Azure Database for MySQL: 7 Comprehensive Aspects

Abhinav Chola • Last Modified: December 29th, 2022

Azure MySQL: Featured Image | Hevo Data

This article will introduce you to the concept and features of Microsoft Azure and MySQL. It will further explain the components of the Azure MySQL Database and will list down the basic operations that you can perform on them. Read along to learn more about the benefits of Azure MySQL Databases and how to choose the right version!

Microsoft Azure Cloud is a collection of cloud services that enhances the Data Storage and Data Management work of an organization. It finds application in creating complex Web Applications, Upgrading Cybersecurity practices, and managing daily transactions. This Public Cloud platform supports users in scaling up their infrastructure to incorporate their business growth. Moreover, it provides companies with the option of setting up hybrid development environments. 

MySQL serves as a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) for organizations looking to manage their daily operations and transactions. Moreover, most technical giants today, implement their software stacks using the MySQL platform. It assists them in various tasks ranging from building customer-facing web applications to maintaining data-driven B2B services. Due to its open-source availability and rich feature set, this Oracle product is prominent in managing the backend of companies like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. Extending the features of MySQL, Microsoft has launched the Azure Database for MySQL. It is a cloud-based RDBMS that also contains the features and services of Azure.

Table of Contents

What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a well-known Microsoft Service that operates in the public cloud domain. You can work with Azure using one model out of the Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) options. Microsoft Azure facilitates robust storage and computing power. Moreover, to meet their cloud computing needs, approximately 80% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Azure services. Using its services, you can be sure that your data will not fall prey to unauthorized access and have enough backups to survive server crashes.

Developers can choose any of its 3 models to build new applications or host existing applications using the public cloud. Furthermore, you can apply  Microsoft Azure services and create cloud-based virtual machines (VMs) and databases.

Key Features of Microsoft Azure

You can enhance your Data Management by using the following features of Microsoft Azure:

  • Analytics Support: Microsoft Azure has built-in analytics and data reporting tools that can extract deeper insights from business-related data. Businesses can use these tools to find new leads, upgrade customer service, and take strategic decisions. 
  • Hybrid Ready: Microsoft Azure offers both on-premises data center and public cloud services. This way it allows businesses to choose either one option or implement a hybrid model.
  • Efficient Storage System: Microsoft Azure contains numerous delivery points and data centers. This way, it can provide rapid data delivery and enhance your user experience.

To learn more about Microsoft Azure, click here.

What is MySQL?

MySQL, developed in 1995, is a robust Database Management System (DBMS) that utilizes Structured Query Language (SQL) to perform data-related operations. Its general version offers an open-source platform that you can access easily and fulfill your Data Management needs. However, the advanced MySQL versions that are designed to meet your specific needs are available for a monthly fee. Companies today rely on the MySQL platform to have a scalable, and reliable solution for their business.

MySQL’s simplicity provides it an edge over its peer DBMS platforms including Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Databases. Moreover, you can seamlessly collaborate with MySQL with the programming language of your choice. This platform also integrates well with Linux, Unix, Windows, and other operating systems. Furthermore, depending on your configuration needs, you can either work with MySQL after installing it on your local system or directly from a server. 

Key Features of MySQL

The following features make MySQL a popular DBMS in the market: 

  • High performance: MySQL database performs high data processing and has an easy-to-learn user interface. it can easily accommodate multiple users and you can access this platform from any location. 
  •  Compatibility: With MySQL, you can experience high speed and low latency data transactions. Furthermore, it is also feasible to use web development tools on this platform.
  • Scalability: MySQL platform allows you to seamlessly upscale or downscale your business anytime. It also adapts to the most popular operating systems like Linux, OS X, Windows, etc.

To get more details regarding MySQL, visit here.

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What is Azure Database for MySQL?

Azure Database for MySQL is a relational database service based on the MySQL Community Edition database engine, versions 5.6, 5.7, and 8.0, and available in the Microsoft cloud.

