Archive for January, 2014

Can we use Windows Azure SQL Databases for ConfigMgr 2012?

January 20, 2014

Demo

This question popped up when i was doing a demo ConfigMgr environment, running completely in Windows Azure.

Simple setup, All ConfigMgr roles on a single server, including local SQL DB.

For this, i used an  “A5” VM instance, which has 2 vCpu cores and 14 GB of RAM.

For storing the data, i attached a “persistent disk” , as that is storage that is guaranteed to remain persistent after reboot (don’t use the temp-disk!)

Costs

Now this is a costly machine, as running an A5 VM costs about 220 euros per month. (pricing)

And this is only the running of the VM, not taking into account the storage costs, download traffic costs, etc.

Now storage and download bandwidth are pretty cheap in Azure, compared to the computing costs.  But still, can we save money somewhere?

Cutting costs

So, can we cut the costs somehow? Do we need 2 cores and 14 GB of RAM?

The major reason for this amount of RAM is running the SQL server locally. If we could move that somewhere else, a “medium VM” with 2 cores and 3,5 GB would be sufficient.

This type of VM only costs about €100 per month. Quick saving, right?

Azure SQL

So, Azure also offers SQL Database services. And a lot cheaper (a default 5 GB CM database would cost about €20 per month)But are they suitable for running a ConfigMgr 2012 database?

Let’s compare the ConfigMgr Database Requirements, and the specifications for Azure SQL Databases.

Requirements

-1:  “At each site both the instance of SQL Server that is used for the site database and the site database must use the following collation: SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS.”

Well, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Although the site database cannot be configured in Azure (because it uses a shared sql server of course), the default collation for new databases is SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS. Which suggests that the Instance is also using that collation, but we cannot be sure at this point.

-2: “Configuration Manager requires Windows authentication to validate connections to the database.”

Whoops. That is a problem, since Azure does not support this. (Windows Authentication is not supported)

The Verdict

For those wondering if we can use Azure SQL DB services for hosting a ConfigMgr database:

– No, you cannot.

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