Updates About SQL Server 2016 on Linux

It is an exciting news which already every one knew is Microsoft is bringing SQL Server on Linux—another towards making SQL Server industry-leading data management and business analytics platform, for any data, to run any application, anywhere. SQL Server support for linux will be built on SQL Server 2016, so SQL Server on Linux gives the users the power to build and deploy intelligent applications on a single data management and business analytics platform. The advantage of SQL Server’s low total cost of ownership, supporting existing tools and skills and new innovations battle-tested in the cloud, will make the SQL Server more interesting. Microsoft trying to make it easier for us to work with data of any type, size, and speed using the tools, languages, and frameworks we want to use in a trusted cloud, hybrid, or on-premises environment. It’s another step to make SQL Server simpler and more accessible. If you want to have a quick look on how SQL Server works on linux, then see the video. However, still there are many outstanding questions from community regarding which SQL Server features will not be supported when released, which features that are planned to be supported , licensing information, performance difference of running on Server 2016 on windows vs Linux, remote management support with PowerShell, availability of pre-built test VMs to download, Azure (in)compatibility, which flavors of UNIX/Linux will be supported, and comparison/contrast with the other popular database products normally used on Linux. Also, it would be interesting to know how the High Availability, Replication, Always On features work with SQL Server on linux.

Recent updates from Microsoft community via blog posts suggest that SQL Server on linux is already developer and is under testing and now also the Microsoft product support team is getting involved with the product and looks like few support team members got access to the setup media and were able to successfully installed SQL Server on linux without any issues and after using it a bit and reading about linux they feel that SQL Server on Linux is an attainable goal. As of now, the testing is going smooth without much issues, which actually is not good because without hitting any issues during initial internal testing, the product will not improve much. If many issues are identified by users or customers, that will bring a bad impression about the product, which in every case Microsoft wants to avoid. Microsoft support team is invaluable in helping improving the product because they have enormous experience is troubleshooting many issues over a period of time and they can try test simulating different ongoing issues which are encountered on Windows to linux and see the behavior and in the process of troubleshooting the problems, they will need to use different tools and the testing will bring support for those tools as well.

So far from the preview videos and blog posts we can see that we can use SQL Server on linux through SQLCMD command that we install on linux environment, so we are to reply on commands and no GUI support yet, which many SQL Server DBAs may not like, as we are very much used to GUI. However, after the release, with growing requests from DBAs and community, we may get a GUI tool as well. Just like any other product, it is expected to have many issues initially, but thing will improve with time. When SQL Server was initially developer, it was not great and was not even in competition with Oracle, MySQL, DB2, etc, but in 15 years, SQL Server was able to beat the competition with DB2, MySQL, Sybase and few other RDBMS products and giving a tough competition to Oracle as well. Also, with new cloud competition heating up, support for SQL Server in linux has become inevitable for Microsoft to be in completion with other RDBMS products.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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New Changes to SQL Server 2016 Installation

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With every new release of SQL Server, there are many changes that comes like new features, enhancement to existing features, etc. Important thing which DBAs look is SQL Server installation, as we need to first get the downloadable and then install the software to be able to explore the new features or play with the product and some enthusiastic users even want to find bugs and report to the product team. Over a period of time, since SQL Server 2000, there have been many changes to the way the installation of SQL Server in standalone or cluster environment. The installation wizard changes were also inspired by the newer versions of operating systems, like Windows Server 2008 lead to different experience of the installation wizards. In SQL Server 2005, install shield was used, and starting SQL Server 2008 R2, installation center has been introduced with various different options and there were major changes when it came to cluster SQL installation. In SQL Server 2005, cluster install was started from one node and automatically it used to install on both nodes using task scheduler, but there were lot of problems with that, so in SQL Server 2008, the cluster installation was changed significantly, where we install on one node and remaining nodes we perform Add node operation, this made life easier with cluster installs.

