Part of the SQL Server 2022 blog series.

Today, we announced the general availability of SQL Server 2022, the most Azure-enabled release of SQL Server yet, with continued innovation across performance, security, and availability1. This marks the latest milestone in the more than 30-year history of SQL Server.

SQL Server 2022 is a core element of the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform. The platform seamlessly integrates operational databases, analytics, and data governance. This enables customers to adapt in real-time, add layers of intelligence to their applications, unlock fast and predictive insights, and govern their data—wherever it resides.

Image showing features of SQL Server 2022.

SQL Server 2022’s connections to Azure2, including Azure Synapse Link and Microsoft Purview make it easier for customers to drive deeper insights, predictions, and governance from their data at scale. Azure integration also includes managed disaster recovery (DR) to Azure SQL Managed Instance, along with near real-time analytics, allowing database administrators to manage their data estates with greater flexibility and minimal impact to the end user3.

Performance and scalability are automatically enhanced via built-in query intelligence. Security innovation, building on SQL Server’s track record as being the least vulnerable database over the last 10 years, continues with Ledger for SQL Server, which uses blockchain to create a tamper-proof track record of time of all changes to the database.

Watch how one of our customers, Mediterranean Shipping Company, is already taking advantage of the new capabilities in SQL Server 2022.

a close up of a boat

Azure-enabled features

Image depicting SQL Server 2022 cloud-connected capabilities.

Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance: To ensure uptime, SQL Server 2022 is fully integrated with the new link feature in Azure SQL Managed Instance. With this new capability, you benefit from a PaaS environment applied to disaster recovery—allowing you to spend less time on setup and management even when compared to an IaaS environment. This works by using a built-in Distributed Availability Group (DAG) to replicate data to a previously deployed Azure SQL Managed Instance as a DR replica site. The instance is ready and waiting for whenever you need it—no lengthy configuration or maintenance required. You can also use this link feature in read scale-out scenarios to offload heavy requests that might otherwise affect database performance. We are working on building out more capabilities to support online disaster recovery.

Azure Synapse Link for SQL: Previously, moving data from on-premises databases, like SQL Server, to Synapse required you to use extract, transform, and load (ETL). Configuring and running an ETL pipeline is time-consuming, and insights often lag behind what is happening at any moment. Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022 provides automatic change feeds to capture the changes within SQL Server and feed them into Azure Synapse Analytics. Synapse Link provides near real-time analysis and hybrid transactional and analytical processing with minimal impact on operational systems. Once the data comes to Synapse, you can combine it with many different data sources, regardless of their size, scale, or format, and run powerful analytics over all of it using your choice of Azure Machine learning, Spark, or Power BI. Because the automated change feeds only push what is new or different, data transfer occurs much faster and allows for near real-time insights, all with minimal impact on the performance of the source database in SQL Server 2022.

“Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022 helps us to seamlessly replicate operational data in near real-time to be able to have more powerful analytics.”—Javier Villegas, IT Director for DBA and BI Service, Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Mediterranean Shipping Company logo

Microsoft Purview integration: Microsoft Purview is a unified data governance and management service. We are excited to highlight that SQL Server is also integrated with Microsoft Purview for greater data discovery, allowing you to break down data silos. Through this integration you will be able to:

  • Automatically scan your on-premises SQL Server for free to capture metadata.
  • Classify your data using built-in and custom classifiers and Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels.
  • Set up and control specific access rights to SQL Server.

Additional Azure-connected features: SQL Server 2022 has a number of additional Azure-enabled features. A simple connection to the Azure Arc agent, part of the default setup process for SQL Server 2022, enables additional capabilities, including:

  • Single view of all SQL Servers deployed on-premises, in Azure and other clouds.
  • Fully automated technical assessment for SQL Server at no additional cost, to help you optimize your database’s performance, scalability, security, business continuity, and more.
  • Protect your on-premises data using Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
  • Secure identities with Single Sign-On and Azure Active Directory.
  • Pay-as-you-go billing.

Continued innovation to the core SQL Server engine

Performance: Performance is critical. On the SQL Server Engineering team, our core engine feature principles are: do no harm, no app changes required. With SQL Server 2022, performance enhancements come without requiring code changes by the end user.

