Microsoft announces new features for its cloud answer to Amazon EC2 – Windows Azure. While Azure is far away from what giant EC2 has to offer we need to keep in mind that Microsoft is not trying to solve all the problems in the world (unlike EC2 because they can), but only trying to concentrate on making their platform (OS and Virtualization) as well as applications to remain relevant in this rapidly occurring transformation of technologies and workloads into the cloud as well as maturity of progress on the open source side. So here we go…
One topic that I was most interested in to learn about is Microsoft’s progress on enhancing Azure with high availability and disaster recovery while catching up to MSSQL Server AlwaysOn Availability released with SQL Server 2012. After all HA is one of the promises that cloud has to deliver. Azure now provides multiple database failover, replicas and configuration failover policies. As part of general availability, Azure now supports “the complete SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups technology stack with Windows Azure Virtual Machines – including enabling support for SQL Server Availability Group Listeners.“
Still no multiple IPs per instance support from what I can tell (significant limitation IMO comparing to Amazon EC2).
Of course if you are looking for more granular “block level” (sync/async) replication solution that natively integrates with Windows Failover Clustering and MSSQL Failover Clustering and make both possible in your physical, virtual, and cloud SANLess environments, there is always SIOS DataKeeper Cluster Edition.
For more detailed info, I found High Availability and Disaster Recovery for SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machines to be a very good overview as well as the video I’ve included below: