Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Azure SQL News Update: A Year in Review

Data Exposed streams live regularly to LearnTV. Every 4 weeks, we’ll do a News Update. We’ll include product updates, videos, blogs, etc. as well as upcoming events and things to look out for. We’ve included an iCal file, so you can add a reminder to tune in live to your calendar. If you missed the episode, you can find them all at


You can read this blog to get all the updates and references mentioned in the show (including the awesome speakers we had on!). Since we did things a little differently this month, here’s the special December update which contains the year in review (i.e., all the big updates this year across Azure SQL, SQL Server, and Azure Arc):


SQL Server on Azure VMs

Featuring Ajay Jagannathan

Public Preview

General Availability

·       SQL Assessments

·       Ebdsv5 series

·       Microsoft Defender for SQL

·       New marketplace images

·       adutil tool for AD authentication

·       Multi-subnet configuration


Azure SQL Managed Instance

Featuring Niko Neugebauer

Public Preview

General Availability

·       Long term retention

·       Maintenance windows

·       Log replay service

·       Cross-instance message exchange with Service Broker

·       Increased storage limit of 16 TB for Business critical

·       Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance

·       Windows (Kerberos) auth

·       BULK INSERT and BACKUP/RESTORE with Managed Identity creds

·       User-defined Managed Identity

·       Service endpoint policies

·       Premium-series hardware generations

·       Transactional replication

·       ML Services with R and Python support

·       ML Services custom runtime support

·       GREATEST and LEAST T-SQL functions

·       Granular permissions for DDM

·       Service-aided subnet configurations

·       Parallel backups for better performance

·       Azure Resource Health to troubleshoot connectivity

·       Available in Azure Resource in Terraform registry

·       Increased storage limit of 16 TB for General Purpose

·       Change differential backup frequency to 12 or 24 hours

·       Cross-instance distributed transactions

·       Azure Active Directory only auth

·       AAD Auth for Linked Servers

·       New instance delete flow for virtual cluster

·       Scalar UDF inlining

·       Move instance to a different subnet


Azure SQL Database

Featuring Andreas Wolter

Public Preview

General Availability

·       Maintenance windows

·       Blockchain in Azure SQL DB with SQL Ledger

·       Change Data Capture

·       Query Store Hints

·       Hyperscale

o   TDE with BYOK support

o   Geo-replication

o   Named replicas

o   Storage redundancy options

·       Zone redundancy for Serverless

·       Purview (RBAC) (Private Preview)


·       Azure SQL Auditing for Log Analytics, Event Hub, and Microsoft Operations

·       Granular permissions for DDM

·       GREATEST and LEAST T-SQL functions

·       Azure AD user creation on behalf of Azure AD Applications

·       Always encrypted with secure enclaves

·       Private Link for Azure SQL Data Sync

·       New server roles for Azure SQL Database

·       New learning path: Build serverless, full stack apps in Azure

·       New learn module: Deploy IoT solutions with Azure SQL Database

·       Azure Active Directory only auth

·       Change differential backup frequency to 12 or 24 hours

·       Azure Resource Terraform registry

·       Scalar UDF inlining

·       Database copy for Hyperscale

·       Azure SQL Database Tips


Updates across Azure SQL

Public Preview

General Availability

·       Azure Monitor SQL Insights

·       Microsoft Defender for SQL



Public Preview

General Availability

·       Assess and migrate at scale from VMWare with Azure Migrate

·       Migrate from Azure Data Studio to VM/MI

·       Connect to Oracle and convert Oracle data objects to Azure SQL from ADS

·       SSMA 8.20-8.23

o   Automatic partition conversion

o   Improved conversions

o   New generation of reports

o   Enable load statements from file

·       DAMT 0.3.0 including support for DB2

·       DMA 5.4-5.5

o   New SKU recommendations

o   Enable elastic model

o   Improved UI

·       AMP to AMMP

· Guides


Azure Arc-enabled Services

Featuring Buck Woody

Public Preview

General Availability

·       Azure Arc-enabled PostgreSQL Hyperscale

·       Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instances

·       Directly-connected mode

·       Managed Identities

·       Point-in-time-restore and In-place upgrades (with a --dry-run option for PITR)

·       Logs and Metrics automatically uploaded in Directly-Connected mode

·       Updated CLI and Azure Data Studio extensions


SQL Server

Featuring Bob Ward

Last but certainly not least, the biggest announcement in the SQL Server space was, of course, the private preview of SQL Server 2022, the most Azure-enabled SQL Server release yet. New functionality includes Synapse Link support, Link feature to Azure SQL Managed Instance for DR, and new performance enhancements (with no code changes!). Get all the details at


Anna’s Pick of the Month

My pick of the month is Data Exposed! Marisa Brasile and I are working constantly to get you the information you need when you need it from the SQL Engineering team. So, as we round out the year, Marisa came on to tell us about all the series you might’ve missed (there’s been a lot!).


Live Series:






Until next time…


That’s it for now! Be sure to check back next month for the latest updates, and tune into Data Exposed Live the first (or second) Wednesday of every month at 9AM PST on LearnTV. We also release new episodes on Thursdays at 9AM PST and new #MVPTuesday episodes on the last Tuesday of every month at 9AM PST at


Having trouble keeping up? Be sure to follow us on twitter to get the latest updates on everything, @AzureSQL


On a personal note -- in 2021 we kicked off the News Updates series as well as Data Exposed Live. Thank you for joining us on this journey of learning, sharing, and growing. We hope you have a wonderful end of the year, and we can't wait to see you in 2022!


We hope to see you next [YEAR], on Data Exposed :)

--Anna and Marisa

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