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  • Jonathan Works

Effortlessly Manage Your Azure SQL Server VMs with Azure SQL Server IaaS extension

Are you tired of manually managing and monitoring your SQL Server instances running on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) VMs? The Microsoft Azure SQL IaaS extension is here to help!


As a consultant, one question my clients frequently ask me is how they can simplify their operations and get the most value from Azure. While there are many different approaches to achieving this goal, one way that I always recommend is the Microsoft Azure SQL IaaS extension. This handy tool allows you to easily manage and monitor your SQL Server instances running on Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) VMs, making it a breeze to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.

So what exactly can the Azure SQL IaaS extension do for you? Here are the top five benefits of using this tool:

  1. Improved performance: One of the main benefits of the Azure SQL IaaS extension is the ability to improve the performance of your SQL Server instances. The extension includes performance-enhancing features such as Intelligent Performance and Query Store, which are designed to optimize your workloads and give your SQL Server instances a boost in performance.

  2. Enhanced security: The Azure SQL IaaS extension includes enhancements such as Advanced Threat Protection and Auditing. These features help protect your SQL Server instances from threats and ensure they comply with industry standards. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your SQL Server instances are secure and compliant.

  3. Easy management: The Azure SQL IaaS extension provides a central location for managing and monitoring your SQL Server instances, making it easier to keep track of their performance and security. This can save you time and effort by eliminating the need to manually manage your SQL Server instances.

  4. Cost savings: Using the Azure SQL IaaS extension can save money on your SQL Server licenses. The extension includes a license option to use your existing SQL Server licenses on Azure. This can help you save on license costs and simplify your license management.

  5. Improved availability: The Azure SQL IaaS extension includes features such as Always On Availability Groups and Failover Clustering, which can help improve the availability of your SQL Server instances. These features can help ensure that your SQL Server instances are always available and can fail over to a secondary server in the event of a failure.

To install the Azure SQL IaaS extension on your IaaS VMs from the Azure Portal, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Azure portal and navigate to your IaaS VM.

  2. Click on the "Extensions" blade and then click the "+ Add" button.

  3. In the "Add extension" blade, select "Microsoft.SqlServer.Management.SqlIaaSAgent" from the list of available extensions.

  4. Click the "Create" button to install the extension on your IaaS VM.

  5. Once the extension has been installed, you can use the Azure portal or SQL Server Management Studio to manage and monitor your SQL Server instances.

Now that you have the extension installed, one of the best things about the Azure SQL IaaS extension is that it can be easily managed and monitored through the Azure portal. Once you have installed the extension on your IaaS VM, you can use the Azure portal to view the status of your SQL Server instances, monitor their performance, and manage their security settings.

To use the Azure SQL IaaS extension in the Azure portal, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Azure portal and navigate to your IaaS VM.

  2. Click on the "Extensions" blade and then click on the Azure SQL IaaS extension that you have installed.

  3. In the extension blade, you will see a summary of the status and performance of your SQL Server instances. You can use this information to monitor the health and performance of your instances.

  4. To manage the security settings of your SQL Server instances, click on the "Security" tab in the extension blade. Here, you can enable features like Advanced Threat Protection and Auditing to help secure your instances and ensure they comply with industry standards.

In addition to using the Azure portal to manage and monitor your SQL Server instances, you can also use tools like SQL Server Management Studio to manage and monitor your instances. With the Azure SQL IaaS extension, you have various options for managing and monitoring your SQL Server instances, making it easy to keep them running smoothly and efficiently.


You can also automate the deployment of your SQL Server instances using Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates or Terraform.


ARM templates are JSON-based files that define the infrastructure and configuration of your Azure resources, including SQL Server instances. Using ARM templates, you can deploy your SQL Server instances repeatedly and consistently.

Terraform is another industry standard cloud automation tool that allows you to automate the deployment of your SQL Server instances on Azure. Terraform uses a declarative syntax to define your infrastructure, making it easy to deploy and manage your SQL Server instances.


Here is an example of Terraform code that can be used to automate the installation of the Azure SQL IaaS extension on an IaaS VM:

resource "azurerm_virtual_machine_extension" "sql_vm_extension" {
  name                 = "sql-vm-extension"
  location             = azurerm_resource_group.resource_group.location
  resource_group_name  = azurerm_resource_group.resource_group.name
  virtual_machine_name = azurerm_virtual_machine.vm.name
  publisher            = "Microsoft.SqlServer.Management"
  type                 = "SqlIaaSAgent"
  type_handler_version = "1.3"
}

I have to say – the Microsoft Azure SQL IaaS extension is hands down one of the most valuable tools out there for managing and monitoring your SQL Server instances on Azure IaaS VMs. It's super easy to use, has loads of performance and security enhancements, and can save you time and effort. Plus, with the bonus of being able to automate the deployment of your SQL Server instances with Terraform, it's a total game-changer.


For more information on using the Azure SQL IaaS extension and automating the deployment of your SQL Server instances with Terraform, check out the Microsoft documentation at the following link:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/sql/virtual-machines-windows-sql-management-extension

If you're running SQL Server on Azure IaaS VMs, give the Azure SQL IaaS extension a try today and see how much smoother and more efficient your SQL Server instances can be. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

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