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Which Is Best for Your MariaDB Cloud Migration: Azure or an Azure VM?

Author: Srinivasa Krishna | | August 26, 2021


MariaDB is a powerful open-source relational database that can expand to even more functionality when you migrate it to Azure Database for MariaDB. This Microsoft cloud service is built off the community edition and offers a fully managed experience suitable for many use cases.

The Benefits of Moving to Azure for MariaDB

Azure’s cloud platform offers many benefits, especially if you’re migrating an on-premises MariaDB database.

  • Scaling your capacity on an as-needed basis, with changes happening within seconds.
  • High availability is built-in to the platform and doesn’t require additional costs to implement.
  • Cost-effective pay-as-you-go pricing model.
  • Your backup and recovery processes are covered, with support for point-in-time restoration reaching up to 35 days.
  • Enterprise-grade security that keeps your data safe whether it’s in transit or at rest.
  • The underlying infrastructure is managed, and many processes are automated to reduce administrative load on your end.
  • Continue using the MariaDB tools and technology that you’re familiar with while taking advantage of Microsoft Azure’s robust platform.

Migration Options for Azure Database for MariaDB 

If you want to move your MariaDB databases to Azure, you have two migration options: Azure Database for MariaDB or MariaDB on an Azure-hosted virtual machine. The right choice for your organization depends on the feature set you’re looking for and how much control you want over the underlying infrastructure.

Azure Database for MariaDB

Azure Database for MariaDB is a Database as a Service (DBaaS) and handles the vast majority of underlying administration and maintenance for your databases. The platform uses MariaDB Community Edition. The pricing model for this service is pay-as-you-go, and you’re able to scale your resources easily based on your current demand.

You have high availability databases right from the start of your service, and you never need to worry about applying patches, restoring databases in the event of an outage, or fixing failed hardware.

Since this migration option is a fully managed service, you have several limitations to contend with. These include:

  • You cannot use MyISAM, BLACKHOLE, or ARCHIVE for your storage engine.
  • No direct access to the underlying file system.
  • Several roles are restricted or not supported, such as DBA, SUPER privilege, and DEFINER.
  • Unable to change the MySQL system database.
  • Server storage size only scales up, not down.
  • You can’t use dynamic scaling to or from Basic pricing tiers.
  • Password plugins are not supported.
  • Several minimum and maximum database values are dictated by your pricing tier.

MariaDB on Azure VM

MariaDB on Azure VM is an Infrastructure as a Service solution. Azure fully manages the virtual machine, but you retain control over everything else. One of the biggest benefits of this migration option is that it allows you to use the exact MariaDB version that you want to. You’re also able to make the optimizations and tweaks needed to get the most out of your database engine.

The biggest drawback of MariaDB on Azure VM is that you’re controlling everything other than the VM itself. You have a significant amount of configuration and maintenance tasks that your database administrators are responsible for.

Which MariaDB Migration Option Is Best for Your Organization?

Both MariaDB migration options have their merits. The right option for your organization varies based on your use cases, the technical resources at your disposal, your budget, and the pace of your MariaDB project.

Azure Database for MariaDB

  • Azure Database for MariaDB is billed hourly with fixed, predictable rates. It offers a more cost-effective experience than a comparable Azure VM deployment.
  • Another area of cost savings comes from not needing to manage the underlying infrastructure. Azure handles the database engine, hardware, operating system, and software needed to run MariaDB. Your database administrators don’t need to worry about patching, configuring, or troubleshooting anything relating to this part of the infrastructure. They can focus on optimizing your databases, tuning queries and indexes, configuring sign-ins, and handling audits.
  • Your databases gain built-in high availability that comes with a 99.99% SLA guarantee.
  • All of your MariaDB data is replicated automatically as part of the disaster recovery functionality.
  • In the event of a server failure, your MariaDB database has a transparent fail-over in place.
  • Azure Database for MariaDB scales seamlessly to handle workloads, with managed load balancing.
  • Use the data-in replication feature to create a hybrid MariaDB environment. You’re able to sync data from an external MariaDB server to Azure Database for MariaDB. The external server can be a virtual machine, an on-premises server, or even another cloud database service.
  • Advanced threat detection helps to identify potential cyberattacks proactively to protect your databases better.
  • Customizable monitoring and alerting keep you in the loop on your database’s activity.
  • The ideal use cases for Azure Database for MariaDB include projects that require a fast time to market, cost-conscious organizations, organizations with limited technical resources, workloads that need to handle fluctuating demands, and organizations that want an easy-to-deploy managed database.

MariaDB on Azure VM 

  • Your costs include the provisioned VM, the MariaDB license, and the staff to handle the administrative overhead. However, these expenses are often less than an on-premises deployment.
  • You can run any version of MariaDB, which offers more flexibility than the managed database service.
  • You can achieve more than 99.99% database availability by configuring more high availability features for your MariaDB database, although this will drive up the cost.
  • You have full control over when you update the underlying operating system and database software, which allows you to plan around new features and maintenance windows. Azure VM provides automated functionality that streamlines some of these processes.
  • Install additional software to support your MariaDB deployment.
  • Define the exact size of the VM, the number of disks, and the storage configuration used for your MariaDB databases.
  • Zone redundancy is supported with this migration option.
  • The ideal use cases for MariaDB on Azure VM migrating existing on-premises applications and databases into the cloud without needing to rearchitect any layers.

Preparing for Your MariaDB Azure Migration

Moving your on-premises MariaDB database to one of Azure’s cloud-based options is a complex process. Datavail is here to help with that process. We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner and one of Microsoft’s Preferred Azure Partners for Enterprise and Mid-Market companies. With over 50 Azure certified architects and engineers, we can take you from start to finish and beyond with your migration. Contact us to learn more about our Azure services and MariaDB expertise.


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