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Azure Managed Instance SQL 2022 Update Policy. Well that potentially sucks.

Ah, SQL 2022, the release that finally brought box SQL and Azure managed instance closer together. We have wonderful toys such as Managed Instance Link, allowing us to connect our SQL 2022 on prem instances with Managed Instance Link. It waslike the first real effort to integrate modern Azure offerings with those who also need / prefer an On Prem presence.

EDIT: After the initial release, some of the Product owners of Managed Instance got involved and started discussing my points on this one. I appreciate the time they've taken to point me in the direction of documentation/blogs where this was discussed previously and information was already out there.

So what's this Update policy?

"The update policy is an instance setting that controls access to the latest SQL engine features in Azure."

Pardon? so are you suggesting I won't get that anyway?

Update Policies

  • SQL Server 2022 update policy: The instance can only use SQL engine features available in SQL Server 2022 as the internal database format is aligned with SQL Server 2022.

  • The SQL Server 2022 update policy is the default update policy for all existing and newly deployed instances.

  • Your internal database format remains aligned with SQL Server 2022.

  • You receive all the latest updates available for SQL Server 2022.

  • You can restore your database to SQL Server 2022 from Azure SQL Managed Instance.

  • You can configure a link for real-time data replication, bidirectional failover, and disaster recovery between SQL Server 2022 and Azure SQL Managed Instance.

OK, great, this is as per our box version SQL 2022. Formats are the same, carry on as promised. We can restore back to On Prem, a nice escape route for our data out of the clous.

  • Always-up-to-date update policy: The instance has access to all SQL engine features as soon as they're available in Azure. The internal database format is no longer aligned with the latest version of SQL Server, and instead evolves with each newly introduced feature.

Ah, ok.... so this is now the policy that we need to use in order to keep getting all of the latest bells and whistles.

And now the pain.

Ah, but wait.... carry on reading...

Once the Always-up-to-date policy is enabled, you can't go back to the SQL Server 2022 update policy.

Oh, so it's a one shot deal. Once you pop, that's it, you're stopped.


You lose some of the benefits provided by database format alignment with SQL Server 2022, such as the ability to restore your database to SQL Server 2022, and bidirectional failover between your instance and SQL Server 2022 with the link feature.

No Comprende

What? So now the internal database format is different, it isn't compatible with SQL 2022 box product anymore? So we can't restore back to OnPrem, or use it in Managed Instance Link now. Oh, all those features that were promoted hugely when 2022 was being released?

From the discussions with Microsoft folk since, this information was out there, just maybe not as 'Front and Centre' as i'd have liked it.


"By default, your managed instances will keep database format aligned with SQL Server 2022 until the end of the SQL Server 2022 mainstream support period. At that time, the instances will be automatically upgraded to the database format compatible with the next Generally Available version of SQL Server."

So it will work until Jan 11, 2028, then it won't. If you want to restore direct, or bounce to an on Prem DR node via managed link, after this, your version needs to be the latest and greatest. It means you're always on a timer.

"Database backups taken from instances configured with the SQL Server 2022 update policy can be restored to instances configured with either the SQL Server 2022 or Always-up-to-date update policy. Database backups taken from instances configured with the Always-up-to-date update policy can only be restored to instances also configured with the Always-up-to-date update policy."

MI Link

This could also force your hand in regards a decision with MI Link to SQL 2022, I say could as this is not GA yet. Keep in mind though that this details above could still prove influencial though, compatible and functioning, until it isn't.

But, isn't it like a Compatability Level?

Well yes, as in it controls access to the features available... but no, as a compatibilty level doesn't stop access to fundamental features which would have been a major draw in the first place AND it's a one shot deal. There is no 'chopping and changing' between levels to see how things pan out for you.

Make your decision, boom, if its short sighted, tough, your problem.

Still Sucky imo

Given that the Microsoft product pipeline will be mapped out years in advance,and the documentation, this was always going to be the case? Personally it sits as well with me as a Size 9 Dr. Martin drop kick to the teeth.

Obviously, the may not make a difference to many companies out there, they have no intention of utilizing any On Prem products, but for those of us that do...?

And a decent escape plan from the cloud for DBs and data that we thought we had long term? ...well that tunnel will now become more restricted as time moves on as more features become 'Always-up-to-date' policy only. The resolution to this is that you will have to maintain the latest versions of SQL Server on Premises as well in order to do this, on someone else's timeline.

I'll happily admit when I wasn't correct, which here I wasn't as I wasn't aware of the notes in documentaion above, so have amended this post. Also, for completeness, I have zero problem with the Technical challenges that MS are having to deal with. My beef is still with how this was all marketed, still feels like a bit of product misdirection and messing about of customer trust if you ask me.

Less unimpressed now as I was, but still really cautious of where this particular tech goes.

Maybe I just fell for believing the salesman....who knows?



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