SQL Server continues to offer differentiated performance, with #1 OLTP performance, #1 Non-Clustered DW performance on 1TB, 3TB, 10TB, and 30TB according to the independent Transaction Processing Performance Council. In SQL Server 2022:

  • With Query Store, we are adding support for read replicas and enabling query hints to improve performance and quickly mitigate issues without having to change the source T-SQL.
  • With Intelligent Query Processing, we’re expanding more scenarios based on common customer problems. For example, the “parameter sensitive plan” problem refers to a scenario where a single cached plan for a parameterized query is not optimal for all possible incoming parameter values. With SQL Server 2022’s Parameter Sensitive Plan optimization feature, we automatically enable the generation of multiple active cached plans for a single parameterized statement. These cached execution plans will accommodate different data sizes based on the provided runtime parameter values.

“As a company with 24/7 availability requirements, we are looking forward to embracing all SQL Server 2022 features that can make database failover faster, such as Buffer Pool Parallel Scan, ParallelRedo and Accelerated Database Recovery (ADR) enhancements. On the development side, we expect to further utilize continuous improvements in the Intelligent Query Processing package. In an environment with a lot of servers and huge databases, even when you have people and resources to deal with performance issues, each feature that can improve performance or fix performance issues automatically or without touching the code is very valuable.” —Milos Radivojevic, Head of MSSQL Database Engineering at Entain.

Entain logo.

Security: Over the past ten years, SQL Server has had few vulnerabilities. Building on this, the new Ledger for SQL Server feature creates a tamper-evidence track record of data modifications over time. This detects tampering by malicious actors and is beneficial for scenarios such as internal and external audits.

Availability: With Contained Availability Groups you can create an Always On availability group that manages its own metadata objects (users, logins, permissions) at the availability group level in addition to the instance level with contained availability groups. Additionally, it keeps multi-write environments running smoothly when you have users across multiple locations. With SQL Server 2022, we are automating the last-writer wins rule to ensure that when a conflict is detected, the most recent modification time will be chosen to be persisted on all replicas.

New pay-as-you-go SQL Server billing model, enabled by Azure Arc

Today, we are also excited to announce a new billing model that provides flexibility to innovate quickly and move as fast as you do.

Via a simple connection to Azure Arc, a default part of the SQL Server 2022 setup process, you now have access to a new cloud-enabled billing model for SQL Server, providing you with cost efficiency to pay only for what you use. Pay by the hour for consumption spikes and ad hoc usage without the need for upfront investment. Learn more in the announcement blog post.

Azure SQL migration offer

If you’re ready to start your journey to the cloud, Microsoft can help. Today we are announcing a new offer, the SQL + Apps Migration Factory. This program can assess and migrate qualifying low complexity SQL Server applications and databases to Azure SQL at no cost to you.4 Talk to your Microsoft account team or apply now at aka.ms/SQLAppsMigrationFactory to get started. 

SQL Server IoT 2022 

We are also announcing SQL Server IoT 2022, which is designed for fixed function use cases and licensed through the OEM channel under special dedicated use rights. You can read more about SQL Server IoT 2022.  

Learn more and get started with SQL Server 2022 today

Learn more about Azure SQL Managed Instance


[1] SQL Server 2022 free editions (Developer edition, Express edition) are available to download starting today. SQL Server 2022 paid editions (Enterprise edition, Standard edition) will be available in Volume Licensing (Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Agreement Subscriptions) customers starting today, which represents the majority of SQL Server customers. Customers purchasing via CSP, OEM, and SPLA can begin purchasing SQL Server 2022 in January 2023.

[2] For all Azure-connected features of SQL Server 2022, customers can optionally enable these capabilities based on business requirements.

[3] The bidirectional disaster recovery capability of the Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance is available in limited public preview. Sign up for early access. General availability will occur at a future date.

[4] Subject to the limitations described in the full SQL + Apps Migration Factory program specifications here, and provided that the SQL Server workloads are low complexity with no code changes, Microsoft agrees to assess and migrate SQL Server databases and SQL Server-associated applications from your datacenter or AWS EC2 to Azure at no cost to customer. Migrations must be completed by June 30, 2023.