Microsoft SQL Server on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

April 11, 2023 | 5 minute read
Deviprasad Moolya
Principal Cloud Architect
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One of the top three database systems in the world, Microsoft SQL Server (MS SQL) can run on Windows and some Linux distributions. SQL Server is used as a backend database for various critical business applications, such as Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Skype for Business, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), Web applications, .Net applications and more. SQL Server also includes other services, such as Analysis Services (SSAS), Reporting Services (SSRS), Integration Services (SSIS), and machine learning (ML).

Microsoft SQL Server is available in various editions, each containing a particular feature set targeting different workloads. Among these editions, SQL Server Developer and Express Edition are free specialized editions. SQL Server Developer is a full-featured, free edition, licensed for use as a development and test database in a non-production environment. SQL Server Express is a free edition that is ideal for development and production for desktop, web, and small server applications.

The SQL Server Evaluation edition is also available for a 180-day trial period. You can get more information about editions and supported features in Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2022.

OCI and MS SQL

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) provides a comprehensive set of services and tools to deploy Microsoft SQL Server on the reliable and secure OCI Compute instances. By running SQL Server on OCI, you can reduce operating costs, while receiving the benefit of scalability, high availability, disaster recovery, improved performance, and ease of management.

OCI’s Compute platform is optimized for performance, flexibility, and cost. Oracle delivers these benefits by providing choices ranging from bare metal instances to virtual machines (VMs) to completely flexible instances, all at lower cost than many other cloud providers. With Oracle’s flexible instances, you can build your solution just how you need, with no waste. Choose the specific number of cores and memory you need without having to fit into predefined shapes.

OCI supports the deployment of self-managed SQL Server, where you get full control over the setup of the infrastructure and the database environment, like running SQL Server on your own hardware. You have full control of the database and operating system-level access, so you can use your choice of tools to manage the operating system, database software, patches, data replication, backup, and restoration.

You can run Microsoft SQL Server on OCI Compute instances. You have the following licensing options when deploying Microsoft SQL Server on OCI:

Using a Marketplace image

The Oracle Cloud Marketplace has different images for Microsoft SQL Server on OCI, published by Oracle and Oracle Partners, that you can select for your workload requirements.

A screenshot of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace page with some SQL Server options.

The fees for your usage of the publisher offering are established by the publisher and charged to your Oracle Cloud Services account by Oracle as the publisher’s payment processing agent. Fees for usage of OCI resources, such as Compute instances, are charged separately based on the rate of usage. To learn more, see Compute Pricing.

Using BYOL

You can choose to bring your own license (BYOL) for Microsoft SQL Server that you want to run on OCI. Any Microsoft Server licenses permitted on OCI must be eligible according to the latest Microsoft product terms. Verify that the licensing agreements with Microsoft permit you to bring on-premises, perpetual Microsoft licenses to OCI and that they’re eligible, licensed products according to the latest Microsoft product terms. Microsoft application products that are currently eligible for License Mobility require an active Software Assurance benefit to move your license. For more information, see Moving Microsoft Licenses to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure: Microsoft License Mobility.

You can create an OCI Compute instance according to your requirements and the install Microsoft SQL Server using your product key. For more information on deployment, refer to the blog, Deploying Microsoft SQL Server on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Cost

Using BYOL, you can bring your existing SQL licenses and save cost and on OCI. You only pay for the OCI resources, such as Compute instances, block storage, and object storage.

OCI is built for enterprises seeking higher performance, consistently lower costs, and easier cloud migration for their existing, on-premises applications. OCI is consistently less expensive for a wide range of popular cloud workloads and offers the following benefits:

  • OCI’s private network connectivity charges are less.

  • Oracle delivers better price-performance for compute for general purpose Compute instances.

  • For block storage, Oracle offers more IOPS for less cost.

OCI pricing is easier to understand and model because most options are already included in the price. Plus, service pricing is the same across all global regions. OCI’s Always Free tier provides many services for free up to generous limits, such as 10 TB of data egress free per month.

Use the Oracle Cloud Cost Estimator to understand the cost of running Microsoft SQL Server on OCI.

SQL Server features

SQL Server provides multiple features, including the following examples, and you can select and configure them depending on your requirements:

  • High availability and disaster recovery: AlwaysOn availability groups, database mirroring, SQL failover cluster instances, log shipping, and distributed availability groups.

  • Security: Transparent database encryption (TDE), Always Encrypted, Always Encrypted with secure enclaves, dynamic data masking, and extensible key management (EKM).

  • Data management: Transactional replication, merge replication, and in-memory database with In-Memory OLTP.

In a series of upcoming blogs, we cover the steps necessary to configure these MS SQL features on OCI.

SQL on Linux

Starting with SQL Server 2017, Microsoft introduced support for installing SQL Server on Linux operating systems. You can also deploy SQL Server container images to Docker and Kubernetes.

In the future blogs, we walk you through the steps to deploy SQL Server on Linux and SQL Server container images on OCI.

Conclusion

In this blog post, you learned that deploying Microsoft SQL Server on OCI is not only possible, but fully supported, and can reduce costs while providing better price-performance. You can begin your journey of OCI with a Free Trial.

Stay tuned for our next blog on how to configure an SQL AlwaysOn availability group on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Deviprasad Moolya

Principal Cloud Architect


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