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This content is part of the Essential Guide: Guide to Google Cloud Platform services in the enterprise
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Google expands Windows support with managed SQL Server

Google's decision to add SQL Server to its Cloud SQL family of managed database services is an appeal to Google Cloud Platform customers with ample Windows workloads.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google's decision to offer Microsoft SQL Server as a managed service is designed to attract customers with certain Windows workloads, and adds to Google Cloud Platform's overall appeal.

SQL Server users could already run the database themselves on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) via VMs, but Google will fully manage the upcoming service through its Cloud SQL offering, which already features PostgreSQL and MySQL.

Google's managed SQL Server service will support all editions of SQL Server 2017, which also has backward compatibility with older versions of the database, said Dominic Preuss, director of product management for Google Cloud, at the Cloud Next conference here this week.

AWS has offered a similar service through its Relational Database Service for years. Moreover, Microsoft has worked since 2009 on its Azure SQL managed service.

Microsoft's effort has endured some fits and starts over the years. Customers that wanted to move very large SQL Server databases to the cloud had to run them on Azure's VM-based service or break them apart into multiple pieces, given Azure SQL's size limitations.

That changed drastically in October, when Microsoft raised the Azure SQL database limit to 100 TB, up from 4 TB. The company also introduced Managed Instance, which is similar in function to on-premises SQL Server.

Doug Henschen, analyst, Constellation ResearchDoug Henschen

Currently, Google Cloud SQL supports MySQL and PostgreSQL instances with up to 10 TB of storage capacity, which is well below Azure SQL's limits.

Google has yet to determine scalability limits for its managed SQL Server, but most databases are less than a terabyte, Preuss said.

Google's intent is not to support the largest and most complex SQL Server workloads, according to Preuss.

"Really complicated, advanced things with SQL Server?" he said. "That's something you're going to want to do on your own."

Google's managed SQL Server service has started its initial test phase, with general availability planned later this year, Preuss said.

Google's SQL Server service reflects multi-cloud applicability

Google's managed SQL Server service may not compete directly with Microsoft, however. With Azure SQL, Microsoft also supports a series of hybrid-deployment needs, such as backup and recovery and burst capacity from on-premises Microsoft SQL Server deployments into the cloud, said Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research based in Cupertino, Calif.

Google isn't going to support these hybrid situations. The focus is on supporting workloads that run on Microsoft SQL Server in GCP.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation Research

"Google isn't going to support these hybrid situations," he said. "The focus is on supporting workloads that run on Microsoft SQL Server in GCP."

So why would SQL Server customers rent space on Google Cloud instead of Azure? Some companies have picked GCP as their cloud, yet there are many preferred apps that run on Microsoft SQL Server, such as marketing applications, Henschen said.

Also, many organizations have lots of marketing data on GCP, including Google Analytics, advertising and search-related data, so it makes some sense to keep the marketing data and the database on the same cloud, Henschen said.

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