SQL Server 2005 EOS – 4 options for migrating your workloads

Organizations still running SQL 2005 face considerable risk on April 12, 2016, when Microsoft no longer offers extended support. With a typical migration process of more than 200 days, not counting the roadmap process, organizations without a replacement strategy can dramatically increase support costs.

One of the first things to understand in any discussion of local SQL Server databases versus a cloud-based solution is that you can use it all: Microsoft’s data platform leverages SQL Server technology and makes it available on local physical machines, private cloud environments, private cloud environments hosted by third parties and public cloud. This allows you to meet unique and diverse business needs through a combination of on-premises and cloud-hosted deployments, while using the same set of server products, development tools, and expertise in these environments.

The diagram below illustrates the 4 scenarios for migrating your SQL 2005 workloads:

  • SQL Server on non-virtualized physical
  • SQL Server in on-premises VMs (private cloud)
  • SQL Server in Azure VM (public cloud)
  • Azure SQL Database (public cloud)


SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine (VM) belongs to the Industrial category Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and allows you to run SQL Server inside a virtual machine in the cloud. Similar to Azure SQL Database, it is built on standardized hardware owned, hosted and managed by Microsoft. When using SQL Server in a virtual machine, you can either bring your own SQL Server license to Azure (with Software Assurance) or use one of the SQL Server images preconfigured in the Azure portal.


Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a relational database-as-a-service, which falls into the industry category Platform as a Service (PaaS). Azure SQL Database is built on standardized hardware and software that is owned, hosted, and maintained by Microsoft. With SQL Database, you can develop directly on the service using built-in features and functionality. When using SQL Database, you pay-as-you-go with options to scale up or out for greater power.In general, these two SQL options are optimized for different purposes:

  • Azure SQL Database is optimized to minimize overall costs for provisioning and managing many databases. It minimizes ongoing administration costs because you don’t have to manage virtual machines, operating systems, or database software, including upgrades, high availability, and backups. In general, SQL Database can significantly increase the number of databases managed by a single IT or development resource.
  • SQL Server running in Azure VM is optimized to extend existing local SQL Server applications to Azure in a hybrid scenario or to deploy an existing application to Azure in a migration or development / test scenario. An example of a hybrid scenario is to keep secondary database replicas in Azure through Azure Virtual Network. With SQL Server in Azure virtual machines, you have full administrative rights to a dedicated SQL Server instance and a cloud-based virtual machine. It’s a perfect choice when the IT department has the resources to maintain virtual machines. With SQL Server in VM, you can create a highly customized system to meet the specific performance and availability requirements of your application.


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