Migrating your SQL Azure servers from v11 to v12

Since January 29, 2015, version 12 of Sql Server “in the cloud” (Azure SQL Server) has been in “General Availability” in West Europe. At the beginning of March of the same year we decided to migrate our Azure databases to this newer version of the popular DB engine.

Version 12 offers:

  • better compatibility with tools and features of “on premise” Sql Server
  • better performance (25%)
  • same price of v11 (or even a discount until the end of March 2015).

There are two ways to update, according to this Microsoft article:

  • either you create a copy of your server, update it and change the connection string when the copy is done
  • or you directly upgrade the version 11 of your server, which is a bit more scary but definitely easier (to make you feel safer, the article says that the upgrade is transactional, by which I mean: if it fails, v11 is restored)

In both cases, the new server and DB instances will be have to be managed via the new portal (portal.azure.com, which, as of today, March 8 2015, is still in “preview” mode) rather than the “classic” portal (manage.windowsazure.com).

How we migrated our Azure SQL from v11 to v12

Before the migration, we backed up the databases contained in the server we wanted to migrate. We did it using the new portal’s “export” feature (from the “browse” icon, you go to “SQL Databases”, choose the database and click on the “export” icon. The destination of the backup is an Azure storage area you already have or create contextually.)

Export SQL Azure Database before migration to v 12

Export SQL Azure Database before migration to v 12

Next up, we upgraded the whole Server. We went back to the “browse” icon, chose the SQL server to upgrade (you don’t upgrade a single database: you upgrade the server). We clicked on “settings” and “Latest update” and here the option to upgrade became available:

Migration of SQL Azure Server to v12

Migration of SQL Azure Server to v12

For the portal to be sure you want to do the migration, you have to re-type the server name. After that, the upgrade begins:

SQL Azure v 12 upgrade

Upgrade of SQL Azure to v 12 in progress

After ten minutes (the server only has a 100 MB DB), the server was correctly updated to v12. All client functionalities seem OK now.

Pingdom says the site is slightly faster. Of course this might be related to a bevy of other reasons, but one of this might be the better performance of v12, mightn’t it?

The new SQL Azure v 12 DB

The new SQL Azure v 12 DB

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