Migrate from on-prem SQL server to Azure VM IaaS

Hopefully you went through my presentations Should I move my database to the cloud?Introducing Azure SQL Database and Implement SQL Server on an Azure VM and are convinced to move your databases to the cloud.  If you are going to migrate to Azure SQL Database and want more info on how to copy your SQL Server databases from on-prem to Azure SQL database (PaaS), check out Migrate from on-prem SQL server to Azure SQL Database.  If you want to copy data from on-prem to SQL Server in an Azure VM (IaaS), check out the number of migration methods below:

  • Use the Deploy a SQL Server Database to a Microsoft Azure VM wizard. Recommended method for migrating an on-premises user database when the compressed database backup file is less than 1 TB.  Fastest and simplest method, use whenever possible to migrate to a new or existing SQL Server instance in an Azure virtual machine.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2014 or greater.  But note this method is for only the classic deployment model
  • Perform on-premises backup using compression and manually copy the backup file into the Azure virtual machine and then do a restore (only if you cannot use the above wizard or the database backup size is larger than 1 TB).  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater
  • Perform a backup to URL and restore into the Azure virtual machine from the URL.  Use on SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 or greater to SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 or greater
  • Detach and then copy the data and log files to Azure blob storage and then attach to SQL Server in Azure VM from URL.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2014 or greater
  • Convert on-premises physical machine to Hyper-V VHD, upload to Azure Blob storage, and then deploy as new VM using uploaded VHD.  Use when bringing your own SQL Server license, when migrating a database that you will run on an older version of SQL Server, or when migrating system and user databases together as part of the migration of database dependent on other user databases and/or system databases.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater
  • Ship hard drive using Windows Import/Export Service.  Use when manual copy method is too slow, such as with very large databases.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater
  • If you have an AlwaysOn deployment on-premises and want to minimize downtime, use the Add Azure Replica Wizard to create a replica in Azure and then failover, pointing users to the Azure database instance.  Use on SQL Server 2012 or greater to SQL Server 2012 or greater
  • If you do not have an AlwaysOn deployment on-premises and want to minimize downtime, use SQL Server transactional replication to configure the Azure SQL Server instance as a subscriber and then disable replication, pointing users to the Azure database instance.  Use on SQL Server 2005 or greater to SQL Server 2005 or greater
  • Others: Data-tier Application, T-SQL scripts, SQL Server Import and Export Wizard, SSIS, Copy Database Wizard

More info:

Migrate a SQL Server database to SQL Server in an Azure VM

SQL Server 2014 Hybrid Cloud Scenarios: Migrating On-Premises SQL Server to Windows Azure Virtual Machines

How To Move or Migrate SQL Server Workload to Azure SQL Database Cloud Services or Azure VM – All version of SQL Server – Step-By-Step

Free ebook: Microsoft Azure Essentials Migrating SQL Server Databases to Azure

Video training: Migrating SQL Server Databases to Azure

Move data to SQL Server on an Azure virtual machine

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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