Now coming back to changes in installation wizard or steps with SQL Server 2016 are mentioned below.
– In previous versions of SQL Server, in the feature selection page, there were many options which include Database Engine services and under that there were sub options for replication, full-text, Data-quality services. Starting with SQL Server 2016, we now have a new option under database engine services, which is PolyBase Query Service for External Data. If you are wondering what is this new feature, it enables using integrated querying across Hadoop data and SQL Server data using standard T-SQL statements. When we select this feature to be installed along with database engine, there will be additional checks performed by the installer which include checking for Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, and if Oracle Java SE RunTime Environment (JRE) version 7.51 or higher is present or not. If this are not present, then the installation will fail. Also, after the successful install you will find three new databases DWConfiguration, DWDiagnostics, and DWQueue created by default if we choose to install PolyBase Query Service for External Data.

Another change that comes with SQL Server 2016 installation is, we can now select number of tempdb files when want to create along with the SQL Server installation. Previously this option was not present and DBAs had to manually create additional data files for tempdb. Also, there is a recommendation on number of tempdb files to be created based on number of cores on the server. Primarily, there are the tow main changes, other than this there are changes to licensing agreement and feedback to be sent to Microsoft, which is now an option which we cannot opt out off.

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This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server 2016

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Limitations of using Stretch Database in SQL Server 2016

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New feature which was introduced with SQL Server 2016 is Stretch Database which migrates our historical data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Stretch Database provides some benefits to the users, but also has its own limitations which make it less likely to be used as of now, unless Microsoft comes up with significant improvements. Some of the benefits to decide on using SQL Server 2016 Stretch Database feature are, Provides cost-effective availability for cold data(historical data which is not accessed much, but still available to support user queries from Azure SQL database). Using this feature does not require any changes to the applications, this feature takes care of it internally and transparently. Moving cold or not frequently used data to Azure SQL database will reduce the maintenance efforts on the production data like less times required for backups, indexing statistics updates, etc.

Although this is great feature and very helpful for many organizations, but at this time of SQL Server 2016 RTM release, there are lot of restrictions which make it less likely to be used in many environments, because stretch database cannot be used with many widely used features. Some of the limitations are mentioned below.
– One of the difficult restriction which stops the usage of stretch database is that uniqueness is not enforced for UNIQUE constraints and PRIMARY KEY constraints in the Azure table that contains the migrated data.
– We can’t UPDATE or DELETE rows that have been migrated to Azure SQL database cloud, or on the rows that meet eligible criteria for migration, in a Stretch-enabled table or in a view that includes Stretch-enabled tables.
– We are not allowed to INSERT rows into a Stretch-enabled table over a linked server.
– We cannot create an index for a view that includes Stretch-enabled tables.
– Filters on SQL Server indexes are not propagated to the remote table.
– Some of the Table properties limitations for stretch database include, Tables that have more than 1,023 columns or more than 998 indexes, FileTabless or tables that contain FILESTREAMM data, Tables that are replicated, or that are actively using Change Tracking or Change Data Capture, Memory-optimized tables, etc.

– Data types that are not support in a table to be part of stretch database include, text, ntextt and image
timestampp, sql_variantt, XML, CLR data types including geometry, geographyy, hierarchyidd, and CLR user-defined types
– Column types that are not supported with stretch database include COLUMN_SETt, Computed columns, Constraints,
Default constraints and check constraints, Foreign key constraints that reference the table. In a parent-child relationship (for example, Order and Order_Detail), you can enable Stretch for the child table (Order_Detail) but not for the parent table (Order).
– Indexes which are not supported on stretch database include
Full text indexes, XML indexes, Spatial indexes, Indexed views that reference the table

