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Migrate your SQL Server databases without changing your apps

Get the broadest SQL Server engine compatibility and native virtual network (VNET) support with SQL Database Managed Instance. This option gives you the best of SQL Server, plus the operational and cost benefits of an intelligent, fully managed service. Managed Instance is ideal for migrating a large number of existing SQL Server databases from on-premises or virtual machines to SQL Database.

Use SQL Database advanced data security with virtual networks and near 100% compatibility

Managed instance is a new deployment option of Azure SQL Database, providing near 100% compatibility with the latest SQL Server on-premises (Enterprise Edition) Database Engine, providing a native virtual network (VNet) implementation that addresses common security concerns, and a business model favorable for on-premises SQL Server customers. The managed instance deployment model allows existing SQL Server customers to lift and shift their on-premises applications to the cloud with minimal application and database changes. At the same time, the managed instance deployment option preserves all PaaS capabilities (automatic patching and version updates, automated backups, high-availability), that drastically reduces management overhead and TCO.

The following diagram outlines key features of managed instances:

The managed instance deployment model is designed for customers looking to migrate a large number of apps from on-premises or IaaS, self-built, or ISV provided environment to fully managed PaaS cloud environment, with as low migration effort as possible. Using the fully automated Data Migration Service (DMS) in Azure, customers can lift and shift their on-premises SQL Server to a managed instance that offers compatibility with SQL Server on-premises and complete isolation of customer instances with native VNet support. With Software Assurance, you can exchange their existing licenses for discounted rates on a managed instance using the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. A managed instance is the best migration destination in the cloud for SQL Server instances that require high security and a rich programmability surface.

The managed instance deployment option aims delivers close to 100% surface area compatibility with the latest on-premises SQL Server version through a staged release plan.

Key features and capabilities

Managed instance combines the best features that are available both in Azure SQL Database and SQL Server Database Engine.

PaaS benefits Business continuity
No hardware purchasing and management
No management overhead for managing underlying infrastructure
Quick provisioning and service scaling
Automated patching and version upgrade
Integration with other PaaS data services
99.99% uptime SLA
Built in high-availability
Data protected with automated backups
Customer configurable backup retention period
User-initiated backups
Point in time database restore capability
Security and compliance Management
Isolated environment (VNet integration, single tenant service, dedicated compute and storage)
Transparent data encryption (TDE)
Azure AD authentication, single sign-on support
Azure AD server principals (logins) (public preview)
Adheres to compliance standards same as Azure SQL database
SQL auditing
threat detection
Azure Resource Manager API for automating service provisioning and scaling
Azure portal functionality for manual service provisioning and scaling
Data Migration Service


The key features of managed instances are shown in the following table:

Feature Description
SQL Server version / build SQL Server Database Engine (latest stable)
Managed automated backups Yes
Built-in instance and database monitoring and metrics Yes
Automatic software patching Yes
The latest Database Engine features Yes
Number of data files (ROWS) per the database Multiple
Number of log files (LOG) per database 1
VNet – Azure Resource Manager deployment Yes
VNet – Classic deployment model No
Portal support Yes
Built-in Integration Service (SSIS) No – SSIS is a part of Azure Data Factory PaaS
Built-in Analysis Service (SSAS) No – SSAS is separate PaaS
Built-in Reporting Service (SSRS) No – use Power BI or SSRS IaaS