Azure MySQL Database provides the following features:

  • Zone redundancy and high availability within the same zone.
  • You have complete control over your scheduled maintenance window.
  • Automatic backups and point-in-time restore provide up to 35 days of data protection.
  • With a low-cost burstable SKU and the ability to stop/start the server, cost optimization controls can be implemented.
  • With pay-as-you-go pricing, you can expect predictable results.
  • Within seconds, elastic scaling is possible.
  • To keep the service secure and up to date, automated patching and maintenance for the underlying hardware, operating system, and database engine are performed.
  • Support expertise that is unrivalled in the industry.
  • Secure sensitive data in transit and at rest with enterprise-grade security, industry-leading compliance, and privacy.
  • Large-scale deployments benefit from automation and monitoring to make management and monitoring easier.

These features are almost entirely self-contained and come at no additional cost. Instead of allocating valuable time and resources to managing virtual machines and infrastructure, they allow you to focus on rapid app development and accelerate your time to market.

Furthermore, you can continue to develop your application using the open-source tools and platform of your choice, ensuring that it meets the speed and efficiency requirements of your business without having to learn new skills.

azure mysql: azure db for mysql conceptual diagram | Hevo Data
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Azure SQL vs MySQL

The advancement in the world of Cloud Computing over the last decade or so has been nothing short of astounding. This development pioneered the concept of cloud-hosted databases, among other things. In essence, these are cloud-based databases. Space and maintenance issues, for example, are no longer an issue with hosted databases. The cloud provider abstracts and manages these. This allows you to store virtually limitless amounts of data without having to worry about database maintenance.

The goal of this section is to compare one of these databases, the Azure SQL Database, which is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, to MySQL. The most widely used open-source database management system (DBMS) today.

  • Architecture: Both Azure SQL Database and MySQL are relational database management systems that use SQL as their query language. Their architectures, however, are vastly different. MySQL stands for “MySQL Database Management System.” This refers to software that is used to define, manipulate, retrieve, and manage data in a database. It is not a database in and of itself; rather, it controls how data is stored and manipulated in a database. Its open-source nature, on the other hand, allows for a wide range of integration possibilities. MySQL DBMS software can be downloaded for free from the internet. It can then be used as-is or modified to suit the technology of your underlying system without sacrificing much performance.
    • MySQL: As a result, MySQL is extremely popular because it is both compatible and simple to set up. It runs on all major operating systems and supports all major programming languages. However, the GNU General Public License governs this flexibility (General Public License). This is how MySQL manages how its software is used. If you want to use MySQL in an environment that isn’t covered by this license, you can buy a commercial license from MySQL.
    • Azure SQL: The Azure SQL Database, on the other hand, is a database as a service. It’s a managed database that’s intelligent, scalable, and hosted in the cloud. Simply put, a database as a service (DBaaS) is a service that gives users on-demand access to a database. This can be done without the need for any physical hardware, software installation, or performance configuration. The service provider, in this case, Microsoft, is responsible for all administrative tasks and maintenance. The database is all that is required of the application owner or user. Because the Azure SQL database is part of the Azure cloud, it comes with a number of powerful features out of the box.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses:
    • MySQL: Because MySQL is open-source software, it has a lot of flexibility. Anyone can download and install MySQL for free and with very little effort from the internet. You can study its source code and customize its functionality to better suit your personal needs if it suits you better, as long as you stay within the constraints outlined in the governing software license. This is extremely powerful because you can have an effective database solution tailored to your application for a very low cost.

MySQL also has Connectors, which are essentially drivers and API libraries that you use to connect applications written in different programming languages to MySQL database servers running on the same machine or across the network. Connectors are available for almost all of today’s popular programming languages, with extensive documentation on how to use them.