Local database. The on-premises SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC3) database.
Remote endpoint. The location in Microsoft Azure that contains the database’s remote data.
Local data. Data in a database with Stretch Database enabled that will not be moved to Azure based on the Stretch Database configuration of the tables in the database.
Eligible data. Data in a database with Stretch Database enabled that has not yet been moved, but will be moved to Azure based on the Stretch Database configuration of the tables in the database.
Remote data. Data in a database with Stretch Database enabled that has already been moved to Azure.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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How to Decide If Stretch Database Can Be Used in Your Environment

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Stretch Database is an interesting and popular new feature introduced with new SQL Server 2016. Stretch database helps in migrating our historical or less frequently used or archived or cold data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Stretch Database provides many benefits to the organizations like reducing the storage costs, automatically archiving the old data to Azure, etc. However, stretch database also has its own limitations which make it less likely to be used as of now with SQL Server 2016 RTM release. Hopefully Microsoft comes up with significant improvements soon in service packs or with another release in another couple of years, like it has been releasing since year 2008. Some of the benefits to decide on using SQL Server 2016 Stretch Database feature are, Provides cost-effective availability for cold data(historical data which is not accessed much, but still available to support user queries from Azure SQL database). Using this feature does not require any changes to the applications, this feature takes care of it internally and transparently. Moving cold or not frequently used data to Azure SQL database will reduce the maintenance efforts on the production data like less times required for backups, indexing statistics updates, etc.

Stretch Database in a SQL Server instance requires at least one table. Once we enable it at instance level, database level and table level, it then silently begins to migrate the historical data to Azure SQL Database on Microsoft cloud. If we are storing historical data in a separate table on-premise database, then we can migrate the entire table to Azure cloud. If our table contains both historical and current data, then we can specify a filter predicate to select the rows which need to be moved to Azure SQL database. Also, importantly, Stretch Database ensures that no data is lost if a failure occurs during migration. There is also retry logic to handle intermittent connection issues that may occur during migration. However, most important question from many organizations management and DBAs or developers is how to decide if stretch database suits their environment or requirement. Below are some points to help decide if Stretch Database can help in meeting your requirements and solve the existing problems.

– Are you looking to store historical data, and do not want to get rid of very old data, as it may be still required to be accessed rarely, then stretch database will be of great help in reducing the storage and maintenance costs of the old data and still allows you to access the old data from the azure cloud.
– Are you looking for archival solution to archive old data from the frequently accessed production data, then stretch database feature is a very good solution to your problem, as you can archive old data on to Azure SQL database cloud, and best thing is you do not need to change anything in your application, as the data storage and access is taken care purely by SQL Server itself.
– If you are looking to reduce storage, compute and memory costs, then this is ideal solution.
– If you see that some tables are very large and causing issues with maintenance like backups, reindexing, stats update, etc, then archiving is best solution and stretch database will be very good solution.
– If your backup/restore are taking too long and missing SLAs, then moving old data to Azure cloud using stretch database will move old data, thus reduces the size of on=premise tables and thus reduces size of on-premise database and now the backup/restore times will be less and should meet the SLA requirements.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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SQLServerF1 Team
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How Does Stretch Database Works in SQL Server 2016

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New feature which was introduced with SQL Server 2016 is Stretch Database which migrates our historical data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Stretch Database provides many benefits to the users, but also has its own limitations which make it less likely to be used as of now, unless Microsoft comes up with significant improvements. Some of the benefits to decide on using SQL Server 2016 Stretch Database feature are, Provides cost-effective availability for cold data(historical data which is not accessed much, but still available to support user queries from Azure SQL database). Using this feature does not require any changes to the applications, this feature takes care of it internally and transparently. Moving cold or not frequently used data to Azure SQL database will reduce the maintenance efforts on the production data like less times required for backups, indexing statistics updates, etc. Stretch Database in a SQL Server instance requires at least one table. It then silently begins to migrate the historical data to Azure SQL Database. If we are storing historical data in a separate table, then we can migrate the entire table. If our table contains both historical and current data, then we can specify a filter predicate to select the rows which need to be moved to Azure SQL database. Also, importantly, Stretch Database ensures that no data is lost if a failure occurs during migration. There is also retry logic to handle intermittent connection issues that may occur during migration.

