Microsoft Azure SQL DB vs. Azure Synapse: How to Select the Right Data Platform for Your Business

BlogAdvisory & Transformation
Updated on: April 10, 2024

Authored by Humza Malik | Senior, Business Performance Management

In today’s tech-saturated era, businesses create thousands of terabytes of data daily. While this data can be incredibly valuable when properly leveraged, it also comes with an array of technical requirements and concerns. Since the evolution of cloud computing, we have seen a drastic boom in the number of platforms, tools, and solutions that companies utilize to efficiently manage their business and the higher volume of generated data. Leveraging cloud services for data management while focusing on cost-effective business decisions allows organizations and their teams to be flexible and dynamic in any market conditions.

In this article, we dissect and compare two Microsoft Azure data platform services that CIOs, IT leaders, and data professionals often consider when looking to gain greater control of their data.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database vs. Azure Synapse

The platform your organization chooses will depend greatly on the requirements and demands your team is looking to fulfill. While both options offer a centralized hub with different tools to effectively manage the volume of data your organization generates, there are substantial differences that should be considered. High-level, here’s what’s important to know:

Azure SQL Database (SQL DB) is a fully managed cloud-computing database service that enables hosting and usage of relational SQL databases in the cloud without any hardware requirements. Azure SQL DB allows for flexible and responsive computing abilities while prioritizing provisioning, monitoring, and data security.

Azure Synapse (Synapse) is a versatile all-in-one analytics service that assists entities to efficiently craft limitless solutions through the combination of desired serverless, on-demand resources, warehouses, and analytical tools.


PolyBase enables querying data with T-SQL directly from SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, MongoDB, Hadoop clusters, Cosmos DB, and S3-compatible object storage without separately installing client connection software. PolyBase also allows T-SQL queries to join the data from external sources to relational tables in an instance of SQL Server. This functionality is quite useful while importing data from Azure Blob storage or Azure Data Lake.

Weighing Your Data Needs

Azure SQL DB and Synapse both boast a wide variety of desirable attributes that can satisfy your organization’s requirements, big and small. While both services allow for control over different functionalities resulting in better cost management, the choice your enterprise makes will depend on the use case and necessary attributes to meet data demands. Azure SQL DB provides an easy-to-maintain data storage with predictable cost structures while Azure synapse provides control and features such as pausing computational tasks in order to efficiently manage costs.

For a data warehouse that does not require near-real time data load volumes or massive direct-queries, Azure SQL Database is a suitable choice. SQL DB offers easy maintenance and a predictable cost structure.

For a more complex data warehouse, Synapse provides a one-stop shop for service integrations allowing it to effectively manage massive amounts of data for a more complicated data warehouse.

Our Data Analytics team can help offer additional insights to guide your decision.

Get Help Selecting the Right Platform to Level Up Your Data

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