What's new in Azure SQL Database?

Applies to: Azure SQL Database

This article summarizes the documentation changes associated with new features and improvements in the recent releases of Azure SQL Database. To learn more about Azure SQL Database, see What is Azure SQL Database?.

Preview

The following table lists the features of Azure SQL Database that are currently in preview:

Feature Details
Approximate percentile Quickly compute percentiles for a large dataset with acceptable rank-based error bounds to help make rapid decisions by using approximate percentile aggregate functions.
Elastic jobs The elastic jobs feature is the SQL Server Agent replacement for Azure SQL Database as a PaaS offering.
Elastic queries The elastic queries feature allows for cross-database queries in Azure SQL Database.
Hyperscale short-term retention Retain backups from 1 up to 35 days for Hyperscale databases, and perform a point-in-time restore within the configured retention period.
Hyperscale RA-GZRS Store your Hyperscale database backups on read access geo-zone-redundancy (RA-GZRS) storage.
Invoke External REST endpoints Invoke HTTPS REST endpoint natively using a new system stored procedure.
JavaScript & Python bindings Use JavaScript or Python SQL bindings with Azure Functions.
Maintenance window advance notifications Advance notifications are available for databases configured to use a non-default maintenance window. Advance notifications for maintenance windows are in public preview for Azure SQL Database.
Query editor in the Azure portal The query editor in the portal allows you to run queries against your Azure SQL Database directly from the Azure portal.
SQL Analytics Azure SQL Analytics is an advanced cloud monitoring solution for monitoring performance of all of your Azure SQL databases at scale and across multiple subscriptions in a single view. Azure SQL Analytics collects and visualizes key performance metrics with built-in intelligence for performance troubleshooting.
SQL Database emulator The Azure SQL Database emulator provides the ability to locally validate database and query design together with client application code in a simple and frictionless model as part of the application development process.
SQL Database Projects extension An extension to develop databases for Azure SQL Database with Azure Data Studio and VS Code. A SQL project is a local representation of SQL objects that comprise the schema for a single database, such as tables, stored procedures, or functions.
SQL Insights SQL Insights is a comprehensive solution for monitoring any product in the Azure SQL family. SQL Insights (preview) uses dynamic management views to expose the data you need to monitor health, diagnose problems, and tune performance.
UMI for auditing Configure the storage account for your SQL auditing logs by using User Managed Identity (UMI).

General availability (GA)

The following table lists the features of Azure SQL Database that have transitioned from preview to general availability (GA) within the last 12 months:

Feature GA Month Details
Azure Synapse Link for Azure SQL Database November 2022 Azure Synapse Link for SQL enables near real time analytics over operational data in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server 2022.
Restore progress November 2022 Restore progress tracked in the percent_complete column sys.dm_operation_status.
Automated key rotation for TDE with CMK October 2022 Automatically switch to a new key when using a customer-managed key (CMK) for TDE with Azure SQL Database.
Database copy from Hyperscale replica October 2022 Use a Hyperscale geo-secondary replica as source for a database copy.
Reverse migrate from Hyperscale September 2022 Reverse migration to the General Purpose service tier allows customers who have recently migrated an existing database in Azure SQL Database to the Hyperscale service tier to move back in an emergency, should Hyperscale not meet their needs. While reverse migration is initiated by a service tier change, it's essentially a size-of-data move between different architectures.
Zone redundant configuration for Hyperscale databases August 2022 The zone redundant configuration feature utilizes Azure Availability Zones to replicate databases across multiple physical locations within an Azure region. By selecting zone redundancy, you can make your Hyperscale databases resilient to a much larger set of failures, including catastrophic datacenter outages, without any changes to the application logic.
Query Store hints August 2022 Use query hints to optimize your query execution via the OPTION clause.
Named Replicas for Hyperscale databases June 2022 Named Replicas enable a broad variety of read scale-out scenarios, and easily implement near-real time hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) solutions.
Active geo-replication and Auto-failover groups for Hyperscale databases June 2022 Active geo-replication and Auto-failover groups provide a turn-key business continuity solution for Hyperscale databases, letting you perform quick disaster recovery of databases in case of a regional disaster or a large scale outage.
Ledger May 2022 The ledger feature in Azure SQL Database allows you to cryptographically attest to other parties, such as auditors or other business parties, that your data hasn't been tampered with.
Change data capture April 2022 Change data capture (CDC) lets you track all the changes that occur on a database. Though this feature has been available for SQL Server for quite some time, using it with Azure SQL Database is now generally available.
Zone redundant configuration for General Purpose tier April 2022 The zone redundant configuration feature utilizes Azure Availability Zones to replicate databases across multiple physical locations within an Azure region. By selecting zone redundancy, you can make your provisioned and serverless General Purpose databases and elastic pools resilient to a much larger set of failures, including catastrophic datacenter outages, without any changes to the application logic.
Maintenance window March 2022 The maintenance window feature allows you to configure maintenance schedule for your Azure SQL Database. Maintenance window advance notifications, however, are in preview.
Storage redundancy for Hyperscale databases March 2022 When creating a Hyperscale database, you can choose your preferred storage type: read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), zone-redundant storage (ZRS), or locally redundant storage (LRS) Azure standard storage. The selected storage redundancy option will be used for the lifetime of the database for both data storage redundancy and backup storage redundancy.
Elastic transactions November 2021 Elastic transactions allow you to execute transactions distributed among cloud databases in Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance.
Azure Active Directory-only authentication November 2021 It's possible to configure your Azure SQL Database to allow authentication only from Azure Active Directory.
Azure AD service principal September 2021 Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) supports user creation in Azure SQL Database on behalf of Azure AD applications (service principals).
Audit management operations March 2021 Azure SQL audit capabilities enable you to audit operations done by Microsoft support engineers when they need to access your SQL assets during a support request, enabling more transparency in your workforce.

