Migrating data from SQL Server 2017 to Cloud SQL for SQL Server using snapshot replication

This tutorial shows you how to migrate data from Microsoft SQL Server 2017 Enterprise running on Compute Engine to Cloud SQL for SQL Server 2017 Enterprise. This tutorial is useful if you are a sysadmin, developer, engineer, database admin, or DevOps engineer. The tutorial shows you how to set up SQL Server Distributor, use the SQL Server Agent for snapshot replication into Cloud SQL for SQL Server 2017, and validate that the data was successfully imported.

In this tutorial, you use snapshot replication to keep the source and target in sync. Snapshot replication sends subscribers a full copy of each article—that is, published database object. Cloud SQL also supports transactional replication, which sends only incremental data. A limitation of transactional replication is that tables must have primary keys. For more information about SQL Server replication types, see the SQL Server documentation.

For simplicity, the tutorial uses the source SQL Server to host a Distributor. In a production scenario, if data is being replicated from outside Google Cloud, you might prefer to host distribution on the Google Cloud side on a Compute Engine instance.

The tutorial assumes that you're familiar with the following:


  • Create a SQL Server virtual machine (VM) instance on Compute Engine to host the sample database.
  • Populate a sample database.
  • Create a Cloud SQL for SQL Server instance.
  • Create a Distributor.
  • Set up publication and subscription.
  • Initiate replication from SQL Server to Cloud SQL.
  • Validate the imported data.


This tutorial uses the following billable components of Google Cloud:

To generate a cost estimate based on your projected usage, use the pricing calculator. New Google Cloud users might be eligible for a free trial.

Before you begin

  1. Sign in to your Google Account.

    If you don't already have one, sign up for a new account.

  2. In the Google Cloud Console, on the project selector page, select or create a Google Cloud project.

    Go to the project selector page

  3. Make sure that billing is enabled for your Cloud project. Learn how to confirm that billing is enabled for your project.

  4. Enable the Cloud SQL Admin and Compute Engine API APIs.

    Enable the APIs

  5. In the Cloud Console, activate Cloud Shell.

    Activate Cloud Shell

    At the bottom of the Cloud Console, a Cloud Shell session starts and displays a command-line prompt. Cloud Shell is a shell environment with the Cloud SDK already installed, including the gcloud command-line tool, and with values already set for your current project. It can take a few seconds for the session to initialize.

When you finish this tutorial, you can avoid continued billing by deleting the resources you created. For more information, see Cleaning up.

Creating a SQL Server VM

The first step is to create a SQL Server 2017 instance on a Windows 2016 VM on Compute Engine and connect to it by using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

  1. In Cloud Shell, create a SQL Server 2017 Standard instance on Windows Server 2016. The source database must be a SQL Server Standard or Enterprise database because lower tiers don't have the database publisher capability.

    gcloud compute instances create sqlserver --machine-type=n1-standard-4 \
        --boot-disk-size=100GB \
        --image-project=windows-sql-cloud \
        --image-family=sql-std-2017-win-2016 \
        --zone=us-central1-f  \

    For this tutorial, you create the instance in the us-central1-f zone with a boot disk size of 100 GB. For more information, see Cloud locations.

  2. Generate a Windows password:

    gcloud compute reset-windows-password sqlserver --zone=us-central1-f
  3. Install the Chrome RDP for Google Cloud Platform extension.

  4. In the Cloud Console, go to the VM instances page.

    Go to VM Instances

  5. Open the Chrome RDP extension by clicking the RDP button for the sqlserver VM instance that you want to connect to.

  6. In the username and password fields, enter the username and password that you created for the SQL Server VM instance. Leave the Domain field blank, and then click OK to connect to the SQL Server VM.

    Screenshot of the dialog where you enter the username and password.

    When prompted, accept the certificate.

  7. If you accept the terms, click Continue.

  8. In the instance, minimize all windows, click Start on the Windows taskbar, type PowerShell, and then right-click the Windows PowerShell app and select Run as administrator.

  9. At the PowerShell prompt, create a directory structure for the database storage:

    mkdir c:\sql-server-data\adventureworks

Creating and populating a sample database

You now download Microsoft's AdventureWorks database backup file and restore it into your SQL Server instance. This database simulates the production database that you want to migrate.

  1. From the PowerShell command line, download the AdventureWorksLT2017.bak backup file to drive C:

    bitsadmin /transfer sampledb /dynamic /download /priority FOREGROUND "https://github.com/Microsoft/sql-server-samples/releases/download/adventureworks/AdventureWorksLT2017.bak " C:\sql-server-data\AdventureWorksLT2017.bak
  2. Restore the database:

    osql -E -Q "USE [master]
    RESTORE DATABASE [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    FROM  DISK = N'C:\sql-server-data\AdventureWorksLT2017.bak' WITH  FILE = 1,
    MOVE N'AdventureWorksLT2012_Data' TO N'C:\sql-server-data\adventureworks\AdventureWorksLT2012.mdf',
    MOVE N'AdventureWorksLT2012_Log' TO N'C:\sql-server-data\adventureworks\AdventureWorksLT2012_log.ldf',
  3. Validate the newly restored database by querying the number of rows in the Customer table. The output is 847 rows.