Before deciding to this new feature in production environment, it is important to understand how does Stretch Database works and its behavior. First, to enable stretch database, we need to enable the instance level configuration option “remote data archive”, after which we will be able to Enable a Stretch Database for a database or table. Once we enable stretch database for atleast one database and one table, it will internally start to migrate our historical data to Azure SQL database. If the historical data is stored in a separate archive table already, then we can migrate the entire table, if table contains both historical and current data then we need to specify a filter predicate to select the rows which are to be migrated to the Azure SQL database. Some of the cool features with the Stretch Database is that it ensures that no data is lost in case a failure occurs during the data migration to Azure SQL database. It also has retry logic to handle connection issues that may occur during migration. A dynamic management view also provides us with the status of migration.

Also there us option to pause data migration to troubleshoot problems on the local server or to maximize the available network bandwidth or to migrate data only during non-business hours or during low activity period. Another cool thing about using stretch database is that we don’t have to change existing queries or client applications. We can continue to have seamless access to both local and remote data, even during data migration. There is a small amount of latency for remote queries, but you only encounter this latency when you query the historical data.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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Benefits at Glance of Using New SQL Server 2016

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Microsoft has released most awaited RTM version of SQL Server 2016 on June 1 2016. There was lot of buzz around with the release of new SQL Server 2016 and has been already downloaded by many community DBAs and developers to start testing or learning using the new features. Just like any other SQL Server version, even in new SQL Server 2016, there has been lot of new features introduced in areas like security, performance, scalability, stability, etc. Also there is support for SQL Server on linux in pipeline, which makes it much more interesting and to enter new companies which did not use windows operating system. As a DBA or developer it is very important to gets handon new features and suggest to the management how it will benefit the clients or customers or their own business with the new features. Always, test in a test environment thoroughly before deciding to move to production. Also, as like any new version, it is expected to have lot of bugs too, so it is up to you to decide whether to wait till a service pack is released or just go ahead and install it right away now. My preference is to start testing on test environment and see how application reacts to it, and if the new features are beneficial and performance has improved with the applicaion, then I prefer to go ahead with the new SQL Server 2016 on production environment.

Following are some of the important benefits of new SQL Server 2016 which we might want to keep on top of our head.
– Microosft claims Enhanced in-memory performance which provides up to 30x faster transactions, and more than 100x faster queries than disk based relational databases and real-time operational analytics.
– New security feature Always Encrypted which helps in protecting our data at rest and in motion, on-premises and in the cloud, with master keys sitting with the application, without requiring any changes to the application.
– Built-in advanced analytics– provide the scalability and performance benefits of building and running advanced analytics algorithms directly in the core SQL Server transactional database.
– Business insights through rich visualizations on mobile devices with native apps for Windows, iOS and Android
Simplify management of relational and non-relational data with ability to query both through standard T-SQL using PolyBase technology

– New features like Stretch Database technology keeps more of our historical/cold data at our fingertips by transparently stretching your warm and cold OLTP data to Microsoft Azure in a secure manner without application changes.
– Faster hybrid backups, high availability and disaster recovery scenarios to backup and restore our on-premises databases to Microsoft Azure and place your SQL Server AlwaysOn secondaries in Azure.
– Closer integration with Azure SQL Database which helps more customers comfortable to migrated to cloud with the new security features.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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Pre-install Information for SQL Server 2016

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Microsoft has officially released new SQL Server 2016 on June 01 2016 for public to download and install it on their development, test or production servers. It is important to test the applications thoroughly before moving to production environment, as there may be some changes required to the application to work seamlessly. If the application is vendor application, then contact the respective vendor and get approval to use new SQL Server 2016, most times, vendors releases new version of the application which works fine on new versions of SQL Server. Although, installing and using SQL Server 2016 is straight forward, but important to take care of things prior to install to ensure no hiccups later for the installation process. SQL Server 2016 has a critical pre-requisite for updated Visual Studio VC++ 2013 Runtime Libraries. To install or check if this update is required on your system, refer KB316398 for further information.

