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Best Practices for Configuring SQL on Azure IaaS VM

Best Practices for Configuring SQL on Azure IaaS VM

Running SQL Server workloads on Azure as IAAS (Infrastructure as a service) is becoming popular. With more SQL Servers running on Azure virtual machines, there has been a need to know how to effectively and efficiently one can run them with minimal bottlenecks.Best Practices for Configuring SQL on Azure IaaS VM

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In order to have the maximum performance out of your Azure VM’s, here are the list of steps to look out for:

  • A minimum of A2 Azure VM is recommended for running SQL workloads.
  • Ensure that the storage account and the VM are located in the same region to reduce any network latency
  • Azure Geo-Replication should be disabled at the storage level. This ensures maximum IOPS for SQL Server to use.
  • Do not use the “TEMP” storage for storing any SQL Server files like Log files and Data files.
  • Disable Data Disk Caching (caching policy = None)
  • Configure RAID or striping using multiple Data Disks for maximum Read-Write performance.
  • Format the Disk’s in 64 KB chunks. Do not use the default “File Allocation Units”
  • Ensure seperate disks for Log files (ldf’s) and Data files (mdf’s). This will get dedicate IOPS for both Data and log files.

Less than 10 ms – very good
Between 10 – 20 ms – okay
Between 20 – 50 ms – slow, needs attention
Greater than 50 ms – Serious I/O bottleneck

  • You need 2 ms – 5 ms of response time for the SQL Server Log files.
  • Enable “Page Compression” for Databases. Do not enable this feature if you have high CPU usage.
  • Disable “Autogrowth” for Databases & Tembdb
  • Do not keep the Database files on the default location. Move them to a different disk drive. This includes “System Databases”.
  • SQL Server Error Log’s and Trace Files should be pointing to a different Data Disk.
  • Enable “Lock Pages in Memory” feature. This is only applicable for SQL Server Enterprise Editions only.
  • Se Backup jobs to be saves directly on Azure Storage Blob’s.Best Practices for Configuring SQL on Azure IaaS VM
  • Enable and use “Buffer Pool Extension” on dedicated premium Azure Storage. These are SSD Disks and will give you close to 400 MB/s of throughput.
  • Configure Tempdb on SSD disks where possible.

Hope this covers the basics of what steps needs to be followed in order to run SQL Server more efficiently on Azure VM’s.


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