Documentation changes

Learn about significant changes to the Azure SQL Database documentation.

November 2022

Changes Details
Azure Synapse Link for SQL GA Azure Synapse Link for SQL, now generally available, enables near real-time analytics over operational data in SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL Database. With a seamless integration between operational stores and Azure Synapse Analytics dedicated SQL pools, Azure Synapse Link for SQL enables you to run analytics, business intelligence and machine learning scenarios on your operational data with minimum impact on source databases with a new change feed technology. For more information, see What is Azure Synapse Link for SQL?.
Invoke external REST endpoints preview It's now possible to call an HTTPS REST endpoint natively, using a new system stored procedure. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, review sp_invoke_external_rest_endpoint.
Restore progress GA Tracking the progress of your restore by using the percent_complete column sys.dm_operation_status is now generally available. For more information, read the Restore progress announcement blog post.

October 2022

Changes Details
Approximate percentiles preview Support has been added to quickly compute percentiles using approximate percentile aggregate functions for large datasets with acceptable rank-based error bounds. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, review Approx_Percentile_Cont and Approx_Percentile_Disc.
Automated TDE key rotation for CMK GA Automatically switch to a new key when using a customer-managed key (CMK) with TDE. This feature is now generally available. To learn more, review Automated key rotation.
Database copy of Hyperscale geo secondary replicas GA It's now possible to use a Hyperscale geo-secondary replica as source for a database copy. This feature is generally available. For more information, see Hyperscale service tier.

September 2022

Changes Details
Cross-subscription failover group with Azure PowerShell It's now possible to deploy your auto-failover group for a single database across subscriptions by using Azure PowerShell. To learn more, review Configure auto-failover group.
Hyperscale RA-GZRS preview It's now possible to choose read access geo-zone-redundancy (RA-GZRS) as a backup storage redundancy for Hyperscale databases. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, review Hyperscale backup storage redundancy.
Hyperscale tier long-term retention preview It's now possible to store your Hyperscale database backups for up to 10 years using the long-term retention (LTR) capability. This feature is now in preview. To learn more, review long-term retention.
UMI support for auditing preview It's now possible to configure the storage account used for SQL auditing logs by using User Managed Identity (UMI). This feature is currently in preview. Review auditing to learn more.
Reverse migrate from Hyperscale GA This feature allows customers who have recently migrated an existing database in Azure SQL Database to the Hyperscale service tier to move back in an emergency, should Hyperscale not meet their needs. While reverse migration is initiated by a service tier change, it's essentially a size-of-data move between different architectures. This feature is now generally available. To learn more, review Reverse migration to the General Purpose service tier.

August 2022

Changes Details
Zone redundant configuration for Hyperscale databases GA The zone redundant configuration feature utilizes Azure Availability Zones to replicate databases across multiple physical locations within an Azure region. By selecting zone redundancy, you can make your Hyperscale databases resilient to a much larger set of failures, including catastrophic datacenter outages, without any changes to the application logic. This configuration option is now generally available. To learn more, review Zone redundant configuration for Hyperscale databases.
Query Store hints GA You can use query hints to optimize your query execution via the OPTION clause. This feature is now generally available for Azure SQL Database. To learn more, review Query Store hints.

June 2022

Changes Details
Named Replicas for Hyperscale databases GA Named Replicas enable a broad variety of read scale-out scenarios, and easily implement near-real time hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) solutions. This feature is now generally available. See named replicas to learn more.
Active geo-replication and Auto-failover groups for Hyperscale databases GA Active geo-replication and Auto-failover groups are now generally available for Hyperscale databases, providing a turn-key business continuity solution, letting you perform quick disaster recovery of databases in case of a regional disaster or a large scale outage.

