What's new with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines?

Applies to: SQL Server on Azure VM

When you deploy an Azure virtual machine (VM) with SQL Server installed on it, either manually, or through a built-in image, you can use Azure features to improve your experience. This article summarizes the documentation changes associated with new features and improvements in the recent releases of SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs). To learn more about SQL Server on Azure VMs, see the overview.

January 2023

Changes Details
Extend your multi-subnet AG to multiple regions Extend an existing multi-subnet availability group, either on Azure virtual machines, or on-premises, to another region in Azure. To learn more, review Multi-subnet availability group in multiple regions.

2022

Changes Details
Troubleshoot SQL IaaS agent extension We've added an article to help you troubleshoot and address some known issues with the SQL Server IaaS agent extension. To learn more, read Troubleshoot known issues.
Configure AG from Azure portal There is a new experience to deploy an Always On availability group to multiple subnets by using the Azure portal. The new availability group deployment method replaces the previous deployment through the SQL virtual machines resource. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, review Configure availability group through the Azure portal.
Azure AD authentication It's now possible to configure Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication to your SQL Server 2022 on Azure VM by using the Azure portal. This feature is currently in preview. To get started, review Azure AD with SQL Server VMs.
Least privilege permission model for SQL IaaS Agent extension There is a new permissions model available for the SQL Server IaaS Agent extension that grants the least privileged permission for each feature used by the extension. To learn more, review SQL IaaS agent extension permissions.
Confidential VMs SQL Server on Azure VMs has added support to deploy to SQL Server on Azure confidential VMs. To get started, review the Quickstart: Deploy SQL Server to an Azure confidential VM.
Azure CLI for SQL best practices assessment It's now possible to configure the SQL best practices assessment feature using the Azure CLI.
Configure tempdb from Azure portal It's now possible to configure your tempdb settings, such as the number of files, initial size, and autogrowth ratio for an existing SQL Server instance by using the Azure portal. See manage SQL Server VM from portal to learn more.
SDK-style SQL projects Use Microsoft.Build.Sql for SDK-style SQL projects in the SQL Database Projects extension in Azure Data Studio or VS Code. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, see SDK-style SQL projects.
Ebdsv5-series The new Ebdsv5-series provides the highest I/O throughput-to-vCore ratio in Azure along with a memory-to-vCore ratio of 8. This series offers the best price-performance for SQL Server workloads on Azure VMs. Consider this series first for most SQL Server workloads. To learn more, see the updates in VM sizes.
Security best practices The SQL Server VM security best practices have been rewritten and refreshed!
Migrate with distributed AG It's now possible to migrate your database(s) from a standalone instance of SQL Server or an entire availability group over to SQL Server on Azure VMs using a distributed availability group! See the prerequisites to get started.

2021

Changes Details
Deployment configuration improvements It's now possible to configure the following options when deploying your SQL Server VM from an Azure Marketplace image: System database location, number of tempdb data files, collation, max degree of parallelism, min and max server memory settings, and optimize for ad hoc workloads. Review Deploy SQL Server VM to learn more.
Automated backup improvements The possible maximum automated backup retention period has changed from 30 days to 90, and you're now able to choose a specific container within the storage account. Review automated backup to learn more.
Tempdb configuration You can now modify tempdb settings directly from the SQL virtual machines blade in the Azure portal, such as increasing the size, and adding data files.
Eliminate need for HADR Azure Load Balancer or DNN Deploy your SQL Server VMs to multiple subnets to eliminate the dependency on the Azure Load Balancer or distributed network name (DNN) to route traffic to your high availability / disaster recovery (HADR) solution! See the multi-subnet availability group tutorial, or prepare SQL Server VM for FCI article to learn more.
SQL Assessment It's now possible to assess the health of your SQL Server VM in the Azure portal using SQL Assessment to surface recommendations that improve performance, and identify missing best practices configurations. This feature is currently in preview.
SQL IaaS extension now supports Ubuntu Support has been added to register your SQL Server VM running on Ubuntu Linux with the SQL Server IaaS Extension for limited functionality.
SQL IaaS extension full mode no longer requires restart Restarting the SQL Server service is no longer necessary when registering your SQL Server VM with the SQL IaaS Agent extension in full mode!
Repair SQL Server IaaS extension in portal It's now possible to verify the status of your SQL Server IaaS Agent extension directly from the Azure portal, and repair it, if necessary.
Security enhancements in the Azure portal Once you've enabled Microsoft Defender for SQL, you can view Security Center recommendations in the SQL virtual machines resource in the Azure portal.
HADR content refresh We've refreshed and enhanced our high availability and disaster recovery (HADR) content! There's now an Overview of the Windows Server Failover Cluster, as well as a consolidated how-to configure quorum for SQL Server VMs. Additionally, we've enhanced the cluster best practices with more comprehensive setting recommendations adopted to the cloud.
Migrate high availability to VM Azure Migrate brings support to lift and shift your entire high availability solution to SQL Server on Azure VMs! Bring your availability group or your failover cluster instance to SQL Server VMs using Azure Migrate today!
Performance best practices refresh We've rewritten, refreshed, and updated the performance best practices documentation, splitting one article into a series that contains: a checklist, VM size guidance, Storage guidance, and collecting baseline instructions.

2020

Changes Details
Azure Government support It's now possible to register SQL Server virtual machines with the SQL IaaS Agent extension for virtual machines hosted in the Azure Government cloud.
Azure SQL family SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines is now a part of the Azure SQL family of products. Check out our new look! Nothing has changed in the product, but the documentation aims to make the Azure SQL product decision easier.
Distributed network name (DNN) SQL Server 2019 on Windows Server 2016+ is now previewing support for routing traffic to your failover cluster instance (FCI) by using a distributed network name rather than using Azure Load Balancer. This support simplifies and streamlines connecting to your high-availability (HA) solution in Azure.
FCI with Azure shared disks It's now possible to deploy your failover cluster instance (FCI) by using Azure shared disks.
Reorganized FCI docs The documentation around failover cluster instances with SQL Server on Azure VMs has been rewritten and reorganized for clarity. We've separated some of the configuration content, like the cluster configuration best practices, how to prepare a virtual machine for a SQL Server FCI, and how to configure Azure Load Balancer.
Migrate log to ultra disk Learn how you can migrate your log file to an ultra disk to leverage high performance and low latency.
Create availability group using Azure PowerShell It's now possible to simplify the creation of an availability group by using Azure PowerShell as well as the Azure CLI.
Configure availability group in portal It's now possible to configure your availability group via the Azure portal. This feature is currently in preview and being deployed so if your desired region is unavailable, check back soon.
Automatic extension registration You can now enable the Automatic registration feature to automatically register all SQL Server VMs already deployed to your subscription with the SQL IaaS Agent extension. This applies to all existing VMs, and will also automatically register all SQL Server VMs added in the future.
DNN for availability group You can now configure a distributed network name (DNN) listener) for SQL Server 2019 CU8 and later to replace the traditional VNN listener, negating the need for an Azure Load Balancer.

Additional resources

Windows VMs:

Linux VMs: