Google Cloud | Database

Three Security And Scalability Improvements For Cloud SQL For SQL Server

As a product with a long history in the database ecosystem, SQL Server offers numerous native capabilities that help provide scalability and security to its users.  However, it can be time consuming and complex to take advantage of these features. Google Cloud SQL for SQL Server saves your team time by eliminating much of the unnecessary toil (OS patching, version upgrades, replica setup etc.) while still allowing you to leverage the functionality you’re used to. Three new features for Cloud SQL for SQL Server take its functionality even further. 

A few months ago, we announced Active Directory (AD) integration had entered preview; now, it is generally available. Equally exciting, we are releasing Cross-Region Replicas (based on SQL Server’s Always On Availability Groups) in preview.  Finally, you can try out this great new functionality in our managed database service with the latest release of SQL Server 2019, which is now generally available.  

Simple and Secure Windows Authentication with Active Directory

As one of the most requested and critical security capabilities for Cloud SQL for SQL Server, we are pleased to now provide Windows Authentication via Managed Service for Microsoft Active Directory as generally available. Customers should feel confident onboarding their business critical production workloads to the managed service while still maintaining the authentication best practices they rely on today.  While identities can be created and managed directly within the managed AD service, many customers choose to establish a trust relationship with their existing on-prem AD footprint to leverage existing identity objects.

What is Cross-Region Replica for SQL Server?

Bringing parity in the Cloud SQL portfolio alongside MySQL and PostgreSQL, Cross-region replica makes it easy to create a fully managed read replica in a different region than that of the primary instance. You can create a replica in any Google Cloud region.  The difference for SQL Server is the Availability Group based architecture that paves the way for the service to continue to offer more core compatibility with the SQL Server features our customers depend on. Cloud SQL greatly simplifies the traditional process of provisioning Availability Groups and streamlines it into a few-step workflow.

Click to enlarge

Using read replicas will allow you to horizontally scale your read workloads. For example, you can configure a reporting dashboard to work against a read replica, and because it’s only reading, it will not affect the primary instance. You can also promote replicas to be Cloud SQL instances and that could help you reduce your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). It can help you with the RPO because the data is constantly replicated and the replica is probably more up to date than your latest backup. It can help you with RTO because promoting the replica, especially in an automated way, is a relatively short process. To get started, check out the documentation for Cross-Region Replica

What’s new in SQL Server 2019?

Providing the most current major and minor versions is a key aspect of maintaining compatibility and security for your database workload. Cloud SQL provides an easy provisioning experience that will now allow you to select from four editions of SQL Server 2019 similar to our current SQL Server 2017 options of Enterprise, Standard, Web, and Express. A few key considerations as you are evaluating the new version should be:

  • Compatibility level – A newly created database on a Cloud SQL for SQL Server 2019 Databases instance has a compatibility level of 150 by default.  
  • Accelerated Database Recovery – Allows instances to reduce the availability impact of restarts and shutdowns.
  • TempDB changes – While we recently provided you more control to manage your tempdb files, 2019 also brings optimization to improve performance as well.
  • Intelligent query processing – SQL Server 2019 provides direct improvements to the query engine itself which may improve overall query processing and performance.
  • Many other performance improvements – capabilities such as verbose truncation warnings, resumable index build, and others.  Learn more about supported features here.

To get started, check out documentation for  SQL Server 2019

In conclusion

These three features have been the most common requests from our enterprise customers. Finally, you can bring your own Active Directory domain for SQL Server authentication and authorization, use the latest features from SQL Server 2019 and scale your read workloads as well as leveraging the cross regional replicas for faster disaster-recovery.

To get started, check out the documentation for Cross-Region ReplicaActive Directory, and SQL Server 2019. All are available with any new instance created via the console or API, simply follow the instructions in the documentation.

By: Ori Kashi (Product Manager, Google Cloud) and Isabella Lubin (Product Manager)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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