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SQL To Azure Migration tutorial for beginners

Step-By-Step Tutorial For SQL To Azure Migration: Ultimate Guide

The SQL to Azure migration tutorial explains how to migrate data to the cloud and the top tools to make migration seamless in 2023.

Due to the rapid digital transformation, SMEs and large enterprises are migrating their on-premise data to the cloud. 

Many firms choose Microsoft Azure as it is one of the most sought options. The leading cloud platform offers a mix of services, like Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service. 

However, migrating on-premises databases to Azure requires proper planning and execution. In this SQL to Azure migration tutorial, we will reveal a simple five-step approach to migrate the on-premises SQL server database to the cloud, along with an example using PowerShell. 

What is Azure? 

Microsoft Azure is one of the prominent cloud computing platforms, with AWS and GCP being its top competitors. It provides over 200 products and cloud services to build, run, and manage applications at the edge or across multiple clouds. 

What is SQL Server? 

SQL Server is an RDMS (relational database management system) developed by Microsoft. It supports various business intelligence, analytics, and transaction processing applications in corporate IT. 

What is SQL to Azure Database Migration? 

In simple words, SQL to Azure data migration means moving data stored in SQL Server to Azure Cloud. You can utilize the Azure SQL migration extension available for Azure Data Studio to migrate your on-premise SQL Server databases to SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines. 

Per the report by, the cloud computing market is expected to cross $2321.1 Billion by 2032. This indicates that the cloud computing market is growing exponentially.

Microsoft Azure is the world’s second-largest computing provider after AWS. Various Azure migration tools can assist you in efficiently migrating on-premise resources like databases to the Microsoft Cloud. 

benefits of azure database

If you are unsure about whether you should migrate data, here are a few benefits of choosing Azure cloud migration.

  • Advanced data security 
  • High productivity 
  • Reduced costs 
  • Faster disaster recovery 
  • Effective backup storage 
  • Increased availability 
  • Enhanced scalability 

On-Premises SQL Server Database to Azure Migration Tutorial 

Now that we have discussed the basic definition of SQL to Azure migration and cloud benefits, it’s time to understand how to migrate an on-premise SQL server database to Microsoft Azure. Check out the step-by-step SQL database to Azure SQL migration process, where we reveal the secret of seamless migration. 

step by step process to azure data migration

Step 1: Discover 

The first and foremost step to start the migration from SQL is the discovery phase. Here you will identify all SQL server instances and features that your organization uses. 

Here are a few tools that you can use during the first phase. 

  • Azure Migrate: It allows you to assess the migration suitability of on-premise servers, perform cost estimations, and perform performance-based sizing. 
  • MAP Toolkit: Also known as Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, it offers a robust inventory to access the current IT infrastructure. 

Step 2: Assess

The next step is to identify any migration blockers or compatibility issues that can affect the cloud data migration

  • Azure Migrate: Those who want to access the entire SQL server data estate can choose Azure Migrate. The tool helps you get monthly estimates, target sizing, and Azure SQL deployment recommendations. 
  • Azure SQL Migration Extension: The extension for Azure Data Studio offers a seamless wizard-based experience to access. It can assist you in getting Azure recommendations and migrating SQL server databases. 

Pro Tip: Always access the environment you are working with to understand the size and complexity of the database effectively. 

Step 3: Migrate 

The next step in SQL to Azure migration tutorial is to migrate data. There are different methods to execute the migration process. The two most popular methods include Azure Migrate and Azure SQL Migration extension for Azure Data Studio. 

While the former is preferred when data migration takes place at scale from different environments, the latter is used to migrate single databases or at scale in offline mode only. A few more migration methods or technologies include: 

  • Transactional Replication: You can execute full or partial database migration of selected tables. 
  • Import Export Service/BACPAC: Best suited for small databases, BACPAC helps you migrate individual line-of-business application databases. 
  • Bulk Copy: This enables you to execute full or partial data migration but requires downtime. 
  • Azure Data Factory: Helps you to transform and migrate data from source SQL server databases to Azure SQL databases by merging multiple data sources. 

Pro Tip: Check the database compatibility using the Data Migration Assistant (DMA). This will help you ensure the database is compatible with the Azure SQL database. 

Step 4: Cutover 

Migration involves continuous replicating and syncing of data changes from source to target. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure all changes on the source database are captured and applied to the target during the migration process. You can cut off from the source database and target environment once you verify the source and target are the same. 

Additionally, test the migrated database once the migration is complete to ensure it functions appropriately. A few tools that will help you test the migrated database include SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or Azure Data Studio. 

Step 5: Optimize 

Once you have chosen the right cloud migration approach, it’s time to optimize the strategy that fits your goals and business objectives. Focus on setting up security, optimizing databases for performance, and configuring backups to optimize the Azure SQL database service. 

sql server database to azure migration tutorial

Migrate Data From SQL to Azure Using PowerShell

Migrating SQL Server databases to Azure SQL Database is common in today’s cloud computing era. Here is a step-by-step process to execute SQL to Azure migration:

  • Create an Azure SQL Database instance through the Azure portal or using Azure PowerShell. Once you have created the database, note down the server name, database name, username, and password.
  • Download and install the Data Migration Assistant tool from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Run an assessment using Data Migration Assistant to ensure your SQL Server databases are compatible with Azure SQL Database.
  • Once you’ve completed the assessment and are confident that your SQL Server databases are compatible with Azure SQL Database, you can start the migration process. To do this, follow these steps:
  • Open the Data Migration Assistant tool.
  • Click on the “New Migration Project” button and provide a name for your migration project.
  • Select the source server (your on-premises SQL Server instance) and the target server (your Azure SQL Database instance).
  • Select the databases that you want to migrate.
  • Configure the migration settings and start the migration.


Here is a sample code to start the migration process using PowerShell:

# Connect to the Azure account


# Define the source and target server credentials

$sourceServer = “source-server”

$sourceDatabase = “source-database”

$sourceUsername = “source-username”

$sourcePassword = “source-password”

$targetServer = “”

$targetDatabase = “target-database”

$targetUsername = “target-username”

$targetPassword = “target-password”

# Define the migration settings

$migrationSettings = New-DmsAzureSqlDatabaseMigrationSetting `

    -BlockOnPossibleDataLoss `

    -EnableDataIntegrityValidation `

    -EnableQueryAnalysisValidation `

    -EnableSchemaValidation `

    -EnableServerConnectionValidation `


# Start the migration

Start-DmsMigration `

    -InputObject (New-DmsAzureSqlDatabaseMigrationTask `

        -TaskName “MyMigration” `

        -SourceConnection (New-DmsConnection `

            -ServerName $sourceServer `

            -DatabaseName $sourceDatabase `

            -UserName $sourceUsername `

            -Password $sourcePassword) `

        -TargetConnection (New-DmsConnection `

            -ServerName $targetServer `

            -DatabaseName $targetDatabase `

            -UserName $targetUsername `

            -Password $targetPassword) `

        -Settings $migrationSettings)

Note: The above PowerShell code uses the Azure PowerShell module, which must be installed before executing the code.

Migrate SQL Server to Azure in Simple Steps 

Organizations are migrating their on-premise data to the cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP. Microsoft Azure is known to offer high security, reliability, and scalability. A step-by-step cloud migration strategy will help you streamline the migration process without losing your crucial business data. 

If you find it complicated to choose the appropriate tools or execute the migration, contact Inferenz experts today. We have a team of data and cloud migration experts who can help you with an SQL to Azure migration strategy that meets your needs and preferences.