I've connected to couple of Azure SQL Servers (those are hosting few Azure SQL Databases on them) in SSMS Object Explorer and see that version is 12.0.2000.8

select @@Version shows below:

Microsoft SQL Azure (RTM) - 12.0.2000.8 Feb 20 2021 17:51:58 Copyright (C) 2019 Microsoft Corporation

Object Explorer

For comparison, my other box is SQL Server 2017 and version it shows is 14.0.3370.1

I expected to see Azure SQL Servers as 15.0.something (correspond to SQL Server 2019), but they seem to correspond to SQL Server 2014 (version 12)


Weren't Azure SQL Servers supposed to upgrade automatically to latest version ?
How can I upgrade them to version 15 manually ?


1 Answer 1


Azure SQL Database is automatically updated, but it uses a different version numbering scheme from “box” SQL Server. It went from “11” to “12” several years ago during a major breaking change, and will stay on “12” indefinitely.

It always has the latest features and fixes for the SQL Server engine and is ahead of SQL Server 2019. By the time a new version of SQL Server is released, the code has been running in production in Azure SQL Database for a long time.

You control the database compatibility level of your databases to opt-in to breaking changes and query optimizer upgrades. The database compatibility levels map to the major releases of SQL Server. Over time the default compatibility level for new Azure SQL Databases increases up as new compatibility levels are introduced.

  • Despite both being "SQL Server", Azure SQL Server definitely uses a different version than your SQL Server. The main thing you need to check is the compatibility levels that the servers are set at. Those do NOT update automatically because it can break your code, and it is something that you need to initiate after making sure everything works. You must go through the details of the compatibility level changes and do thorough testing before simply "upgrading". These are not bug fixes, but real changes that can affect your queries.
    – Nelson
    Apr 28, 2021 at 3:25
  • NB It is not called SQL Server but Azure SQL Database for a reason, it’s not the same and SQL dialect is pretty different in some areas.
    – eckes
    Apr 29, 2021 at 23:17
  • There are differences, but not in the SQL dialect. It’s the same engine and language just running as a service. Apr 30, 2021 at 3:42
  • is there any downtime in changing the compatibility level?
    – TWilly
    Jun 14, 2021 at 21:40

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