Here’s a comprehensive explanation of the differences between Azure Activity Log, Azure Diagnostics Logs, and Azure Metrics for Azure SQL Database auditing, with examples and insights:

Azure Activity Log

  • Scope: Covers subscription-wide management events, focusing on who did what, when, and where.
  • Examples:
    • “User X created a new SQL database.”
    • “User Y changed the database pricing tier.”
    • “A firewall rule was modified.”
  • Key Uses:
    • Security auditing
    • Compliance tracking
    • Troubleshooting configuration changes

Azure Diagnostics Logs

  • Scope: Provides detailed insights into resource-specific operations and health.
  • Examples:
    • “User Z executed a SELECT query on table ‘Customers’.”
    • “A failed login attempt occurred.”
    • “Database backup completed successfully.”
  • Key Uses:
    • Performance analysis
    • Troubleshooting application issues
    • Identifying security threats

Azure Metrics

  • Focus: Collects numerical measurements of resource performance and usage.
  • Examples:
    • CPU utilization
    • Database DTU consumption
    • Storage usage
    • Active connections
  • Key Uses:
    • Monitoring resource health
    • Identifying performance bottlenecks
    • Setting alerts for potential issues

Key Differences Summary

FeatureScopeFocusExamples
Activity LogSubscription-wideManagement operationsUser actions, resource changes
Diagnostics LogsResource-specificPerformance, diagnosticsQueries, logins, errors, events
MetricsResource-specificNumerical performance dataCPU usage, DTU consumption, storage, connections

Integrating for SQL Database Auditing

  • Activity Log: Audits management actions like database creation, deletion, configuration changes.
  • Diagnostics Logs: Track database events like logins, queries, stored procedure executions, errors.
  • Metrics: Monitor database performance (CPU, DTU, storage), identify potential issues, set alerts.

Effective Auditing Strategies

  • Use Activity Log for broad oversight of management actions.
  • Use Diagnostics Logs for granular insights into database events and troubleshooting.
  • Use Metrics to track performance, set alerts, and proactively address issues.
  • Combine all three for a comprehensive auditing solution.

Different types of Logs available for Azure SQL database auditing

Azure Activity Log

  • Database creation, deletion, or modification:
    • “User X created a new SQL database named ‘SalesDB’.”
    • “User Y deleted the database ‘MarketingDB’.”
    • “The pricing tier of database ‘InventoryDB’ was changed from S1 to S2.”
  • Firewall rule changes:
    • “A firewall rule was added to allow access from a specific IP address.”
    • “A firewall rule was removed to restrict access.”
  • Server configuration changes:
    • “The server’s geo-replication settings were modified.”
    • “The database transparent data encryption (TDE) setting was enabled.”

Azure Diagnostics Logs

  • Database queries:
    • “User Z executed a SELECT query on table ‘Customers’.”
    • “A long-running UPDATE query was performed.”
  • Login attempts (successful and failed):
    • “A successful login occurred for user ‘Admin’.”
    • “A failed login attempt was made with an invalid password.”
  • Stored procedure executions:
    • “The stored procedure ‘usp_GetOrderDetails’ was executed.”
  • Errors and warnings:
    • “A deadlock error occurred.”
    • “A data truncation warning was generated.”
  • Database backup and restore operations:
    • “A full database backup completed successfully.”
    • “A database was restored from a backup.”