We are evaluating moving a large-ish web application comprising ASP.NET, Classic ASP and SQL Server Reporting Services into Azure, and we want to know the "best practice" for installing the Database Engine and Reporting Services.

In our current environment, we have a standalone Database Engine, and a separate server that hosts Reporting Services. One of the main reasons for this was to avoid external users making direct HTTP connections to the server housing the databases - isolation for the sake of security.

My understanding of our type of MS licensing is that we only pay for one installation of SQL Server, its components just happen to be spread over two machines - this may or may not be accurate.

If we want to have a similar configuration in Azure - will we be be required to pay 2 x the per-hour charge for SQL Server because they're considered to be two independent installations?

Alternatively, is someone willing to make a convincing case that putting the Database Engine and Reporting Services in the same virtual machine does not significantly reduce security?

I'm aware of the Windows Azure SQL Reporting, but this will not cover requirements because we are already heavily dependent on Report Models, Report Builder, Scheduled Report and custom authentication.

1 Answer 1


To purely answer your question:

If you set up two different VMs one running the SQL Server and the other one hosting the SQL Server Reporting Services, you would be charged twice the per-hour price of a Virtual Machine, but only once for your the SQL Server License.

Best Practice

I guess the "best practice" answer would be to rely on SQL Azure and SQL Azure Reporting Services, since they provide licensing, installation, maintenance, redundancy, scalability and security built-in.

But since this doesn't seem to be an option to you, here is what I would do based on my experience:

  • Put the database that hosts the data the reports are built on in SQL Azure. There you can restrict access to the database to only other Windows Azure components (Websites, Hosted Services, VMs) or a given IP-Range
  • Setup the SQL Server Reporting Services on a Virtual Machine (not a Hosted Service), because Hosted Services lack data persistence
  • Host your web application on Azure Websites (they are for free at the moment). You can later switch to Hosted Services if you need more performance.

Hope this answer helps.


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