Connect Azure SQL to SQL Server: 2 Easy Methods

on Microsoft Azure, SQL Server • April 7th, 2022 • Write for Hevo

Azure SQL to SQL Server_FI

Azure SQL Database is a Relational Database service that is always up to date and designed for modern Cloud applications. It is part of the Azure SQL family. Most Database Management functions, such as upgrading, patching, backups, and monitoring, can be performed without the intervention of a person.

Azure SQL is a Cloud-based service modeled like SQL Server, allowing you to seamlessly migrate applications while maintaining familiar tools, languages, and resources.

In this article, you will learn how to connect Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration in detailed steps.

Table of Contents

What is Azure SQL? 

Azure SQL Database is part of the Azure SQL family; it is an always-up-to-date relational database service that has been developed for modern Cloud applications. It can handle most of the database management functions such as upgrading, patching, backups, and monitoring without user involvement.  

When the demand for your app boosts, the Azure SQL Database can scale on the fly with minimal downtime. Azure SQL can scale automatically to fulfill your apps’ prerequisites. Thus, you won’t need to install SQL Server; instead, you operate on other machines and only pay for the resources you need when you need them. If your requirements increase, you can adjust the resources allocated to your database by changing service objectives or scaling to meet workload requests.

How does Migration work?

Azure SQL is a Cloud-based service developed along the lines of SQL Server, so you can easily move applications and keep using the tools, languages, and resources you’re familiar with. 

You can migrate SQL Server databases that are run on:

  • SQL Server on-premises.
  • SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
  • AWS Relational Database Service (RDS).
  • Compute Engine in Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • Cloud SQL for SQL Server in GCP.

Azure provides three options to implement SQL Server in Azure:

  • IaaS on Azure—install and operate the database on Azure virtual machines (VMs).
  • PaaS on Azure—relocate your on-prem database to Azure SQL Database.
  • IaaS and PaaS—employ Azure SQL Database managed instances to gain both IaaS and PaaS traits.

Azure delivers free, automated tools that can help you migrate your on-premises SQL Server databases to Azure, regardless of your selected deployment model.

Method for Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration

Method 1: Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration using Data Migration Assistant

Data Migration Assistant (DMA) is a desktop program for migrating single-database Azure SQL to SQL Server databases. This tool allows you to migrate your schema, data, and uncontained objects from your source server to your destination server, as well as advise performance and reliability revisions for your target environment.

Method 2: Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration using Hevo

Hevo Data, an Automated Data Pipeline, provides you with a hassle-free solution to connect Azure SQL DB to SQL Server within minutes with an easy-to-use no-code interface. Hevo is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from Azure SQL DB but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code.

Hevo’s fault-tolerant Data Pipeline offers a faster way to move data from databases or SaaS applications into your SQL Server database. Hevo’s pre-built integration with Azure SQL DB, MS SQL Server, among 100+ data sources (including 40+ free data sources) and Google BigQuery will take full charge of the data transfer process, allowing you to focus on key business activities.

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Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration: Options and Tools

There are several ways to connect to an Azure SQL database. Below is a list of IDEs that have the functionality to connect to the Azure SQL database

  • SQL server management studio
  • Visual studio
  • Azure data studio
  • Azure portal
  • through PowerShell
  • using IP address

SQL Server Migration Tools

Let’s go over the tools that can help you migrate SQL Server to Azure.

1) Azure Migrate

This service is a unified migration platform that plays the role of a centralized hub capable of evaluating and migrating On-premises Servers, Infrastructure, Applications, and Data to Azure. It can be found within the Azure portal when searching for Azure Migrate.

This tool can be beneficial if you have any on-premises servers. It will enable you to complete the discovery of your data center and check dependencies between servers and applications. Azure Migrate can spot any type of migration blockers during the evaluation phase,  offers recommendations for Azure SQL deployments, and provides monthly cost estimates and recommendations for target sizing. For the actual migration step, you could make use of the tools for server migration or database migration. The tool is easy to use as the required instruments can be added from the hub based on your needs.

2) Data Migration Assistant

The Data Migration Assistant (DMA) is a desktop tool designed to help you complete single-database SQL Server migrations to Azure SQL Database. This tool suggests performance and reliability revisions for your target environment and enables you to migrate your schema, data, as well as uncontained objects from your source server to your target server.

DMA catches compatibility issues that can affect database functionality and logically move data between objects located in your target and source databases.

The Data Migration Assistant can be installed either on an on-prem server or on a local machine with connectivity to the source databases. The latest version of the tool can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. 

3) Azure Database Migration Service (DMS)

The Azure Database Migration Service supplies fully managed assistance to migrate on-premises databases or data warehouses to the managed Azure SQL Database platform. DMS allows you to migrate data, objects, and schema efficiently.

It conducts a pre-migration assessment to spot any issues that may preclude migration. It also enables you to pinpoint those features that may be unsupported or negatively affected.

When utilizing DMS, you will have to select a preferred Azure virtual network for provisioning. This is essential to guarantee connectivity to the source SQL Server databases.

Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration Database

Here are the steps you’ll need to make to move your Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration:

Method 1: Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration using Data Migration Assistant


Below are the prerequisites needed to complete the Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration:

  • Download and install SQL Server the 2016 version or a later one.
  • Ensure that the TCP/IP protocol has been enabled, as this feature is disabled by default during SQL Server Express installation.
  • Restore the database to the SQL Server instance.
  • Create a database in Azure SQL Database.
  • Having a Microsoft Azure Virtual Network for Azure Database Migration Service that has been created by using the Azure Resource Manager deployment model. It offers site-to-site connectivity to your on-premises source servers through ExpressRoute or VPN.

