Data Migration Assistant: How to assess your on-premises SQL Server instance

Create new assessment

  1. Click on the New(+) icon and select “Assessment” project type. Set the source and target server type to SQL Server if you intend to upgrade your on-premises SQL Server to a modern on-premises SQL Server.
  2. Click Create.1

Choose assessment options

  1. Select the target SQL Server version that you plan to migrate to, and need to run assessment.
  2. You can choose one or both from the following assessment report types
    1. Compatibility Issues
    2. New features’ recommendation


Add databases to assess

  1. Click on “Add Sources” to open the connection fly-out.
  2. Enter SQL server instance name, choose Authentication type and set the correct connection properties.
  3. Click “Connect”.
  4. Select the databases to assess and click “Add”.
  5. You can remove databases after you add them.  Select multiple databases holding “shift” or “Ctrl” key, and click “Remove Sources”.
  6. You can add databases from multiple SQL Server instances using the “Add Sources” button.
  7. Click Next to start assessment.


View results

  1. Assessment duration depends on the number of databases added and the schema size of each database.
  2. Results will be displayed per database as soon as they are available.
  3. Select the database that has completed assessment. Switch between “Compatibility issues” and “Feature recommendations” using the switcher.
  4. Review the compatibility issues across all compatibility levels supported by the target SQL Server version selected on the “Options” screen.
    Compatibility Issues can be reviewed by analyzing the impacted object and its details for every issue identified under “Breaking changes”, “Behavior changes” and “Deprecated features”View_Results
  5. Similarly, you can review features’ recommendation across “Performance”, “Storage” and “Security” areas
    Feature recommendations cover a variety of features such as In-Memory OLTP and Columnstore, Stretch Database, Always Encrypted (AE), Dynamic Data Masking (DDM), and Transparent Data Encryption (TDE).Feature_Results

Export results

  1. Once all databases finish assessment, click on “Export report” to export the results to a CSV file for analyzing the data at your own convenience.
  2. You can run multiple assessments concurrently and view the state of the assessments from by navigating to the “All Assessments” screen.
Comments (6)

  1. Sylvia Chung says:

    I finished assessment for upgrading from SQL 2012 to SQL 2016 and would like to save assessment result in a file but “export report” button saved just current screen as picture format in a csv file and I cannot navigate through all result information from the file and cannot reuse it.
    Please let me know how to save the result.

    1. Hello Sylvia,
      The “Export report” button should let you save the assessment results in a CSV format, not the in the bitmap format. You can open the CSV file with the excel and apply filters to navigate to the specific issues.
      Please feel free to reach out to us at for further assistance.

  2. Dan Lampkin says:

    what about running it on a trace file? how else would we check code embedded in apps and other tiers?

    1. At this point, DMA doesn’t support assessment against the SQL server trace files, enabling this feature is in our backlog, I do not have any ETA at this point.

  3. Neil says:

    How long should an “average” assessment take?

    1. The assessment duration mainly depends on the size of the schema, the total number of objects exists in the schema. We have seen a database having 16,000 total objects taking around, 20 minutes. On the higher end, a database with 150,000 objects little more than 60 minutes.

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