Connecting Windows Server 2016 with Azure

Into the Blue

SQL Server 2016 in the Cloud

Companies migrating to Windows Server 2016 will upgrade their SQL servers sooner or later to the new version to run on the new server. It goes without saying that SQL Server 2016 also offers opportunities for collaboration with Azure that complement the functions of Windows Server 2016.

In addition to comprehensive encryption, SQL Server 2016 offers further security features. You can use filters in the databases to specify that users are not shown certain data, even if they are authorized to see the data. The filters also can be stored on the basis of user names in Active Directory or Azure AD. This means that users cannot read certain data at all if they are not authorized to do so. Reporting services can also access local data from SQL servers or data in Azure.

As with its predecessors, Microsoft has expanded its integration with Azure. The focus is primarily on companies that rely on hybrid cloud solutions; that is, they want to operate local database servers, but also databases or database servers in the cloud. The wizards for collaboration between local servers and the cloud have been extended and simplified accordingly. Fewer steps are required to migrate SQL databases to the cloud.

SQL Server 2016 also lets you run tables locally and in the cloud. You can thus extend local tables on servers with SQL Server 2016 into the cloud. The table is stored locally and in the cloud and is accessible from local applications, which is particularly useful for data that is not constantly needed and for which high-performance access is not required (e.g., past sales figures).

The advantage is that you can share data storage in the data center and offload outdated data into the cloud, saving money on expensive, high-performance storage space. Additionally, you can make large amounts of data available at a relatively low cost, access SQL server resources, and continue to use your applications. For applications that rely on this technology, the use of tables in Azure is transparent; no adjustments are necessary.


Windows Server 2012 R2 was already closely integrated with Azure. Microsoft goes even further with Windows Server 2016 and allows the integration of clusters and RDS. High-availability services such as Azure Site Recovery or Azure Backup are not yet fully functional with Windows Server 2016. However, Microsoft is expected to update these services.

When operating a cluster, Azure is a valuable tool, regardless of whether you want to connect a geocluster that spans multiple data centers or a small cluster that requires a witness server. The connection is made through easy-to-use wizards. The possibilities of Azure with Windows Server 2016 are worth a closer look.

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