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Learn to Deploy SQL Server Using IaaS and PaaS


Microsoft SQL Server is a robust and powerful solution that has been used over the years to manage heavy data loads. Microsoft Azure has made this possible by bringing SQL-based solutions to customers using SQL servers on a Virtual Machine via its infrastructure as a service option. You can also run the Azure SQL Database via Database as a service option.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a relational database-as-a-service that falls into the category of Platform as a Service (PaaS). Contrary to that, SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machine falls into the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) category. It allows you to run the SQL Server on a virtual machine inside the cloud.

Both PaaS and IaaS are standardized databases owned, hosted, and managed by Microsoft. You can learn in-depth about their configuration and deployment by taking Microsoft’s DP-300 training course. This article aims to talk about how to deploy both the options of Microsoft SQL on Azure.

Characteristics of PaaS and IaaS

Azure SQL Database that falls into the category of PaaS is optimized to reduce the overall managing and provisioning costs. This minimum administrative cost is because there is no need to manage any operating system, virtual machine, or database software.

The SQL Server running on Azure VM or IaaS is optimized to extend the existing on-premise SQL Server applications to Azure in a hybrid scenario. Similarly, they are optimized to deploy an existing application to Azure in a migration/development/test scenario.

In addition, you can have the complete administrative rights of a dedicated SQL Server instance and a cloud-based VM. In this infrastructure, you can create a customized system that can handle the application’s specific performance requirements.

Differences in Deployment of SQL Server in IaaS and PaaS Infrastructure

Azure SQL Database (PaaS) SQL Server in Azure VM (IaaS)
Used for new cloud-designed applications with time constraints. Used for existing applications that need quick migration to the cloud with minimal changes.
Mainly for applications that need in-built automatic high-availability, upgrade mechanism, and disaster recovery. Mainly for applications that need access to on-premise resources from Azure.
Best when you have thousands of databases but wish to manage the basic operating system, hardware, and configuration. Best when you need rapid development or test scenarios and a customized IT environment.
Suitable for applications using scale-out patterns. Suitable for disaster recovery of on-premise SQL server.
Ideal for creating Software-as-a-Service applications. Ideal for bigger databases more than 1TB in size.
Can be used when you do not have resources to deploy for support and maintenance of the infrastructure. Can be used when you have resources for IT Support and Maintenance.
Using this, your application can access data from Azure SQL Database. Using this, your applications can run partly on the cloud and partly on-premises.


Additional Factors to Consider

Some other factors that will determine whether to choose IaaS or PaaS solutions are:

  • The size of the dataset.
  • The level of control and customization needed, and the elements required like distributed transactions, partitioning, Windows-based authentication, and so on.
  • The level of management and monitoring needed. 


The information mentioned above is a quick overview. To learn more about the operational aspects and deployment of the Microsoft SQL Server database in both frameworks, enroll in the DP-300 Training program from Microsoft. This course is mainly for database administrators who manage both cloud and on-premise relational databases.

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