Review SQL Server 2016 system requirements – Memory Minimum requirement for Express Editions is 512 MB, All other editions: 1 GB, however recommended for Express Editions is 1 GB and for All other editions is at least 4 GB and should be increased as database size increases to ensure optimal performance. Processor speed required minimum is x64 Processor: 1.4 GHz, however recommended is 2.0 GHz or faster. Type of x64 Processor is AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon 64, Intel Xeon with Intel EM64T support, Intel Pentium IV with EM64T support. Important point to note is SQL Server 2016 is supported on x64 processors only. It is no longer supported on x86 processors. WOW64 is not supported for SQL Server 2016. Review SQL Server release notes – check the release notes of SQL Server before installation to get all the details.
Download and install full-featured software for a 180-day trial edition or buy a licenseed edition for production environments and developer edition for development purposes. We may also choose to use express edition based on our requirement, if we are not using all features.

Make sure the account which used to RDP to the server has administrative rights on the computer to install SQL Server 2016. We will have SQL Server 2016 DVD Image or ISO file for the installation.
The Microsoft SQL Server 2016 release is available for testing purposes only and should NOT be installed and used in production environments.
Side-by-Side installation with down-level production SQL Server instances as well as in-place upgrades of down-level production SQL Server instances, is supported for SQL Server 2008 and higher.
If you have questions or concerns that come up during your testing and evaluation, we encourage you to use the MSDN forum for SQL Server 2016 to search for answers or ask new questions.

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This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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SQLServerF1 Team
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New Details regarding SQL Server on Linux and SQL Server 2016 Released on June 1st

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Microsoft has officially released SQL Server 2016 on June 1st 2016. We can download an evaluation edition from here. This trial edition expires after 180 days, after which we will need to upgrade it to a licensed edition or download free express edition if the features used are minimal. Microsoft has introduced many new features with SQL Server 2016 in different areas. Some of the popular features include, Stretch database, Always Encrypt, Data Masking, also promises of significant improvement in the performance, much closer integration with SQL Azure, temporal tables, query store, Row level security, changes to upgrade advisor, etc. Initially Microsoft has released release candidate versions RC0, RC1, RC2 and RC3, which was downloaded and tested by many users in the DBA and Developer community and by some organizations and enough feedback was provided to improve the product. There were many bugs identified with the initial RC versions on various features, which were subsequently fixed in later RC versions.

Now SQL Server 2016 official RTM version has been launch on June 1st 2016. Once you install the new SQL Server 2016 RTM version, then you will see the build number as 13.0.1601.5. Some insights from Microsoft release documentation are “SQL Server 2016 is here! It is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft’s data platform history with faster transactions and queries, deeper insights on any device, advanced analytics, new security technology, and new hybrid cloud scenarios. SQL Server 2016 delivers breakthrough mission-critical capabilities with in-memory performance and operational analytics built-in. Comprehensive security features like new Always Encrypted technology helps protect your data at rest and in motion, and a world class high availability and disaster recovery solution adds new enhancements to AlwaysOn technology.You can also gain the benefits of hyper-scale cloud with new hybrid scenarios enabled by new Stretch Database technology that lets you dynamically stretch your warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure in a secured way so your data is always at hand for queries, no matter the size. In addition, SQL Server 2016 delivers a complete database platform for hybrid cloud, enabling you to easily build, deploy and manage solutions that span on-premises and cloud.”

