Azure SQL Database introduces geo-restore, standard geo-replication, and auditing

01 August 2014

On April 24, 2014, Azure SQL Database previewed new service tiers (Basic, Standard, and Premium) to help customers innovate with cloud-designed database workloads. Now we're adding even more with the following new features:
  • Geo-restore: Designed for emergency data recovery when you need it most, geo-restore recovers a database to any Azure region in the event of a catastrophic event. Geo-restore uses geo-redundant Azure Blob storage for daily database backups and is available with Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers in the current Azure Management Portal and standard API.
  • Standard geo-replication: Opt in to a Microsoft managed geo-replication service with an asynchronously replicated secondary database that's ready to take over if disaster strikes. Azure regions are pre-paired, at least 500 miles apart, and within geopolitical areas to help ensure data sovereignty. Standard geo-replication is available with Standard and Premium databases in the current Azure Management Portal and standard APIs. Standard geo-replication incurs a cost for the secondary database, which is billed at 75 percent of the primary database.
  • Auditing: The new audit feature tracks and logs events that occur on your database. Dashboard views and reports provide at-a-glance insight into database events. Use auditing to streamline compliance-related activities, stay informed about what's happening in your database, and identify trends, discrepancies, and anomalies such as business concerns or suspected security violations. Audit events are written to an audit log that is stored in an Azure storage account that you designate (note that Azure storage rates apply). Auditing is available in Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers and only available in the new Azure Preview portal and via standard APIs.
We've also improved the billing experience for Premium tier customers using active geo-replication. Now, every Premium secondary replica will be clearly designated in your bill as  “secondary.” For more information, check out the Microsoft Azure Blog and the Azure SQL Database Business Continuity, Preview features, and Changing Database Service Tiers and Performance Levels webpages. For a comprehensive look at pricing, visit the SQL Database Pricing Details webpage.

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