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Microsoft SQL Server 2022 bridges on-premises to cloud

Enabling hybrid deployments that span the cloud and on-premises is the key goal for Microsoft's latest update of its 33-year-old relational database.

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 is generally available today, marking the first major update for Microsoft's longstanding on-premises database technology in three years.

A key theme of the Microsoft SQL Server 2022 update is integration with Azure SQL cloud database services, providing a way for organizations to bridge the on-premises to cloud divide.

Microsoft SQL Server was first launched in 1989. Over the last decade in particular, an increasing volume of workloads have moved off premises to the cloud, where Microsoft offers a number of different platforms including Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Managed Instance, an offshoot that’s more compatible with SQL Server.

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 has been in preview since 2021, providing organizations with early access. The cloud integrations that are part of the SQL Server 2022 release enable organizations to back up databases to the cloud for disaster recovery.

The updated database is also integrated with other cloud data services, including the Microsoft Purview data governance service and Azure Synapse Analytics.

Microsoft SQL Server competes against other relational databases such as Oracle Database, IBM Db2 and the open source PostgreSQL database.

SQL Server is becoming more tightly integrated into Microsoft's broader ecosystem strategy with the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform in the cloud, said Gartner analyst Adam Ronthal.

SQL Server is increasingly Azure-aware for business continuity, easy connectivity to cloud analytics via Synapse and governance. This strengthens Microsoft's hybrid cloud story.
Adam RonthalAnalyst, Gartner

"SQL Server is increasingly Azure-aware for business continuity, easy connectivity to cloud analytics via Synapse and governance with Microsoft Purview," Ronthal said. "This strengthens Microsoft's hybrid cloud story."

From on-premises to the cloud with Microsoft SQL Server 2022

One of the new features that Microsoft SQL Server 2022 enables is for organizations to use the cloud for disaster recovery.

Organizations can now choose any Azure cloud region to have an Azure SQL Managed Instance to support disaster recovery for SQL Server 2022.

Organizations often have multiple SQL Server deployments on premises for high availability, but for disaster recovery, they need to move data to a different location. The combination of Azure SQL Managed Instance with SQL Server 2022 now enables organizations to get a read-only replica of their data from which they can recover when needed.

"This was honestly the most used feature even in the preview for SQL Server 2022, because why would you not do it? Anybody who's running in production has to do disaster recovery," said Asad Khan, vice president of SQL products and services at Microsoft.

Bringing cloud data governance and analytics to on-premises data

For the last two years, Microsoft users have been able to use Azure Synapse Analytics for data analytics on cloud data. With SQL Server 2022, Microsoft enabled Azure Synapse to work with data that is stored in the on-premises database.

"Now you can really do real-time analytics on top of all your data," Khan said.

Enabling data governance for data that is on premises as well as in the cloud is another key capability that is supported in Microsoft SQL Server 2022. The Microsoft Purview data governance service can now also give organizations visibility into data and how it is used, whether the data resides in the cloud or on premises.

As part of the cloud-enablement theme that is the foundation of Microsoft SQL Server 2022, the update also integrates with Azure Active Directory to authenticate users with cloud-based access control.

"There is a lot in this release that opens up and that also truly converts a SQL Server into a hybrid play, and many of these things will continue to improve," Khan said.

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