Revisiting an Azure Managed Instance

If you’re considering moving to Azure from an on-prem SQL Server and need a complete SQL PasS offering, a Managed Instance (MI) is the best choice. Also, are you confused about the primary difference between a MI and an Azure SQL DB? If either of those applies to you, keep on reading.

A few years ago, I worked on a project where we used a Managed Instance. Until then, I had only worked on Azure SQL DB and on-prem SQL Server. After moving on from that project, I didn’t touch an MI for a few years. Recently, I started using an Azure Managed Instance again and wanted to share some of my favorite things about this service. One of them was on my wishlist of features I hoped Microsoft would add.

My Favorite Things

In short, my favorite things are as follows.

  1. Decreased instance creation time. It used to take hours to stand one up.
  2. The ability to pause the compute. Now you can save money, especially in dev/test environments.
  3. Customizable maintenance window. With a non-test subscription, you have more options when downtime could occur.
  4. SQL Server Agent. If you’ve worked with SQL Server as a full or part-time DBA, you know the importance of the agent.

Bonus: one I didn’t call out in the original article is you no longer need to worry about upgrading or applying updates! This feature applies to all the PaaS Azure SQL offerings.

You can find the full article over at If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me.

Additional Resources

  • Bob Ward and Niko Nigenbauar are the real deal when explaining everything Managed Instance related. You can find one of their talks at the following link. They do an excellent job of giving an overview of the offering.
  • Are you considering moving your on-premises SQL Server to an Azure Managed Instance? Give John Martin’s article a read for using native backups: Migrating SQL Server Databases to Azure Managed Instances with Native Backups.
  • Bob Ward presented in a video on the Data Exposed channel about using the log replay service to migrate to Azure. You can find the video at this link.

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