Stretch Database—Get an understanding

Hello, everyone. I am here with a very simple but great topic that helps improve our database (DB) in a few ways—Stretch Database!!

So, let’s get started.

What is Stretch Database?

SQL 2016 introduced a feature that could help us stretch the data from on-premises to Azure cloud. This functionality, Stretch Database (or StretchDB), helps archive cold (infrequently accessed) data from a local SQL Server® to Azure® while keeping warm (frequently accessed) data on the local SQL Server. StretchDB is helpful in scenarios when we have lots of historical data that is accessed rarely.

Stretch DB is a boon

  • Easy and hassle-free migration of cold data from on-premises to Azure SQL DB helps improve the performance of local queries, as they make use of warm data or local data most of the time
  • No code needed for data migration, hence no extra overhead on local SQL Server
  • No need to change the application code to query the archived data
  • Store archived data at a lower cost in Azure than locally
  • Local DB backup, restore, and maintenance activities take much less time with archiving cold data because they now must play with only hot data

Let’s see how to use StretchDB

To demo StretchDB, we need:

  • A local SQL Server
  • An Azure subscription

I downloaded the AdventureWorks2016_EXT.bak DB backup and restored it on my local SQL server for this demo. Download the file here.

Configure tables in StretchDB

  1. Connect to your local SQL Server, right-click on AdventureWorks2016_EXT->Tasks->Stretch->Enable.

  1. Select the tables that are needed to be archived. The ones not supporting StretchDB display greyed out.

  1. When prompted, sign in to your Azure environment.

  1. After you sign in to your Azure account, select the subscription and region where you want to archive your data.

  1. Provide the password for DMK.

  1. Create an Azure firewall rule for communication.

  1. Review the summary and click Finish.

  1. On successful completion, the following screen displays. We can also check the generated logs for details.

  1. Now, let’s verify the data migrated to Azure SQL DBs. Connect to Azure SQL DB from your local SSMS like any other SQL Server. Be sure to save the credentials you created for the Azure SQL DB in Step 4 because you’ll use them for the connection.

The following image shows the table we created:


By following these very simple steps, we can gain performance improvement as well as cost efficiency.

Let me know in the comments how you liked this post and if you want to see a second part with more details.

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post avatar
Vashali Misra

I am a SQL Server DBA at Rackspace Technology APJ Region. My area of expertise is SQL Server, and I’m slowly and steadily gaining experience into the cloud technologies. I have 9 Years of experience with major projects like Dowjones, MarketWatch, Regeneron, etc.

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