May 2022

Changes Details
Ledger GA The ledger feature in SQL Database is now generally available. Use the ledger feature to cryptographically attest to other parties, such as auditors or other business parties, that your data hasn't been tampered with. See Ledger to learn more.
JavaScript & Python bindings Support for JavaScript and Python SQL bindings for Azure Functions is currently in preview. See Azure SQL bindings for Azure Functions to learn more.
Local development experience The Azure SQL Database local development experience is a combination of tools and procedures that empowers application developers and database professionals to design, edit, build/validate, publish, and run database schemas for databases directly on their workstation using an Azure SQL Database containerized environment. To learn more, see Local development experience for Azure SQL Database.
SQL Database emulator The Azure SQL Database emulator provides the ability to locally validate database and query design together with client application code in a simple and frictionless model as part of the application development process. The SQL Database emulator is currently in preview. Review SQL Database emulator to learn more.
SDK-style SQL projects Use Microsoft.Build.Sql for SDK-style SQL projects in the SQL Database Projects extension in Azure Data Studio or Visual Studio Code. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, see SDK-style SQL projects.
Azure Synapse Link for SQL for Azure SQL Database Azure Synapse Link for SQL enables near real-time analytics over operational data in SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL Database. With a seamless integration between operational stores and Azure Synapse Analytics dedicated SQL pools, Azure Synapse Link for SQL enables you to run analytics, business intelligence and machine learning scenarios on your operational data with minimum impact on source databases with a new change feed technology. For more information, see What is Azure Synapse Link for SQL? (Preview).

April 2022

Changes Details
General Purpose tier Zone redundancy GA Enabling zone redundancy for your provisioned and serverless General Purpose databases and elastic pools is now generally available in select regions. To learn more, including region availability see General Purpose zone redundancy.
Change data capture GA Change data capture (CDC) lets you track all the changes that occur on a database. Though this feature has been available for SQL Server for quite some time, using it with Azure SQL Database is now generally available. To learn more, see Change data capture.

March 2022

Changes Details
GA for maintenance window The maintenance window feature allows you to configure a maintenance schedule for your Azure SQL Database and receive advance notifications of maintenance windows. Maintenance window advance notifications are in public preview for databases configured to use a non-default maintenance window.
Hyperscale zone redundant configuration preview It's now possible to create new Hyperscale databases with zone redundancy to make your databases resilient to a much larger set of failures. This feature is currently in preview for the Hyperscale service tier. To learn more, see Hyperscale zone redundancy.
Hyperscale storage redundancy GA Choosing your storage redundancy for your databases in the Hyperscale service tier is now generally available. See Configure backup storage redundancy to learn more.
Elastic transactions Elastic transactions allow you to execute distributed transactions among cloud databases in Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance. Elastic transactions are now generally available.

February 2022

Changes Details
Hyperscale reverse migration Reverse migration is now in preview. Reverse migration to the General Purpose service tier allows customers who have recently migrated an existing database in Azure SQL Database to the Hyperscale service tier to move back in an emergency, should Hyperscale not meet their needs. While reverse migration is initiated by a service tier change, it's essentially a size-of-data move between different architectures. Learn about reverse migration from Hyperscale. Update: This feature is now generally available as of September 2022.
New Hyperscale articles We have reorganized some existing content into new articles and added new content for Hyperscale. Learn about Hyperscale distributed functions architecture, how to manage a Hyperscale database, and how to create a Hyperscale database.
Free Azure SQL Database Try Azure SQL Database for free using the Azure free account. To learn more, review Try SQL Database for free.

2021

Changes Details
Azure AD-only authentication Restricting authentication to your Azure SQL Database only to Azure Active Directory users is now generally available. To learn more, see Azure AD-only authentication.
Split what's new The previously combined What's new article has been split by product - What's new in SQL Database and What's new in SQL Managed Instance, making it easier to identify what features are currently in preview, generally available, and significant documentation changes. Additionally, the Known Issues in SQL Managed Instance content has moved to its own page.
Maintenance Window support for availability zones You can now use the Maintenance Window feature if your Azure SQL Database is deployed to an availability zone. This feature is currently in preview.
Azure AD-only authentication It's now possible to restrict authentication to your Azure SQL Database to Azure Active Directory users only. This feature is currently in preview. To learn more, see Azure AD-only authentication.
Query store hints It's now possible to use query hints to optimize your query execution via the OPTION clause. To learn more, see Query store hints.
Change data capture Using change data capture (CDC) with Azure SQL Database is now in preview. To learn more, see Change data capture.
SQL Database ledger SQL Database ledger is in preview, and introduces the ability to cryptographically attest to other parties, such as auditors or other business parties, that your data hasn't been tampered with. To learn more, see Ledger.
Maintenance window The maintenance window feature allows you to configure a maintenance schedule for your Azure SQL Database, currently in preview. To learn more, see maintenance window.
SQL Insights SQL Insights is a comprehensive solution for monitoring any product in the Azure SQL family. The SQL Insights solution uses dynamic management views to expose the data you need to monitor health, diagnose problems, and tune performance. To learn more, see SQL Insights.

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To contribute to the Azure SQL documentation, see the Docs contributor guide.