Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server

Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server extends Azure services to SQL Server instances hosted outside of Azure: in your data center, in edge site locations like retail stores, or any public cloud or hosting provider.

Manage your SQL Servers at-scale from a single point of control

Azure Arc enables you to manage all of your SQL Servers from a single point of control: Azure. As you connect your SQL Servers to Azure, you get a single place to view the detailed inventory of your SQL Servers and databases.

  • Look at details for a given SQL Server in the Azure portal such as the name, version, edition, number of cores, and host operating system.
  • Query across all of your SQL Servers using Azure Resource Graph Explorer to answer questions like:
    • "How many SQL Servers do I have that are SQL Server 2014?"
    • "What are the names of all the SQL Servers that are running on Linux?"
  • Quickly create charts from these queries and pin them to customizable dashboards.
  • View a list of every database on a SQL Server and do cross-SQL Server queries of databases to see:
    • Databases that haven't been backed up recently.
    • Databases that aren't encrypted.

A screenshot of the Arc-enabled SQL Server dashboard from Azure portal.

Best practices assessment

You can optimize the configuration of your SQL Servers for best performance and security by running a best practices assessment. The assessment report shows you specific ways to improve your configuration to match the best practices established by Microsoft Support through many years of experience learning from real-world usage of SQL Server. Each suggestion includes the details on how to change the configuration.

Azure Active Directory authentication

New in SQL Server 2022, you can enable Azure Active Directory for authentication to SQL Server. This feature requires using Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server to establish the secure connection to Azure Active Directory for performing the authentication.

Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Microsoft Defender for Cloud helps you discover and mitigate potential database vulnerabilities and alerts you to anomalous activities that may be an indication of a threat to your databases on Arc-enabled SQL Servers

  • Vulnerability assessment: Scan databases to discover, track, and remediate vulnerabilities.
  • Threat protection: Receive detailed security alerts and recommended actions based on SQL Advanced Threat Protection to provide to mitigate threats.

When you enable Microsoft Defender through Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server, you can get substantial cost savings on Defender.

Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Purview provides a unified data governance solution to help manage and govern your on-premises, multicloud, and software as a service (SaaS) data. Easily create a holistic, up-to-date map of your data landscape with automated data discovery, sensitive data classification, and end-to-end data lineage. Enable data consumers to access valuable, trustworthy data management.

Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server powers some of the Microsoft Purview features such as access policies and it generally makes it easier for you to get your SQL Servers connected into Purview.

Pay-as-you-go for SQL Server

Now, with Azure Arc-enabled SQL Serves connected to Azure, you have the option of purchasing SQL Server using a 'pay-as-you-go' model instead of purchasing licenses. This model is a great alternative if you are looking to save costs on SQL Servers that have variable demand for compute capacity over time such as when you can turn off a SQL Server at night or on weekends, or even just scale down the number of cores that is using during less busy times. It's also a great option if you only plan to use a SQL Server for a short period of time and then won't need it anymore. Pay-as-you-go, billed through Azure, is now available for all versions of SQL Server from 2014 to 2022.


The SQL Server instance that you want to enable with Azure Arc can be installed in a virtual or physical machine running Windows or Linux. The Azure Connected Machine agent and the Azure Extension for SQL Server securely connect to Azure to establish communication channels with multiple Azure services using only outbound HTTPS traffic on TCP port 443 using SSL. The Azure Connected Machine agent can communicate through a configurable HTTPS proxy server over Azure Express Route, Azure Private Link or over the Internet. Review the overview, network requirements and prerequisites for the Azure Connected Machine agent.

Some of the services provided by Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server, such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud and best practices assessment, require the Azure Monitoring agent (AMA) extension to be installed and connected to an Azure Log Analytics workspace for data collection and reporting.

The following diagram illustrates the architecture of Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server.

Diagram of the architecture for Azure Arc-enabled SQL Server.

Feature availability depending on license type

The following table identifies features enabled depending on license type:

Feature License only * License with Software Assurance
or SQL subscription
Connect to Azure Yes Yes Yes
SQL Server inventory Yes Yes Yes
Best practices assessment No Yes Yes
Detailed database inventory No Yes Yes
Azure Active Directory authentication No Yes Yes
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Purview Yes Yes Yes

*License only includes SQL Server instances that are Developer, Express, Web or Evaluation Edition and instances using a Server/CAL license.

Feature availability by operating system

The following table identifies features available by operating system:

Feature Windows Linux
Discover and register SQL Servers in Azure Yes Yes
Use Azure Policy to onboard SQL Server instances at scale Yes Yes
Azure pay-as-you-go billing Yes Yes
Install Azure extension for SQL Server during setup * Yes No
Best practices assessment Yes No
Detailed database inventory Yes No
Azure Active Directory authentication Yes Yes
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Yes No
Microsoft Purview Yes Yes
SQL Server 2012 extended security updates Yes Not applicable

* SQL Server 2022 (16.x) only.

Supported Azure regions

Arc-enabled SQL Server is available in the following regions:

  • East US
  • East US 2
  • West US
  • West US 2
  • West US 3
  • Central US
  • North Central US
  • South Central US
  • Canada Central
  • UK South
  • France Central
  • West Europe
  • North Europe
  • Japan East
  • Korea Central
  • East Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Australia East

Next steps