In today’s era of database management, businesses often grapple with the challenge of ensuring data availability, reliability, and disaster recovery. Log Shipping and SQL Server Always On Availability Groups are two commonly employed solutions for achieving these objectives. Each method has its advantages and is most appropriate for certain situations. To help you make a knowledgeable decision, let’s delve into the specifics and explore the details together.

In an infrastructure where a business heavily relies on its SQL Server database to store critical information, it’s crucial to have DB in HA as well as a DR solution. Usually, the customer prefers to have the primary data center on On-premises and the secondary data center on any cloud. The primary concern here is ensuring minimal downtime and data loss in the event of a disaster or server failure.

This blog will help you understand what to choose between these two options. Let’s explore!

Table of Contents:

When to Choose What?  Log Shipping or SQL Always On?

Customers are faced with the dilemma of choosing between Log Shipping and SQL Server Always On to address this challenge.

Log Shipping

  1. Synchronization: When using Log Shipping in this scenario, the primary data center would need to establish a secure VPN connection to the Azure cloud server. However, due to the inherent limitations of VPN connections, there may be a noticeable lag time between data synchronization from the primary data center to the secondary server on the cloud. This means there is a higher risk of data loss in the event of a disaster.
  2. Cost Effectiveness: Log Shipping is a cost-effective solution as it involves setting up scheduled backups and shipping transaction logs to the secondary server. It does not require additional licensing costs beyond the standard SQL Server licenses.
  3. Scalability: Log Shipping may face scalability challenges as the volume of data increases since it relies on transaction log backups and shipping to the secondary server. This could lead to longer synchronization times and potentially impact performance.
  4. Adaptability: As the business grows, the demands on the database may increase, requiring more robust HA and DR solutions. In such cases, businesses may need to reassess and potentially transition to a more scalable solution like SQL Server Always On Availability Groups.

SQL Server Always On Availability Groups

  1. Synchronization: In contrast, SQL Server Always On Availability Groups can provide a more reliable solution for real-time data synchronization between the primary data center and the Azure cloud server. Businesses can achieve near real-time data replication with minimal latency by utilizing Azure ExpressRoute, which offers dedicated, private connectivity between the on-premises network and Azure.
  2. Cost Effectiveness: SQL Server Always On Availability Groups may involve higher initial setup costs compared to Log Shipping, as it requires additional licensing for SQL Server Enterprise Edition and possibly Azure ExpressRoute fees. However, the benefits of real-time data synchronization and disaster recovery capabilities may outweigh these costs for businesses that prioritize data availability and reliability.
  3. Scalability: SQL Server Always On Availability Groups are highly scalable and can accommodate growing data volumes and increasing workloads. With the ability to add multiple replicas and scale out, businesses can easily meet the growing needs of their database infrastructure.
  4. Adaptability: The scalability and flexibility of SQL Server Always On make it well-suited for businesses looking to expand and enhance their database operations. As the business grows, additional replicas can be added to distribute workloads and ensure high availability and performance.

Also Read: The Role of Web Hosting in Website Development: Shared, VPS, Dedicated, and Cloud Hosting

What are the Business Outcomes?

SQL Always On

  • Automatic Failover
  • Real-time Data Synchronization
  • Scale-Out Capabilities
  • Enhanced Monitoring and Alerts
  • Beneficial for Larger businesses having large amounts of data.

Log Shipping

  • Cost-effective solution for high availability and disaster recovery
  • Easy to Manage
  • Beneficial for small businesses to have less amount of data.
  • Enhanced business continuity and minimal data loss
  • Streamlined data recovery process for faster resumption of operations.

Explore the Current Industry Preferences

  • In the current market landscape, there’s a noticeable shift toward adopting SQL Server Always on Availability Groups, driven by the increasing demand for high availability and disaster recovery capabilities. Businesses across various industries are recognizing the value of automatic failover, real-time monitoring, and workload distribution offered by SQL Server Always On.
  • Regular testing and validation of disaster recovery plans are essential to ensure readiness and effectiveness. SQL Server Always On facilitates automated testing and validation procedures, enabling businesses to simulate failover scenarios, identify potential gaps, and refine their DR strategies for maximum effectiveness.
  • Log Shipping remains relevant for smaller businesses or those with budget constraints, larger enterprises are gravitating towards SQL Server Always On for its advanced features and comprehensive approach to data protection. Additionally, the availability of robust SQL Server monitoring tools further bolsters the case for adopting SQL Server Always On Availability Groups as the preferred solution for ensuring data availability and resilience.

Also Read: The Revolution of AI in Cloud Computing: Transforming Education and Work


The choice between Log Shipping and SQL Server Always On Availability Groups hinges on the specific needs and priorities of your business. 

While Log Shipping offers simplicity and affordability, SQL Server Always On provides unparalleled reliability and functionality, making it the preferred option for organizations prioritizing seamless operations and data integrity. Hurix Digital has a team of experts that can help you and your business.

Contact Hurix Digital today to discuss your business needs for High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions!