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Our customers told us that their database workloads like SQL Server or Oracle often require high memory, storage, and I/O bandwidth, but not a high core count. Many database workloads they are running are not CPU-intensive. They want a VM size that enables them to constrain the VM vCPU count to reduce the cost of software licensing, all while maintaining the same memory, storage, and I/O bandwidth.

We are excited to announce the latest versions of our most popular VM sizes (DS, ES, GS, and MS), which constrain the vCPU count to one half or one quarter of the original VM size, while maintaining the same memory, storage and I/O bandwidth. We have marked these new VM sizes with a suffix that specifies the number of active vCPUs to make them easier for you to identify.

For example, the current VM size Standard_GS5 comes with 32 vCPUs, 448GB mem, 64 disks (up to 256 TB), and 80,000 IOPs or 2 GB/s of I/O bandwidth. The new VM sizes Standard_GS5-16 and Standard_GS5-8 comes with 16 and 8 active vCPUs respectively, while maintaining the rest of the specs of the Standard_GS5 in regards to memory, storage, and I/O bandwidth.

The licensing charged for SQL Server or Oracle will be constrained to the new vCPU count, and other products should be charged based on the new vCPU count. All of this results in a 50% to 75% increase in the ratio of the VM specs to active (billable) vCPUs. These new VM sizes that are only available in Azure, allowing workloads to push higher CPU utilization at a fraction of the (per-core) licensing cost. At this time, the compute cost, which includes OS licensing, remains the same one as the original size.

Here are a few examples of the potential savings running a VM provisioned from the SQL Server Enterprise image on the new DS14-4v2 and GS5-8 VM sizes as compared to their original versions. For the latest official pricing please refer to our Azure VM pricing page.

VM Size vCPUs Memory Max Disks Max I/O Throughput SQL Server Enterprise licensing cost per year

Total cost per year

(Compute + licensing)

Standard_DS14v2 16 112 GB 32 51,200 IOPS or 768 MB/s    
Standard_DS14-4v2 4 112 GB 32 51,200 IOPS or 768 MB/s 75% lower 57% lower
Standard_GS5 32 448 64 80,000 IOPS or 2 GB/s    
Standard_GS5-8 8 448 64 80,000 IOPS or 2 GB/s 75% lower 42% lower

If you bring your own SQL Server licenses to one of these new VM sizes, either by using one of our BYOL images or manually installing SQL Server, then you only need to license their restricted vCPU count. For more details on BYOL and other ideas to further reduce cost check our SQL Server pricing guidance.

Start using these new VM sizes and saving on licensing cost today!

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