MySQL also has a large user base due to its widespread popularity (MySQL ranks second among all database engines on the market according to db-engines) and maturity. As a result, there are a plethora of articles on the internet for just about any MySQL problem you can think of. If the Open Source way of life isn’t for you, MySQL also comes in an Enterprise and Cloud version. It’s called MySQL Cloud Service, and it’s powered by Oracle Cloud and built on MySQL Enterprise Edition.

If an application is developed locally and not for commercial purposes, MySQL can be used for free. Commercial use necessitates the purchase of a license, making it pricier than Azure SQL.

  • Azure SQL: The Azure SQL Database is a fantastic database as well. Because the SQL Database is part of the Azure ecosystem, it includes some extremely powerful features. From built-in machine learning and AI to advanced data security by default to automatic and configurable scalability that allows you to grow your database based on demand, with a pricing system that allows you to only pay for what you use. All of these features, as well as many others, are available to you as soon as you begin using the database; no additional installations are required.

You can also use the Azure SQL Database to create on-premise databases while still utilizing the Azure cloud’s capabilities. And, if your application stack is hosted on Azure, storing and retrieving data from your applications into the SQL database is a breeze, and leveraging all of the SQL database’s niceties to manipulate your data and optimize your queries improves the application performance even more.

However, because hosted databases are still in their infancy compared to established solutions like MySQL, hosted databases like the Azure SQL database aren’t used as frequently as older systems like MySQL, because users are still figuring out how to use the cloud. The SQL database, on the other hand, has extensive documentation and comprehensive training courses if you’re having trouble finding helpful resources online for debugging purposes.

Because Azure SQL can take advantage of the entire Azure platform to provide more meaningful ways to interact with data at a lower cost than MySQL, the likelihood that everyone will switch to Azure SQL is very high.

What are the Components of Azure MySQL Databases?

Azure MySQL: Architecture | Hevo Data
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The Azure Database for MySQL consist of the following components:

Azure MySQL Components: MySQL Database Server

Azure Database for MySQL can offer high security, resource protection, fast restart functionality, and isolation for your database servers. These features are critical for performing scaling and restoring database servers in the event of a system failure. 

Generally, the data stored in your database server changes when a transaction is carried out at the server. Azure storage logs all such changes synchronously using the write logs (ib_log) function. Moreover, Data Pages present in Azure Database are also backed up into memory during checkpointing.

Azure MySQL Components: Remote Storage

The Azure storage is built with the aim of saving 3 copies of data from a region to facilitate Data availability & reliability. Therefore, the physical data files and log files of MySQL are stored in Azure Storage. Another advantage of Azure storage is that it is not dependent on the database server. In case of server failure, you can disconnect the Azure storage and reconnect it to a working server within a minute. Furthermore, this storage monitors storage errors regularly. If any corrupt data block is found, it automatically resolves the issue by instantiating a new archive copy.

Azure MySQL Components: Azure Application Gateway

Azure Application Gateway is a database proxy with the responsibility of routing the various client connections to the MySQL Database Server. A bunch of compute nodes (stateless) working under an IP address host the Gateway service. Any new client trying to establish contact with the Azure database for the MySQL server will reach this IP address first. The hardware responsible for hosting the Gateway is updated periodically. This ensures that users get a safe and efficient experience.

What are the Key Features of Azure MySQL Databases?

The Azure MySQL Databases are popular due to the following features:

  • It provides redundancy and high availability of data within the same zone. Moreover, it offers maximum control to the user and will allow you to select the time of the maintenance window. 
  • It provides high Data protection with its automatic backups and data restoration services that can store the data for up to a month. 
  • It automates the patching and maintenance of the Azure processing hardware and database engine. This way you will experience a secure and up-to-date service. 
  • It helps you in optimizing your spending by providing Cost controls and a low-cost expandable SKU that has the ability to start or stop the server anytime. Moreover, the Azure Database for MySQL comes in a pay-as-you-go pricing model. 
  • You will get Enterprise-grade security for your data, and its privacy feature will protect your sensitive data both when at rest and when in motion.
  • It offers automatic data Monitoring that simplifies your task of managing large-scale deployments. Furthermore, it also offers Industry-leading support experience. to guide you through day to day tasks

What are the 2 Deployment Models for Azure MySQL Databases?

