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DBA’s Have No Control Over Azure SQL Database


[This is part Two of a series on Top 10 Things You Will Hate About Azure SQL Database]


As DBA’s we like to have complete control over the data entrusted to us for our protection. We roll our eyes when we find the log files on the same volume as the data files and cringe when they are on the same volume as the operating system. We have tools that let us know how much memory we should allocate for SQL Server (all of it) and arguments with the SAN administrator to figure out where the I/O bottleneck is (on their end). DBAs like knowing that when it comes to the database the buck stops with them and while the 24/7 responsibility causes early hair loss and occasional ranting, we own it. We have control over how things work so we know we can fix it. When we start looking/are forced to look at cloud based solutions we start to lose that control.


I like this graph because it shows Level of Control as the x-axis instead of flipping it around as the level of responsibility, which would put on premises SQL Server at the far right. It is from a MSDN blog post co-written by Madhan Arumugam and Guy Bowerman (blog|twitter) that compares SQL Database vs SQL Server on Azure VMs.

I think the y-axis should just be labeled “% Cloudy.” You can see that the further you move into the cloud the lower your Control is. SQL Database isn’t even the least amount of control. With Software-as-a-Service you don’t have any visibility to the database at all. Of course this all sort of goes back to my first point that Azure SQL Database is not meant for DBAs and giving up this level of control is what makes it easy to quickly create new databases and not worry about where the files should go. Thomas LaRock (blog|twitter) has a great post outlining how much simpler the command is to create a database in SQL database than in SQL Server. It is an older post, but still true if you ignore the part about just having two editions.

As the graph shows developers and DBAs have low control over things in Azure SQL Database but it is a bit of an exaggeration to say we have no control. Security will still need to be configured and with the new Basic, Standard and Premium editions we will get to choose the number of Database Throughput Units that we want to assign to a database. Learning what that means and how they should be allocated will translate to real money so I expect that this will be something we will need to learn how to control very soon.




From → SQL Server

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