Choosing Your Database Migration Path to Azure


Azure SQL Database is a fully managed service that is comparable to a traditional on-premises SQL Server deployment, but greatly enhances SQL performance and robustness by making performance levels and storage capacity easily upgradable as well as providing standard high availability. Azure SQL Database delivers predictable performance at multiple service levels that provides dynamic scalability with no downtime, built-in intelligent optimization, global scalability and availability, and advanced security options —all with near-zero administration. These capabilities allow you to focus on rapid app development and accelerating your time to market, rather than allocating precious time and resources to managing virtual machines and infrastructure.

Azure SQL Database currently resides in 38 data centers around the world, with more data centers coming online regularly, enabling you to run your database in a data center near you.
With so many on-premises implementations at customer sites, how do you migrate from the traditional on-premises SQL Server implementation to modern Azure SQL Database technologies and benefit from what cloud database services can offer?

This whitepaper will guide you through the thought process and steps required to migrate your database workloads from on-premises to Azure-based cloud services as well as SQL Server components such as SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Analysis Services, and SQL Server Integration Services.

1.1 Intended Audience

This whitepaper is intended for data professionals, IT professionals, and IT decision-makers who are looking to modernize their data estate by migrating on-premises SQL Server workloads to Microsoft Azure cloud services.

1.2 Prerequisites

We assume that readers have some familiarity with Microsoft SQL Server and Azure cloud services.

1.3 Out of Scope

While non-SQL Server workloads can certainly be migrated to Microsoft Azure cloud services, that is not the focus of this whitepaper.



The SQL Migration Roadmap consists of five stages, each encompassing several important tasks required to complete a successful migration to Azure cloud services.

The purpose of each stage can be summarized below, but we will look at each stage in more depth in the sections to follow:

Initiate and Discover

Understand your database footprint and potential approaches to migration


Assess the discovered workload requirements and any dependencies


Plan and describe the workloads to be migrated, the tool to be used for migration, and the target platform for the workload

Transform and Optimize

Transform any workloads not currently compatible with modern data platforms. Optimize workloads to take advantage of new features

Migrate, Validate and Remediate

Perform the migration, validate successful migration, and remediate applications where required