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Red Hat and Microsoft have been working closely to bring Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL 8) to Azure, offering a variety of images for different use case scenarios. Building upon the certification of SQL Server 2019 on RHEL 8 last January, Microsoft recently made Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) images for SQL Server 2019 on RHEL 8, which include the RHEL High Availability (HA) add-on available in the Azure marketplace.

So why include the RHEL High Availability add-on in these images?  

Azure has several built-in high availability mechanisms including service healing, and failure recovery detection for virtual machines. However, these solutions don’t take any actions for issues happening inside the VM. That’s where Red Hat Enterprise Linux HA add-on comes into play. 

With the latest available PAYG image, the RHEL HA add-on components are baked into the SQL Server for RHEL+HA VM image. This simplifies the experience of getting workloads running with HA after the image is deployed. By combining HA at the operating system scope, with the available Azure-only SQL Server disaster recovery options such as availability groups, and backup-restore with blob storage, you can confidently deploy mission-critical SQL Server based applications in the Azure cloud that meets your SLAs.

In addition to high availability, SQL Server 2019 on RHEL leverages several key improvements from RHEL 8 including accelerated performance, simplified management, and improved security features. 

From a performance perspective, there are several optimizations that boost the performance of database workloads running on RHEL in the Microsoft Azure cloud. To further improve I/O performance in the cloud for your SQL Server workload, you can also consider using read-only Microsoft Azure BlobCache with premium SSD managed disks, so that high-performance reads are served directly from the BlobCache with very low latency and lower costs.

SQL Server database administrators who are new to the Linux command line, can use the intuitive web console in RHEL to easily perform most common administrator tasks including starting, stopping or checking the status of services like SQL Server. The RHEL HA add-on also includes additional configuration and management tools such as the PCSD Web UI for setting up, configuring, and managing the RHEL cluster to ensure proper configuration and achieve trouble free operation.

Security is also an important aspect for any deployment. To stay ahead of critical security, compliance and configuration risks, Red Hat Insights strengthens SQL Server on RHEL by providing regularly updated operating system analytics and SQL Server-specific recommendations to quickly identify optimizations and proactively identify system risks and provide suggestions for remediation. Put simply, Red Hat Insights is about keeping RHEL systems operating as smoothly as possible wherever they may be deployed. To learn more about Red Hat Insights and how it works with SQL Server, check out the link here.

Get Started Today

To configure the SQL Server virtual machine for your scenario, and get started today in minutes:  

As we continue working together with Microsoft to enhance the experience for SQL Server on the RHEL platform in Azure, we hope that you try out the SQL Server 2019 on RHEL 8 Image in the Azure Marketplace. Attending Red Hat Virtual Summit this month? Join our demo filled Red Hat virtual summit session called  “Managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 for SQL Server database administrators” to learn more.

About the authors

Louis Imershein is a Product Manager at Red Hat focussed on Microsoft SQL Server and database workloads. He is responsible for working with Microsoft and Red Hat engineering to ensure that SQL Server performance, management, and security is optimized for Red Hat platforms. For more than 30 years, Louis has worked in technical support, engineering, software architecture, and product management on a wide range of OS, management, security, and storage software projects. Louis joined Red Hat as part of the acquisition of Permabit Technology Corporation, where he was VP of Product.

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Don Pinto is a Technical Product Marketing Manager at Red Hat focused on helping customers understand why Red Hat Enterprise Linux is an ideal operating system platform for modern application workloads. Pinto is passionate about data management and operating systems, having authored several technical blogs and white papers on various tech topics. Pinto holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada.

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