Which is the Right Cloud for Your SQL Server Instances?

The advantages of migrating some or all of your computing environment from on-premises data centers to the cloud are well documented. There are potential financial benefits for organizations that decide to make the move. Engaging a cloud provider affords access to essentially unlimited computing and storage resources that can easily be scaled up and down to address evolving business requirements. Currently, over 90% of enterprises use a cloud service and they are spending upwards of $200 billion a year with public cloud providers.

Most cloud vendors provide the means to house SQL Server instances using their services. In some cases, it may simply be a matter of using a provider’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offering and installing and administering your systems in a very similar way as to when they were hosted in-house. Another option that can be considered is to go with a database as a service (DBaaS) solution that takes advantage of the cloud provider’s native SQL Server infrastructure and capabilities.

Factors that Influence the Choice of Cloud Provider

The choice in how your organization chooses to migrate its SQL Servers should coincide with the overall goals of the cloud initiative. Some important considerations need to be understood before making a decision that will have a great impact on the satisfaction with the resulting move. Here are some issues that need to be addressed and compared with the products and services offered by the cloud providers that are in the running for your business.

  • Security is of the utmost importance in any computing environment. The cloud introduces additional security threats by exposing your systems and their data to the provider’s technical staff, its networks, and its storage resources. Ensuring that your systems are secure should be one of the first issues that are resolved when choosing a cloud vendor.

  • Compliance standards that affect your business need to be readily addressed by the cloud provider you select. Cloud compliance can be a complex subject and you need to fully understand the shared responsibilities when called upon to provide evidence to regulatory agencies and auditors.

  • The degree to which you want to manage your SQL Servers and their infrastructure is another factor that needs to be considered when choosing your provider. Some vendors may offer a solution that mitigates your responsibilities in this area. Whether this is the direction you want to go depends to some extent on the reasons for moving to the cloud. If you lack in-house technical resources, you may want to let the provider manage as many aspects of your systems as they can.

Other factors include the cost of the service, the support and service levels you will receive, and how the provider’s architecture complements your computing environment.

A Few Attractive Destinations for SQL Servers in the Cloud

Here are a few clouds where you can find a comfortable home for your SQL Servers. It is recommended that you conduct a deep investigation of their offering, taking into account the factors outlined above.

Microsoft Azure is a provider that immediately comes to mind with its native Microsoft SQL Server capabilities. There are several different options available that allow you to decide on your level of involvement with managing the databases and the extended features of Azure that you want to incorporate into your systems.

Google Cloud is another major vendor which has solutions designed specifically to address SQL Server implementations. It offers organizations the benefits of running on cutting-edge infrastructure while taking advantage of the large portfolio of services that are available with the provider.

Rounding out the big three of public cloud providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) can provide a pleasant new address for your SQL Server instances. They also have various implementation options to meet the specific needs of your company when moving to the cloud.

These are just the major players in the SQL Server cloud market. Many smaller cloud providers can also handle the demands of running SQL Server instances, though they may not offer the range of options and features of the larger vendors. It is advisable to read all of the small print before making your decision.

Keeping Track of What You Have Wherever It’s Located

It can be a struggle for a database team to stay on top of maintaining and updating their SQL Servers. This battle is often complicated when involved in the migration of SQL Server instances to the cloud. It can be a challenge to locate a particular server which may be virtualized and housed in-house or with a cloud provider. IDERA’s SQL Inventory Manager gives you visibility into your entire SQL Server environment no matter where it is located.

Using the tool lets your database team discover new servers automatically to help combat server sprawl. Custom tags and fields help you organize servers and databases. A web-based agentless user interface allows users to collect and manage the server environment from any Internet-capable location. It also enables you to perform health checks that keep you on top of performance and capacity issues.

Wherever you choose as your SQL Servers’ new home, SQL Inventory Manager is a valuable tool for managing and keeping track of your environment. It will help your DBAs keep their feet firmly planted on solid ground while watching the clouds for SQL Server activity.

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