Update on Azure SQL Database V12 and SQL Server 2016 in Azure

In my previous post “Azure SQL Database and SQL Server on Azure” of December 22, 2015 I already shared some info on using Azure SQL Database and running SQL Server on Azure.  In the same post, I also shared some info on preparing for the Azure Exam “473 – Design and Implement Cloud Data Platform Solutions“, which was still in beta at that time. I passed the exam!

As most of the info in the previous post still applies, I will give a quick heads up on what’s new for running SQL in Azure PaaS and IaaS:

Microsoft’s key goal for SQL Database V12 was to improve the compatibility with Microsoft SQL Server 2014, and to maintain the compatibility as new versions of SQL Server are released. In SQL Database V12 a lot of functionality is now at the same level as SQL Server. The list of features not yet supported in SQL Database can be found here.

As from June 2016, all newly created databases on Azure SQL Database V12 will have their compatibility level set to 130, which matches Microsoft SQL Server 2016 GA.

When you prefer, you can still set the compatibility level to 120 with use of:  ALTER DATABASE YourDatabase SET COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL = 120.

Databases created before June 2016 will maintain their compatibility level, also after upgrading it from V11 to V12.


SQL Server 2016 is build to optimize Hybrid scenario’s. The list of supported scenarios includes Stretch Database, Always Encrypted, faster hybrid backups, high availability, disaster recovery scenarios to back up and restore on-premises databases to Microsoft Azure and placement of the SQL Server AlwaysOn secondary in Azure.

The SQL Server Video’s and Posts on Channel 9 will get you up to speed and gives a good overview of the possibilities of SQL Server 2016 and SQL Database V12.

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