Step 1: Pre-Migration

Ensure that the database can support the source environment. During the pre-migration stage, you should also assess migration feasibility, uncover resources, and determine and remediate potential impediments to migration.

Step 2: Discovery

The next step in the migration process is the discovery phase. During this phase, you will have to scan your network for all SQL Server instances and other appropriate features. The Azure Migrate can be used to evaluate the migration suitability of each on-premises server and calculate their running expenses in Azure.

Step 3: Assessment

Reckon the compatibility of your on-premises SQL Server databases with Azure SQL Database. Starting with version 4.1, the Data Migration Assistant can supply suggestions for Azure target and the SKU that can sustain your workloads.

Here are the steps to perform the assessment:

  • Step A: Open the Data Migration Assistant (DMA)
  • Step B: Select File
  • Step C: In the Data Migration Assistant, click the New (+) icon, and choose the Assessment project type.
  • Step D: Set the name of your project; under Source, select SQL Server, and under Target, pick Azure SQL Database.
  • Step E: Choose the target server SQL Server version. This is the SQL Server version that you’ll be evaluating.

During an assessment, you have the possibility of choosing one or both of the following assessment report types:

  • Check database compatibility
  • Check feature parity

Both report types are selected by default.

  • Step F: Determine the source server instances, and provide the connection credentials.
  • Step G: Start Assessment; once the assessment is concluded, you can access the results under the Review results tab.
  • Step H: Determine which compatibility issues you will fix.
Azure SQL to SQL Server: Step 3a
Image Source

The reports generated by the assessment can also be exported to a shareable file, such as CSV. The exported file can be viewed in Excel, or other tools, to acquire specific details on issues and recommendations.

Once the assessment is done, the results will be displayed as shown in the below image:

Azure SQL to SQL Server: Step 3b
Image Source

Step 4: Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration

Once the pre-migration stage is finalized you can begin moving your data by employing the chosen migration strategy with Data Migration Assistant.

Here are the steps to be followed for Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration Database:

  • Step A: Open a new project and under Type, choose the Migration option
  • Step B: Specify a project name. Determine the source and target as SQL Server and Azure SQL Database, respectively.
  • Step C: Next, select the schema and data as the scope of migration and click on the Create button.
  • Step D: In the Data Migration Assistant, specify the source connection details for your SQL Server (e.g., server name, credentials) as well as the details of the target server (e.g., the source server name, target database, and credentials)
  • Step E: Establish and deploy schema objects to the target database.
  • Step F: Choose Start data migration and start observing the migration progress.

Step 5: Post-Migration

After completing the migration stage, you have the option of conducting post-migration tasks in order to ensure that things are working adequately.

Step 6: Remediation of applications

Once the data has been moved to your target environment, check if the apps that used to be connected to your original database can connect to and utilize the target database. Occasionally you might need to make changes to your applications.

Step 7: Testing

Conduct tests to validate your source and target database and to evaluate their performance. This can be done by setting up a set of validation queries. Put together a testing environment (an isolated copy of the databases that need to be tested), run both validation and performance tests, and examine the results.

Method 2: Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration using Hevo

PostgreSQL Dump Import
Source: Self

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline helps you directly transfer data from Data Warehouses and Databases like Azure SQL and 100+ other data sources (including 40+free data sources), Data Warehouses, or a destination of your choice such as SQL Server in a completely hassle-free & automated manner. Hevo allows you to move data to the desired data destination.

Hevo is fully managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. It supports moving data from Azure SQL DB to SQL Server & SQL Server to Azure, hence you get an all-round solution

More Reasons to Choose Hevo Data

  • Fully Managed: It requires no maintenance as Hevo is a fully automated platform.
  • Data Transformation: It provides a simple interface to perfect, modify, and enrich the data you want to transfer. 
  • Fault-Tolerant: Hevo is capable of detecting anomalies in the incoming data and informs you instantly. All the affected rows are kept aside for correction so that it doesn’t hamper your workflow.
  • Real-Time: Hevo offers real-time data migration. So, your data is always ready for analysis.
  • Schema Management: Hevo can automatically detect the schema of the incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
  • Live Monitoring: Advanced monitoring gives you a one-stop view to watch all the activities that occur within pipelines.
  • Live Support: Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
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You have concluded the Azure SQL to SQL Server Migration by employing the import approach and the Data Migration Assistant tool. You can also assess and make recommendations so that you can plan properly and take action before the actual migration. In case you want to export data from a source of your choice such as Azure SQL into your desired Database/destination such as SQL Server then Hevo Data is the right choice for you! 

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Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline provides you with a consistent and reliable solution to manage data transfer between a variety of sources like Azure SQL, SQL Server, and a wide variety of Desired Destinations, with a few clicks. Hevo Data with its strong integration with 100+ sources (including 40+ free sources) allows you to not only export data from your desired data sources & load it to the destination of your choice, but also transform & enrich your data to make it analysis-ready so that you can focus on your key business needs and perform insightful analysis.

Want to take Hevo for a spin? Sign Up for a 14-day free trial and experience the feature-rich Hevo suite first hand. You can also have a look at the unbeatable pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs.

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