What is a logical SQL server in Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse?

Applies to: Azure SQL Database Azure Synapse Analytics

In Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics, a server is a logical construct that acts as a central administrative point for a collection of databases. At the logical server level, you can administer logins, firewall rules, auditing rules, threat detection policies, and auto-failover groups. A logical server can be in a different region than its resource group. The logical server must exist before you can create a database in Azure SQL Database or a dedicated SQL pool in Azure Synapse Analytics. All databases managed by a single logical server are created within the same region as the logical server.

This logical server is distinct from a SQL Server instance that you may be familiar with in the on-premises world. Specifically, there are no guarantees regarding location of the databases or dedicated SQL pool in relation to the server that manages them. Furthermore, neither Azure SQL Database nor Azure Synapse expose any instance-level access or features. In contrast, the instance databases in a managed instance are all physically co-located - in the same way that you are familiar with SQL Server in the on-premises or virtual machine world.

When you create a logical server, you provide a server login account and password that has administrative rights to the master database on that server and all databases created on that server. This initial account is a SQL login account. Azure SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics support SQL authentication and Azure Active Directory Authentication for authentication. For information about logins and authentication, see Managing Databases and Logins in Azure SQL Database. Windows Authentication is not supported.

A logical server in SQL Database and Azure Synapse Analytics:

  • Is created within an Azure subscription, but can be moved with its contained resources to another subscription
  • Is the parent resource for databases, elastic pools, and dedicated SQL pools
  • Provides a namespace for databases, elastic pools, and dedicated SQL pools
  • Is a logical container with strong lifetime semantics - delete a server and it deletes its databases, elastic pools, and SQK pools
  • Participates in Azure role-based access control (Azure RBAC) - databases, elastic pools, and dedicated SQL pools within a server inherit access rights from the server
  • Is a high-order element of the identity of databases, elastic pools, and dedicated SQL pools for Azure resource management purposes (see the URL scheme for databases and pools)
  • Collocates resources in a region
  • Provides a connection endpoint for database access (<serverName>.database.windows.net)
  • Provides access to metadata regarding contained resources via DMVs by connecting to a master database
  • Provides the scope for management policies that apply to its databases - logins, firewall, audit, threat detection, and such
  • Is restricted by a quota within the parent subscription (six servers per subscription by default - see Subscription limits here)
  • Provides the scope for database quota and DTU or vCore quota for the resources it contains (such as 45,000 DTU)
  • Is the versioning scope for capabilities enabled on contained resources
  • Server-level principal logins can manage all databases on a server
  • Can contain logins similar to those in instances of SQL Server in your on-premises environment that are granted access to one or more databases on the server, and can be granted limited administrative rights. For more information, see Logins.
  • The default collation for all databases created on a server is SQL_LATIN1_GENERAL_CP1_CI_AS, where LATIN1_GENERAL is English (United States), CP1 is code page 1252, CI is case-insensitive, and AS is accent-sensitive.

To create a managed instance, see Create a managed instance

Manage servers, databases, and firewalls

You can manage logical servers, databases, dedicated SQL pools, and firewalls by using the Azure portal, Azure PowerShell, the Azure CLI, Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and REST API.

You can create the resource group for a logical server ahead of time or while creating the server itself. There are multiple methods for getting to a new SQL server form, either by creating a new SQL server or as part of creating a new database.

Create a blank server

To create a blank logical server (without a database, elastic pool, or dedicated SQL pool) using the Azure portal, navigate to a blank SQL server (logical SQL server) form.

Create a blank or sample database in Azure SQL Database

To create a database in SQL Database using the Azure portal, navigate to create a new SQL Database and provide the requested information. You can create the resource group and server ahead of time or while creating the database itself. You can create a blank database or create a sample database based on AdventureWorksLT.

Screenshot of the first steps to create a new SQL Database in the Azure portal.

Important

For information on selecting the pricing tier for your database, see DTU-based purchasing model and vCore-based purchasing model.

Manage existing server

To manage an existing server, navigate to the server using a number of methods - such as from specific database page, the SQL servers page, or the All resources page.

To manage an existing database, navigate to the SQL databases page and select the database you wish to manage.

For example, to configure a firewall rule, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your database resource in the Azure portal. Select Set server firewall on the toolbar.

    A screenshot that shows where to copy your server name, and set server firewall on the toolbar.

  2. Set Public network access to Selected networks to reveal the virtual networks and firewall rules. When set to Disabled, virtual networks and firewall rule settings are hidden.

  3. Choose Add a firewall rule to configure the firewall.

    A screenshot that shows configuration of a server-level IP firewall rule.

Important

To configure performance properties for a database, see DTU-based purchasing model and vCore-based purchasing model.

Tip

For an Azure portal quickstart, see Create a database in SQL Database in the Azure portal.

Next steps