Another exciting news from Microsoft team is the announcement of further details regarding SQL Server support on Linux Operating System. So far SQL Server was supported only on Windows environment, but not there is lot of work in progress to get SQL Server work on linux environment too, just like it works on a Windows environment. SQL Server version which works on linux has not yet been released with SQL Server 2016, instead it may be released as a sub version later or as a new SQL Server version, but looks mostly it will be a sub version of SQL Server 2016 R2 or as part of a service pack. If you want to get hands on with SQL Server 2017 linux version, then at this point all we can do is sign up for Microsoft SQL Server on Linux and wait for further updates. You can register here for Microsoft SQL Server on Linux preview. Also, there has been a video released with small demos on installing and running SQL Server on linux environment. You can watch the video here. Important thing to note is that only database engine is so far been created and tested, but other services like Integration services, Reporting services, Analysis Services are still going to take some time to get on to the linux environment.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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Azure Pricing for of Stretch Database in SQL Server 2016

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New feature which was introduced with SQL Server 2016 is Stretch Database which migrates our historical data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure SQL cloud. Stretch Database provides some benefits to the users, but also has its own limitations which make it less likely to be used as of now, unless Microsoft comes up with significant improvements. Stretch Database in a SQL Server instance requires at least one table. It then silently begins to migrate the historical data to Azure SQL Database. If we are storing historical data in a separate table, then we can migrate the entire table. If our table contains both historical and current data, then we can specify a filter predicate to select the rows which need to be moved to Azure SQL database. Also, importantly, Stretch Database ensures that no data is lost if a failure occurs during migration. There is also retry logic to handle intermittent connection issues that may occur during migration.

Stretch Database lets us choose retention times of our choice even for large amounts of data without breaking the bank. Depending on our performance requirements, we can choose a performance level, and then scale up or down as needed. Stretch Database charges for Compute and Storage are charged separately, so we choose to only pay for what we use. Compute usage is represented as Database Stretch Unit (DSU) and customers can scale up and down the level of performance/DSUs that we need at any time. We have options for pricing based on different locations based on the currency. If we consider USD, below are the sample pricing options for usage of computing resources,
PERFORMANCE LEVEL(DSU) PRICE
100 $1.25/hr (~$930/mo)
200 $2.50/hr (~$1,860/mo)
300 $3.75/hr (~$2,790/mo)
400 $5/hr (~$3,720/mo)
500 $6.25/hr (~$4,650/mo)
600 $7.50/hr (~$5,580/mo)
1000 $12.50/hr (~$9,300/mo)
1200 $15/hr (~$11,160/mo)
1500 $18.75/hr (~$13,950/mo)
2000 $25/hr (~$18,600/mo)

Another pricing part which we need to pay separately for is storage. Storage rates are based on standard RA-GRS Page Blob rates. Storage transactions are not billed; customers only pay for data stored, not storage transactions.
Here Data Transfers refer to data moving in and out of Azure data centers other than those explicitly covered by the Content Delivery Network or ExpressRoute pricing.
LRS GRS RA-GRS
COOL HOT COOL HOT COOL HOT
First 100 TB / Month $0.01 $0.024 $0.02 $0.048 $0.025 $0.061
Next 900 TB / Month $0.01 $0.0232 $0.02 $0.0463 $0.025 $0.0589
Next 4,000 TB / Month $0.01 $0.0223 $0.02 $0.0446 $0.025 $0.0567

LOCALLY REDUNDANT STORAGE (LRS) – Makes multiple synchronous copies of your data within a single datacenter.
ZONE REDUNDANT STORAGE (ZRS) – Stores three copies of data across multiple datacenters within or across regions. For block blobs only.
GEOGRAPHICALLY REDUNDANT STORAGE (GRS) – Same as LRS, plus multiple asynchronous copies to a second datacenter hundreds of miles away.
READ-ACCESS GEOGRAPHICALLY REDUNDANT STORAGE (RA-GRS) – Same as GRS, plus read access to the secondary datacenter

