Microsoft Azure SQL Database

Microsoft Azure SQL Database (formerly SQL Azure, SQL Server Data Services, SQL Services, and Windows Azure SQL Database) is a managed cloud database (PaaS) provided as part of Microsoft Azure.

A cloud database is a database that runs on a cloud computing platform, and access to it is provided as a service. Managed database services take care of scalability, backup, and high availability of the database. Azure SQL Database is a managed database service which is different from AWS RDS which is a container service.



Microsoft Azure SQL Database includes built-in intelligence that learns app patterns and adapts to maximize performance, reliability, and data protection. It was originally announced in 2009 and released in 2010.

Key capabilities include:

  • Continuous learning of your unique app patterns, adaptive performance tuning, and automatic improvements to reliability and data protection
  • Scaling as needed, with virtually no app downtime
  • Management and monitoring of multitenant apps with isolation benefits of one-customer-per-database
  • Leverage open source tools like cheetah, sql-cli, VS Code and Microsoft tools like Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Management Portal, PowerShell, and REST APIs
  • Data protection with encryption, authentication, limiting user access to the appropriate subset of the data, continuous monitoring and auditing to help detect potential threats and provide a record of critical events in case of a breach

Popular use cases

  • Relational data storage for cloud based applications and web sites
  • Business and consumer web and mobile apps
  • Manage databases for multi-tenant apps (software-as-a-service)
  • Quickly create dev and test databases to speed up development cycles
  • Scale production business services quickly and at a known cost
  • Containerize data in the cloud for isolation and security
  • Outsource database management in order to focus on value-added services


Azure SQL Database shares the SQL Server 2016 codebase. It is compatible with SQL Server 2014 and 2016 and most of the features available in SQL Server 2016 are available in Azure SQL Database. A list of incompatibilities is publis... more

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