Which database to pick when installing MOVEit Transfer or MOVEit Automation?

When installing either MOVEit Transfer or MOVEit Automation there is the requirement for a database, in this article, we will explore the different database engine options available to you and the pros and cons of each.


To get started let’s look at what role the database plays in both products. For both products, we advise that the database is installed on its own server with its own resources to improve security and user experience. We also advise running the MOVEit Transfer / Automation Server and the database it connects to in the same time zone. Otherwise, security features like multi-factor authentication for sign-on, as well as secure connection protocols used between the service will not function.


MOVEit Transfer

In MOVEit Transfer the database stores all configuration, users, file & folder meta-data and audit logs. MOVEit Transfer also enables a feature called “Tamper-Evident” in the database for all audit logs. No changes, deletions or additions can be made to the log without breaking the strict chain of cryptographic hashes locked to the specific content and order of log entries. Starting hashes for MOVEit Transfer tamper-evident chains are retained in encrypted form in the registry. To prevent tampering any further, the hashes used are keyed hashes that require the input of the correct key to be matched and read.


MOVEit Automation

When looking at MOVEit Automation, the role of the database is primarily to store the audit logs for all transfers and workflows. It uses the same “Tamper-Evident” feature to secure the created logs. When comparing Transfer to Automation we can see the difference in importance around the database, however, audit logs in Automation can be vital to diagnosing issues with workflows and your automation.

In both products, you can choose from three options for a database, MYSQL, MSSQL and if you are hosting in Azure you can use Azure SQL. Let’s take a look at each option and evaluate the pros & cons of each one.



  • MYSQL is an open-source relational database management system. This means that no additional costs are incurred by using MYSQL as your chosen database engine.
  • If you choose MYSQL as your database engine the setup is included in the MOVEit installations. The process will guide you through setting up the database, root and MOVEit user needed for the product.
  • MYSQL was designed for speed and security by prioritising security with its access privilege system and user account management.


  • Progress advises keeping the database size of a MYSQL database to under 2 GB. Otherwise you will begin to see performance degradation. Noticeably, you will see slower transaction times between the user sending a request to the server to refresh a folder and the response being sent.
  • No built-in support. For any direct database support is an additional charge that you can enquire from oracle themselves: https://www.mysql.com/support/. However, there are a vast array of support forums that may solve any issues that arise.
  • The database is locked during backups.



  • MSSQL is also a relational database management system however this is a paid-for product and as such means that support with Microsoft is included in your license costs.
  • MSSQL is designed for large volumes of operational data and so is only restricted by the OS resources available to it.
  • The database is able to be backed up without locking, This provides the option for 24/7 uptime without any restrictions on workflow schedules.


  • MSSQL is expensive, based on a per core costing model. This can drastically increase the cost of the product depending on the volume of data you need the database to handle.
  • Unlike MYSQL, MOVEit Transfer has no built-in installer for MSSQL and instead relies on the user having MSSQL knowledge to set up and configure the connection to MOVEit Transfer / Automation.
  • MSSQL is OS resource dependant and as such if restrictions to the bare metal or the VM are not put in place MSSQL will continue using the hypervisor / bare metal resources until there is nothing spare which can cause performance degradation or even system crashes depending on the volume of the resource being used. Please check the VM restrictions on virtual resources before deploying.

Azure SQL

Lastly, we can talk about Azure SQL. This case is specific to hosting MOVEit Transfer / Automation in Azure itself and taking advantage of the Azure SQL service available. This is a SaaS solution to SQL and so you will be charged on usage vs MSSQL’s licensing model.

If you decide to use Azure SQL or you wish to migrate to Azure SQL please read more here.

The pros and cons are very much the same as MSSQL however with the small changes that this is a SaaS solution and as such means uptime is dependent on a 3rd party rather than your own infrastructure.

If you would like to know more about databases for MOVEit Transfer or MOVEit Automation, our team of MOVEit MFT experts are here to help. Please contact us here.

About the Author



Sean Holdstock is the Technical Consultant at Pro2col. As a Technical Consultant Sean keeps up to date with trends and changes in the IT marketplace to give him a clear outlook on how technology evolves.

He’s not afraid to challenge his knowledge by learning new code languages and always looks for ways this could help his colleagues and customers. 

Find out more about Sean here.