OUTBOUND DATA TRANSFERS ZONE 1* ZONE 2* ZONE 3*
First 5 GB/Month Free Free Free
5 GB – 10.0 TB $0.087 per GB $0.138 per GB $0.181 per GB
Next 40 TB
(10-50 TB)/month $0.083 per GB $0.135 per GB $0.175 per GB
Next 100 TB
(50-150 TB)/month $0.07 per GB $0.13 per GB $0.17 per GB
Next 350 TB
(150-500 TB)/month $0.05 per GB $0.12 per GB $0.16 per GB

Outbound data transfers are charged at regular data transfer rates. A sub-region is the lowest level geo-location that you may select to deploy your applications and associated data. For data transfers (except CDN), the following regions correspond to Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3.

Zone 1: US West, US East, US North Central, US South Central, US East 2, US Central, Europe West, Europe North
Zone 2: Asia Pacific East, Asia Pacific Southeast, Japan East, Japan West, Australia East, Australia Southeast
Zone 3: Brazil South.

There can be discounts to these prices based on region, number of servers, amount of compute and storage brought.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

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SQLServerF1 Team
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New Stretch Database Feature in SQL Server 2016

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Many new features gets introduced with each new version of SQL Server releases. Even with SQL Server 2016 many new features were introduced, one of which is Stretch database, which migrates our historical data transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure cloud. Stretch Database provides some benefits to the users, but also has its own limitations which make it less likely to be used as of now, unless Microsoft comes up with significant improvements. Some of the benefits to decide on using SQL Server 2016 Stretch Database feature are, Provides cost-effective availability for cold data(historical data which is not accessed much, but still available to support user queries from Azure SQL database). Using this feature does not require any changes to the applications, this feature takes care of it internally and transparently. Moving cold or not frequently used data to Azure SQL database will reduce the maintenance efforts on the production data like less times required for backups, indexing statistics updates, etc. Stretch Database in a SQL Server instance requires at least one table. It then silently begins to migrate the historical data to Azure SQL Database. If we are storing historical data in a separate table, then we can migrate the entire table. If our table contains both historical and current data, then we can specify a filter predicate to select the rows which need to be moved to Azure SQL database. Also, importantly, Stretch Database ensures that no data is lost if a failure occurs during migration. There is also retry logic to handle intermittent connection issues that may occur during migration.

Stretch database will help Microsoft in making many of the customers to buy Azure SQL subscription. Following are more details regarding the benefits of using this new feature Stretch database in SQL Server 2016.
cost-effective availability for cold data – Stretch database feature allows us to transfer warm or cold data dynamically from SQL Server to Microsoft Azure SQL database and this entire process is transparent to end users, application developers and DBAs. Unlike typical cold data storage, our data will be always online and available to run queries against it. We can also specify data retention timelines to keep as much of data as required on the Azure SQL database and query it. Azure SQL databases are considered as less cost options compared to on-premise servers, so this will benefit using the low cost of Azure rather than scaling expensive, on-premises storage. We can choose the pricing tier and configure settings in the Azure Portal to maintain control over price and costs and we can scale up or down as needed.

No changes required to queries or applications – This is very important part of this feature. In traditional archiving plans, there are lot of changes required from the application side, but this is greatly reduced with stretch databases. Microsoft claims that there are no changes required at all with using this feature, because the data access to cold data on Azure SQL database is handled by SQL Server internally.
Reduced on-premises data maintenance – Because we are moving old data to Azure SQL database, we will have less amount of data on our on-premise databases, which will reduce the amount of time takes for tasks like backups, Index and statistics maintenance, etc. Also, the storage requirements on-premise will be greatly reduced this maintenance or storage will be reduced and can also use the additional storage available on-premise for other databases.

Hope this was helpful.

This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server

SQL Server 2016

Thanks,
SQLServerF1 Team
In-Depth Blogs on SQL Server, Information about SQL Server Conferences and Events, Frequently asked questions, SQL Server Trainings

 
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