introduce a pay-as-you-go cloud computing model that scales to provide users with compute, storage or throughput as needed.

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AWS and Azure - How to compare?

Below discussed are few points which may help you to understand the comparison between AWS and Azure.

  1. Price – AWS charges you in hourly basis and Azure on per minute basis. For short term subscriptions Azure is more flexible but tends to be costlier than AWS when the architecture starts scaling up.
  2. Compute services – For faster processing of a large amount of data generated AWS and Azure both have the services that cater to the needs. AWS has services like EC2, Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda, ECS etc. Azure has services like Azure Virtual Machine, App Service, Azure Functions and Container service etc.
  3. Storage services – You can expect long-running and reliable storage services both from AWS and Azure. Services of AWS are - AWS S3, EBS, and Glacier and of Azure are - Blob Storage, Disk Storage, and Standard Archive.
  4. Database services – Both structured and unstructured data are handled by different database services provide by AWS and Azure.

AWS has Amazon RDS which supports different database engines like MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle.

Azure has Azure SQL Server Database based on SQL language.

  1. Networking services – BothAmazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and Microsoft Azure Virtual Network enable users to create subnets, route tables, private IP address ranges, and network gateways.
  2. Container and Orchestration support - AWS provides more matured Big Data and analytics offerings that cover domains like IoT, mobile apps development or creation of a computing environment depending on needs and also supports Docker. Azure may go a step further as it offers Hadoop support with services like Azure HDInsight.

Both cloud platforms have potential capabilities. When it comes to Hybrid cloud and integrating with Microsoft stack of products, Azure proves to be great. AWS is no less as it is more flexible and has many extra features.

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