There are two deployment options for Azure Database for MySQL, which is powered by the MySQL community edition:

Azure Database for MySQL – Flexible Server

MySQL in Azure Database Flexible Server is a fully managed, production-ready database service that allows for greater granularity and flexibility in database management functions and configuration settings.

Users can choose high availability within a single availability zone or across multiple availability zones thanks to the flexible server architecture. With the ability to stop/start servers and a burstable compute tier, flexible servers offer better cost optimization controls, making them ideal for workloads that do not require full compute capacity on a continuous basis.

Reserved instances on Flexible Server can save you up to 63 percent on costs, making it ideal for production workloads with predictable compute capacity requirements. MySQL 5.7 and 8.0 community versions are supported by the service. Today, the service is available in a wide range of Azure regions.

Burstable, General Purpose, and Memory Optimized compute tiers are available with the Flexible Server deployment option. To support your database workloads, each tier provides varying compute and memory capacity. For a few dollars a month, you can build your first app on a burstable tier, then scale up or down depending on your solution’s needs. Your database’s dynamic scalability allows it to respond transparently to rapidly changing resource demands. You only pay for what you need, when you need it. For more information, go to Compute and Storage.

Flexible servers are ideal for a variety of applications:

  • For functions such as backups, high availability, security, and monitoring, deployments are simple, scaling is simple, and database management overhead is low.
  • Application development necessitates the use of a community version of MySQL that allows for more control and customization.
  • Streamlined development.
  • Enterprise-level protection.
  • Workloads in the same zone, zone redundant high availability, and maintenance windows that are managed.

Azure Database for MySQL – Single Server

The Azure Database for MySQL Single Server is a fully managed database service with limited customization options. Patching, backups, high availability, and security are all handled by the single server platform, which requires minimal user configuration and control. With 99.99 percent availability on a single availability zone, the architecture is designed for built-in high availability. MySQL 5.6 (retired), 5.7, and 8.0 community versions are supported. Today, the service is available in a variety of Azure regions.

Single servers are best suited to existing applications that already use one. Flexible Server is the recommended deployment option for all new development or migration projects.

Choosing the Correct MySQL Option for your Azure Database

Azure provides you with 2 options to manage your MySQL server workloads.  You can run the MySQL server on a hosted Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or using a Platform as a service (PaaS). When choosing between IaaS and PaaS, you need to decide whether you want to manually manage the database, apply patches, perform backups, monitoring, scaling, etc., or whether you want to delegate such operations to Azure only.

You can choose between the following 2 MySQL options for your Azure Database:

Azure MySQL Model: PaaS

The PaaS option will provide you with a fully managed database engine (MySQL). Using the managed instance of MySQL, you are free to utilize the built-in features of Azure such as automated patching, data availability, backups, high data scaling,  and governance.  Another benefit of using the PaaS option is that you pay-as-you-use its services. The PaaS model of Azure Database for MySQL comes in two deployment modes:

  • Azure Database for MySQL Flexible Server provides an automated, production-ready database service that will let you have strong control over database functions and configurations.  Its architecture enables users to look for high availability within a single Availability Zone or even across multiple Availability Zones. The flexible server facilitates Reserved Instances which can save you up to 60% on costs, making it ideal for production workloads. If you wish to pursue new developments or wish to migrate production workloads, the flexible server is the ideal choice for you. 
  • Single Server allows you to introduce limited customization on top of its fully managed architecture. It can manage most of your database operations such as patching, data backup,  data security, and many more. Its architecture is optimized to provide you with 99.99% availability in a single Zone. This version of the Azure Database for MySQL is ideal for working with existing applications.

