Restoring into an Azure Managed Instance from SQL 2014

We are in the process of setting up our azure environment, and using managed instances is something that lets us efficiently move from an on premise legacy world to a similar setup inside Azure. I’ve just completed my first migration of moving from SQL Server 2014 On premise, onto a SQL Managed Instance running SQL Azure Database V12. There are several functional steps that need to be followed succintly to complete the migration of data which i’ll try to cover off below.

Creating an Azure Storage Container

Similar to S3, Azure has storage accounts which can store multiple blob containers (folders). The general heirarchy of this is:

  --Resource Group
    --Storage Account
      --Storage Container

The Storage Account can be set to only allow certain ranges of IP’s (IP Whitelist) to access the data, and for best practice this should be set.

The blob storage should be set to type private to prevent anonymous access – depending on what is being stored, but for databases i’d say this should be the default position.

Backup a SQL 2014 DB to Azure Storage Blob

To be able to talk to the blob storage, we need to provide a credential for SQL Server to use, which has a login access key to the storage account.

USE master 
CREATE CREDENTIAL [backups] -- name of the credential 
WITH IDENTITY='my_storage_account' -- storage account name. 
, SECRET = 'one_of_the_two_storage_keys_for_the_account' -- this is the access key token 

NOTE: If you try to use a Shared Access Signature (SAS) on SQL Server 2014, it will fail to decode the signature when trying to use it. Follow this document to create a SQL 2014 Credential

Error if using SAS on SQL 2014:

Msg 3298, Level 16, State 2, Line 11
Backup/Restore to URL device error: Error while decoding the storage key.
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 11
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

To see the credentials that are in place on SQL Server:

select * from sys.credentials

At, this point we can start referencing the credential to backup to a URL based location:

TO URL = 'https://<storage_account><storage_container>/mydatabase.bak'

Restore a SQL 2014 Backup to SQL Azure Managed Instance

To be able to allow a SQL Azure database to talk to blob storage, we need to provide a credential using a Shared Access Signature (SAS).

To create a SAS, you need to generate a signature from within the Storage Account in the azure portal. Set an expiry on the SAS to give some added security.

NOTE: Remember to remove the intial ? from the generated SAS key otherwise the key will be invalid.

USE master 
CREATE CREDENTIAL [https://<storage_account><storage_container>] -- this name must match the container path, start with https and must not contain a trailing forward slash. 
WITH IDENTITY='SHARED ACCESS SIGNATURE' -- this is a mandatory string and do not change it. 
, SECRET = 'sas_key' -- this is the shared access signature token 

Run the restore:

FROM URL = 'https://<storage_account><storage_container>/mydatabase.bak'

NOTE: Notice that there are no WITH clauses in the restore as these are not supported in SQL Azure. Normally you would have a STATS clause to monitor the restore, but this can be done either via sys.dm_exec_requests – precent_complete column or by downloading sp_whoIsActive – check out Brent Ozar’s Post on this

If you’re happy with the restored database, then it can be changed to 2017 compatibility if the application for the database supports it.

USE [master]



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