    osql -E -Q "select count(*) from AdventureWorksLT2017.SalesLT.Customer"

Preparing the Cloud SQL instance

  1. In Cloud Shell, create the Cloud SQL for SQL Server 2017 Enterprise instance:

    gcloud sql instances create target-sqlserver  \
        --database-version=SQLSERVER_2017_STANDARD \
        --cpu=4 \
        --memory=15 \
        --storage-size=100 \
        --root-password=sqlserver12@ \

    The root user is sqlserver with a password of sqlserver12@. Also make note of the SQL Server IP address.

  2. Store the IP address of the source SQL Server VM in an environment variable:

    sql_source_ip=$(gcloud compute instances describe sqlserver \
        --zone=us-central1-f | grep natIP | awk '{print $2}')
    echo $sql_source_ip
  3. Add the SQL Server VM IP address with the Cloud SQL instance to the allowlist (whitelist):

    gcloud sql instances patch target-sqlserver --authorized-networks=$sql_source_ip
  4. Create a destination database:

    gcloud sql databases create AdventureWorksTarget --instance=target-sqlserver
  5. In the PowerShell command line that you launched as an administrator, check connectivity to Cloud SQL for SQL Server:

    $cloud_sql_server_ip=gcloud sql instances describe target-sqlserver --format='value(ipAddresses.ipAddress)'
    osql -S $cloud_sql_server_ip -U sqlserver -P sqlserver12@ -Q "select 'test'"

    The command prints 'test'.

Initiating replication from the VM to Cloud SQL

Using SQL Server snapshot replication, you create a job to replicate database snapshots into Cloud SQL.

Set up the Distributor

You now configure the SQL Server VM to be a SQL Server Distributor. In practice, a Distributor can run on a separate machine, but in this tutorial, you run it on the same VM.

  1. From the PowerShell command line that you launched as administrator, update the SQL Server local instance name to match the VM host name:

    osql -E -Q "sp_dropserver 'INST-INSTALL-SQ';"
    osql -E -Q "sp_addserver '$servername', local;"
    Restart-Service -F MSSQLServer
    mkdir c:\sql-server-data\repldata

    If you receive the error Cannot open MSSQLServer service on computer '.'., you likely didn't run the PowerShell command line as an administrator.

  2. Verify that the instance name is now "sqlserver":

    osql -E -Q "select @@servername;"
  3. Specify the distribution database:

    osql -E -Q "use master; exec sp_adddistributor @distributor = N'$servername', @password = N'';"
    osql -E -Q "exec sp_adddistributiondb @database = N'distribution', @data_folder = N'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL14.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Data', @log_folder = N'C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL14.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Data', @log_file_size = 2, @min_distretention = 0, @max_distretention = 72, @history_retention = 48, @deletebatchsize_xact = 5000, @deletebatchsize_cmd = 2000, @security_mode = 1"
  4. Configure the distribution database:

    osql -E -Q "
    use [distribution]
    if (not exists (select * from sysobjects where name = 'UIProperties' and type = 'U '))
        create table UIProperties(id int)
    if (exists (select * from ::fn_listextendedproperty('SnapshotFolder', 'user', 'dbo', 'table', 'UIProperties', null, null)))
        exec sp_updateextendedproperty N'SnapshotFolder', N'c:\sql-server-data\repldata', 'user', dbo, 'table', 'UIProperties'
        exec sp_addextendedproperty N'SnapshotFolder', N'c:\sql-server-data\repldata', 'user', dbo, 'table', 'UIProperties'
  5. Register the SQL Server VM name with the Distributor as a publisher:

    osql -E -Q "exec sp_adddistpublisher @publisher = N'$servername',
    @distribution_db = N'distribution', @security_mode = 1, @working_directory
    = N'c:\sql-server-data\repldata', @trusted = N'false', @thirdparty_flag =
    0, @publisher_type = N'MSSQLSERVER'"

Set up publishing

Now that distribution is set up, you configure which tables are published.

  1. From the PowerShell command line, enable and start the SQL Server Agent:

    Set-Service -Name SQLServerAgent -StartupType Automatic
    Start-Service -Name SQLServerAgent
  2. Create a publication for the AdventureWorksLT2017 database:

    osql -E -Q "
    use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_replicationdboption @dbname = N'AdventureWorksLT2017', @optname = N'publish', @value = N'true'"
    osql -E -Q "use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_addpublication @publication = N'advn-pub3', @description = N'Snapshot publication of database ''AdventureWorksLT2017'' from Publisher ''$servername''.', @sync_method = N'native', @retention = 0, @allow_push = N'true', @allow_pull = N'true', @allow_anonymous = N'true', @enabled_for_internet = N'false', @snapshot_in_defaultfolder = N'true', @compress_snapshot = N'false', @ftp_port = 21, @ftp_login = N'anonymous', @allow_subscription_copy = N'false', @add_to_active_directory = N'false', @repl_freq = N'snapshot', @status = N'active', @independent_agent = N'true', @immediate_sync = N'true', @allow_sync_tran = N'false', @autogen_sync_procs = N'false', @allow_queued_tran = N'false', @allow_dts = N'false', @replicate_ddl = 1"
  3. Configure the publication to send a snapshot of the source to Cloud SQL once every hour:

    osql -E -Q "
    use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_addpublication_snapshot @publication = N'advn-pub3', @frequency_type = 4, @frequency_interval = 1, @frequency_relative_interval = 1, @frequency_recurrence_factor = 0, @frequency_subday = 8, @frequency_subday_interval = 1, @active_start_time_of_day = 0, @active_end_time_of_day = 235959, @active_start_date = 0, @active_end_date = 0, @job_login = null, @job_password = null, @publisher_security_mode = 1"
  4. Add articles (tables) to publication. Although the AdventureWorksLT2017 database contains many tables, for the sake of simplicity in this tutorial, you replicate three tables: Address, Customer, and CustomerAddress.

    osql -E -Q "
    use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_addarticle @publication = N'advn-pub3', @article = N'Address', @source_owner = N'SalesLT', @source_object = N'Address', @type = N'logbased', @description = null, @creation_script = null, @pre_creation_cmd = N'drop', @schema_option = 0x000000000803509D, @identityrangemanagementoption = N'manual', @destination_table = N'Address', @destination_owner = N'SalesLT', @vertical_partition = N'false'
    osql -E -Q "
    use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_addarticle @publication = N'advn-pub3', @article = N'Customer', @source_owner = N'SalesLT', @source_object = N'Customer', @type = N'logbased', @description = null, @creation_script = null, @pre_creation_cmd = N'drop', @schema_option = 0x000000000803509D, @identityrangemanagementoption = N'manual', @destination_table = N'Customer', @destination_owner = N'SalesLT', @vertical_partition = N'false'
    osql -E -Q "
    use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_addarticle @publication = N'advn-pub3', @article = N'CustomerAddress', @source_owner = N'SalesLT', @source_object = N'CustomerAddress', @type = N'logbased', @description = null, @creation_script = null, @pre_creation_cmd = N'drop', @schema_option = 0x000000000803509D, @identityrangemanagementoption = N'manual', @destination_table = N'CustomerAddress', @destination_owner = N'SalesLT', @vertical_partition = N'false'
  5. Manually create a snapshot of the articles. If you don't do so, it can take up to an hour before the scheduler creates the initial snapshot.

    osql -E -Q "use [AdventureWorksLT2017]
    exec sp_startpublication_snapshot @publication = N'advn-pub3'"

Set up a subscription

You now create a subscription that sends the published data to Cloud SQL.

  1. From the PowerShell command line, create a subscription to send the publication snapshot to Cloud SQL:

    $cloud_sql_server_ip=gcloud sql instances describe target-sqlserver --format='value(ipAddresses.ipAddress)'
    osql -E -Q " use [AdventureWorksLT2017] exec sp_addsubscription @publication = N'advn-pub3', @subscriber = N'$cloud_sql_server_ip', @destination_db = N'$target_db_name', @subscription_type = N'Push', @sync_type = N'automatic', @article = N'all', @update_mode = N'read only', @subscriber_type = 0
    exec sp_addpushsubscription_agent @publication = N'advn-pub3', @subscriber = N'$cloud_sql_server_ip', @subscriber_db = N'$target_db_name', @job_login = null, @job_password = null, @subscriber_security_mode = 0, @subscriber_login = N'$cloud_sql_user', @subscriber_password = N'$cloud_sql_password', @frequency_type = 64, @frequency_interval = 0, @frequency_relative_interval = 0, @frequency_recurrence_factor = 0, @frequency_subday = 0, @frequency_subday_interval = 0, @active_start_time_of_day = 0, @active_end_time_of_day = 235959, @active_start_date = 20200408, @active_end_date = 99991231, @enabled_for_syncmgr = N'False', @dts_package_location = N'Distributor' "
  1. Validate that the data is available in the Cloud SQL instance:

    osql -S $cloud_sql_server_ip -U $cloud_sql_user -P $cloud_sql_password -Q "select count(*) from [AdventureWorksTarget].[SalesLT].[CustomerAddress] UNION
    select count(*) from [AdventureWorksTarget].[SalesLT].[Customer]
    Select count(*) from [AdventureWorksTarget].[SalesLT].[Address]"

    The command prints 417, 450, 847

Cleaning up

After you've finished the tutorial, you can clean up the resources that you created on Google Cloud so they won't take up quota and you won't be billed for them in the future. The following sections describe how to delete or turn off these resources.

Delete the project

  1. In the Cloud Console, go to the Manage resources page.

    Go to Manage resources

  2. In the project list, select the project that you want to delete, and then click Delete.
  3. In the dialog, type the project ID, and then click Shut down to delete the project.

What's next