We’re all looking for ways to save time on data chores, right? There are many cool features within Azure that can help us to do that. There’s a couple added features you get by running SQL Server on a VM within Azure that I’d like to tell you about.
When we set up Azure SQL VMs, one of the properties you can take advantage of is installing the Azure IaaS SQL Server Agent Extension. This process runs on the Azure VM and gives you some capabilities to manage your SQL instance within the Azure blade.
One great feature is Azure SQL backups. If you install this extension on your VMs in Azure, you can set up and configure backups for all the databases that appear within the default instance of SQL on that VM within the Azure portal blade. With this, you set up a few configurations of options such as how long you want the backups to be kept, what Azure blob storage account you want to store them to and make sure you have full recovery on all the databases on that instance, then Azure SQL backups will automatically back up your databases for you.
This is like what you get for backups with Azure SQL DB, but you’re doing this on your VMs, so you set up more control of the machine itself, but you get automated backups.
The other feature you get is SQL Automated Patching. With this feature, Microsoft provides automated patching of the SQL instance on your VMs within Azure. As a DBA, you know this is one of those data chores you need to do to make sure you patch everything; and we typically have a monthly patching schedule on the weekends.
With this extension added to our SQL Server, we can set it up that automated patching is allowed at a set time, for example, Sundays between 8 and 10. So, if you have a server that doesn’t have 24/7 high availability, you can have it automatically patched. For those smaller, non-business critical boxes that are 9 to 5 type applications, you can set up automated patching and Microsoft will patch the servers for you, making sure you have the latest and greatest SQL Server versions and security patches put on there for you.
These features save time by being built in to the Azure SQL VM portal, take only a few steps to configure, and you now have a lot of automation happening for you. You can decide from there how to use that saved time to do more important things with your data.
If you’d like to learn more about other tools, functions and features that are available within Azure for your data platform or about how to set up the tools discussed here, click the link below—we’d be happy to discuss any of this with you. We’re here to help.