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Microsoft announced a smorgasbord of updates to its Azure cloud platform today, primarily aimed at helping companies migrate database workloads to its datacenters. These workloads are typically mission critical, and Microsoft’s service updates are aimed at making it easier to run them in Azure, which could motivate more customers to move their applications onto the tech titan’s cloud.

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, which provides customers with a Microsoft-managed version of SQL Server running in the cloud, is now available in public preview. To help customers move their workloads to that service, Microsoft announced that the Azure Database Migration Service now supports moving databases from on-premises SQL Server instances to SQL Database Managed Instances.

The Azure Hybrid Benefit will now provide customers with up to 30 percent savings on their SQL Database Managed Instance bill when they migrate their existing SQL Server licenses to the cloud. That could make migration easier for enterprises that have invested a ton of money in running SQL Server on premises.

In addition, the Azure Database Services for MySQL and PostgreSQL are generally available, providing customers with fully managed homes for their open source databases in Microsoft’s cloud. Those services are useful for companies that don’t want the headache of managing things like database scaling and patching, but still need the capabilities available from open source database software.

Azure Migrate, Microsoft’s software for planning cloud migrations, is generally available today as well. It gives customers information about how ready their workloads are to move to the cloud, helps with planning the transition between environments, and tells them what compute resources they’ll need.

All of these features are supposed to make it easier for customers to move over to Azure, at a time when Microsoft faces tough competition from the likes of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and other players.


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