Data Migration Assistant – Azure SQL Database

This post originally appeared on the Pragmatic Works Blog Site, but wanted to also provide it here.


The Data Migration Assistant provides seamless assessments of SQL Server on-premises and upgrades to later versions of SQL Server or migrations to SQL Server on Azure VMs or Azure SQL Database. The Data Migration Assistant (DMA) enables you to upgrade to a modern data platform by detecting compatibility issues that can impact database functionality on your Azure SQL Database & SQL Server on Azure VMs.   It also recommends performance and reliability improvements.

Data Migration Assistant (DMA) Tool

Free Download

The Data Migration Assistant (DMA) tool is free and available for download.  It can be downloaded here.


  • Assess on-premises SQL Server instance(s) migrating to Azure SQL database(s).  The assessment workflow helps identify potential migration blocking issues and provides guidance on how to potentially resolve them.  This includes idnetifying partially supported or unsupported features in use on the source SQL Server instance.
  •  Discover issues that can affect an upgrade to an on-premises SQL Server.   These issues are organized and categorized as breaking changes, behavior changes, and deprecated features.
  • Discover new features in the target SQL Server platform that the database can benefit from after an upgrade.  These are described as feature recommendations and are organized and categorized as performance, security, and storage.
  • Migrate an on-premises SQL Server instance to a modern SQL Server instance, hosted on premises or on an Azure virtual machine (VM) that is accessible from your on-premises network.  The migration workflow helps you to migrate database schemas, data and users, server roles, and SQL Server and Windows logins.

DMA replaces all previous versions of SQL Server Upgrade Advisor and should be used for upgrades for most SQL Server versions.


  • SQL Server 2005
  • SQL Server 2008
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2012
  • SQL Server 2014
  • SQL Server 2016
  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows


  • SQL Server 2012
  • SQL Server 2014
  • SQL Server 2016
  • SQL Server 2017 on Windows and Linux
  • Azure SQL Database

Creating a DMA Project

Below are the basic steps that are followed when creating a DMA project:

  • Create a new migration project
  • Specify the source server and database
  • Specify the target server and database
  • Select the schema and objects
  • Deploy schema
  • Start the data migration

This brief video demonstrates step-by-step instructions for migrating a SQL Server on-premises database to Azure SQL Database using the Data Migration Assistant.

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