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Today, increasingly more businesses and individuals are adopting data warehouses on the Microsoft Azure platform. However, many time, customers are not always clear on whether to go with Azure SQL database or Azure Synapse Analytics for their data store needs. Further on in this article, we will present the key differences between the two so you can take a call on which is best suited for you business requirements.

The two (Azure SQL DB and Azure Synapse) are similar in that they are PaaS options provided on the Microsoft Azure platform that offers parallel processing to distribute all the data analysis functions across multiple nodes in the cloud. However, they also have many differences and gaining an understanding of these can help you choose the right fit for your Azure SQL Data Warehouse needs as well as your analysis and reporting needs.

However, before diving into their differences, let's first take a look at what these are and their benefits.

Azure Synapse Analytics

This is an unlimited solution for data analytics that brings the best of big data analysis, computation, and data storage together. It provides a single workload during robust data processing for immediate business intelligence results and data prediction, Azure Synapse Serverless is also easily integrated with Power BI and Azure Machine Learning and therefore has the ability to provide machine learning capability through the ONNX format. If you are looking to integrate Azure Synapse Analytics or Azure Synapse Unified Analytics in your Synapse Dedicated SQL Pool vs Serverless SQL pool, you can do so.

Some benefits of Azure Synapse Analytics are -

  1. Users can augment data lakes with features like event hubs and IoT making streaming possible in one centralized platform.
  2. Full CSV support is provided for a wide range of file types
  3. It reportedly costs 94% less and is 14 times faster than other cloud providers.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database

SQL database differs from Synapse in that it is a database-as-a-service platform specifically created for the cloud. It is a key component of Microsoft's cloud infrastructure offerings and provides database managed cloud service with a petabyte-scale infrastructure.

Some key benefits of Azure SQL database are -

  1. Physical hardware is not required as the SQL database is hosted by Microsoft in the cloud
  2. It is familiar to developes who have worked on SQL server, making it more readily implementable.
  3. It provides various deployment options, including single databases, managed instances, and elastic pools.

Now that we have an idea of these two cloud solutions, let's look at their differences.

  1. Database Size

    Azure Synapse is a good fit for workloads and data sizes of 1TB and more. It also provides a maximum of 240 TB data base limit for the row store and unlimited storage for column store tables. For small database sizes, SQL database is a good option since it can scale-up efficiently to handle smaller workloads.

  2. Concurrent Query Users

    Azure Synapse provides a maximum of 128 concurrent queries that is further supported with Azure Analysis service or Azure SQL DB. Azure SQL DB can handle large numbers of active users for dashboard and reporting purposes on a smaller databases.

  3. Type of Workload

    Synapse is good for OLAP workloads with a set volume of writes and reads. However, for smaller data loads, SQL database can handle these tasks better.

  4. Scalability

    Azure Synapse provides the ability to scale the SQL pool by increasing or decreasing the data units linearly. For small data loads with simple query patterns, SQL database is more efficient.

  5. Always Encrypted

    The Always Encrypted feature was created and designed to protect sensitive data. While Azure SQL database supports it, Azure Synapse does not.

Outsource Your Cloud Data Requirements to Flatworld Solutions

Flatworld Solutions is a leading provider of cloud solutions to companies looking to move their operations and data to the cloud. We have been providing custom software design and development solutions to clients from across the world for over 20 years. During this time, we have also gained significant expertise in deploying Azure SQL Data Warehouses and Azure Synapse Analytics.

If you are looking for help to choose the right cloud deployment for your business, get in touch with us now.

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