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How to: Create an Azure VM with SQL Server using a default template

One of the really cool things about the cloud is how quickly you can spin up a new machine to work with. In the case of SQL Server professionals we want SQL Server installed on that machine, and the easiest way to get it is to one of the default templates provided by Microsoft. There are a fair number of options including (among others):

  • SQL Server 2016 SP1 Standard on Windows Server 2016
  • SQL Server AlwaysOn Cluster
  • Free License: SQL Server 2016 SP1 Developer on Windows Server 2016
  • SQL 2017 Developer edition on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 (RHEL)
  • SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Windows Server 2016

And like I said, it’s pretty easy to do. Here is a quick run through of the process:

Now the down side. Everything is done according to the template. There are very few options provided:

  • SQL Connectivity
  • Port #
  • Windows only Authentication or Windows & SQL Auth
  • When will it be patched?
  • Automated backups
  • Azure Key Vault integration
  • R Services

Which is great, but here are a few things that aren’t included (just to name a few).

  • Default collation
  • Location of the install files
  • Location of the system databases
  • Instance name
  • Number of tempdb files

Now a lot of that can be fixed after the fact, but not necessiarly easily, and some of it just can’t be changed.

So, conclusion? Using the built-in templates is great for playing around, practice etc. But while it might work for a production system, it doesn’t really have all of the flexibility you might want.


My name is Kenneth Fisher and I am Senior DBA for a large (multi-national) insurance company. I have been working with databases for over 20 years starting with Clarion and Foxpro. I’ve been working with SQL Server for 12 years but have only really started “studying” the subject for the last 3. I don’t have any real "specialities" but I enjoy trouble shooting and teaching. Thus far I’ve earned by MCITP Database Administrator 2008, MCTS Database Administrator 2005, and MCTS Database Developer 2008. I’m currently studying for my MCITP Database Developer 2008 and should start in on the 2012 exams next year. My blog is at www.sqlstudies.com.


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