Azure MySQL Model: IaaS

This version belongs to the industrial category of IaaS. This service allows you to deploy MySQL Server in a user-managed virtual machine on the Azure cloud platform. It will provide you with 99.99% data availability and you can install all new versions of MySQL on the virtual machine.

Basic Operations on Azure MySQL Databases

While working with Azure MySQL Databases, you will be working on the following basic operations:

Azure MySQL Operations: Connection & Authentication

The following architectural components will enable you to connect Azure MySQL Database:

  • Authentication and Authorization: Azure Database for MySQL server operates on the default MySQL authentication. You can use the server login credentials to connect with a MySQL server easily. Moreover, the Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication mechanism allows you to connect to the Azure AD using pre-defined identities. Azure AD authentication also empowers you to manage the identities of database users and other Microsoft services, simplifying the task of managing permissions.
  • Protocol: The services offered by Azure for MySQL Database utilize a message-based protocol used by MySQL. The TCP / IP and Unix-domain sockets implement the message transfer protocol.
  • Firewall: A firewall safeguards your data by preventing unauthorized access to your Databases. You can customize the firewall rules that contain IP addresses that have your authentication. This way the incoming Ip Addresses will be matched by these rules before granting databases access. 

Azure MySQL Operations: Starting & Stopping the MySQL Database

Azure Database for MySQL provides you the freedom of shutting down the server and starting it as per your requirements. This way it allows you to optimize your Database server costs and pay only for the resource that you are using.

This feature is essential for developer workloads and in situations when your work requires using a server only for a part of the day. Keep in mind that all your active connections will be deleted as soon as you shut down your server. In this state, the server calculation is not billed but your storage will be charged. This is necessary to ensure the availability of data files when the server will be restarted. 

During the shutdown, you can not perform any administrative operations on the server. Later,  you can use the Azure portal to bring the server online. 

Azure MySQL Operations: Management & Pricing

When it comes to management, once you have admin control, you can customize the tasks like creating, deleting, configuring the server settings. Moreover, you will have the ability to manage aspects like networking, security, data availability, monitoring, etc.,  of your Azure Database for MySQL server. Also, there are certain stored procedures in Azure Database for MySQL that can automate some database administration tasks and simplify your work.

The pricing of Azure for MySQL Database is divided into the following 3 tiers:

  • Basic: This plan is suitable for workloads requiring light processing and I / O performance. For example, if you are using servers for the development or testing of small-scale applications, then this tier plan is ideal for you. 
  • General Purpose: This plan is suitable for enterprise workloads that involve a good balance of processing and scalable throughout the project. For example, if you are using the servers for developing web or mobile applications.
  • Memory-Optimized: This plan is suitable for high-performance database workloads that rely on scalable memory and faster transaction processing. For example, if you are using these servers to operate a real-time data processing and transactional application.

What are the Benefits of Azure MySQL Databases?

The Azure MySQL Databases can add the following benefits to your business:

  • You can configure, scale, and manage the Azure Database for MySQL in a hassle-free manner. Moreover, you can automate the database maintenance task which will take care of processes like routine updates, data backups, and security. It also offers multiple configuration parameters that can enhance your flexible server setup easily. Furthermore, you can work on the Azure Database for MySQL using the existing tools like MySQL Workbench, ​​and drivers of your chosen programming language.
  • You can select the high data availability with zone redundancy features in the Azure Database for MySQL. It is supported by industry-leading SLAs(Service Level Agreements) and will provide you with 99.99% data availability.
  • The Azure Database for MySQL utilizes an AI-powered database monitoring feature that can improve your query processing rate. It also allows you to track the execution statistics of your queries and maximizes the performance of large databases. It also supports 16TB of storage and provides you with a huge number of 20,000 I / O operations every second.


The article introduced you to Azure and MySQL along with their important features. It then discussed the components of Azure MySQL Databases and listed their main features. Furthermore, the article explained the basic operations that you can perform on the Azure MySQL Databases and the benefits they will provide to your business.

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