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New Azure SQL Database service tiers generally available in September with reduced pricing and enhanced SLA

Following on the heels of last week’s announcement, I am pleased to announce more news about our efforts to deliver a rich, connected set of data services on Azure, as part of our broader data platform.

Following on the heels of last week’s announcement, I am pleased to announce more news about our efforts to deliver a rich, connected set of data services on Azure, as part of our broader data platform. In September we will make available the new service tiers for Azure SQL Database, our database-as-a-service that gives customers greater price performance and business continuity for cloud apps. During the preview, we have actively listened and responded to customer feedback to tune our offerings for general availability. Per your feedback, we are reducing the service tier prices from previously-announced rates, introducing a new performance level and offering hourly billing. In addition, we are providing an enhanced service-level agreement (SLA) of 99.99% availability.


New Azure SQL Database service tiers

In April we announced the Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers. These tiers are designed to provide a defined set of resources which deliver predictable performance for light-weight to heavy-weight transactional application demands and also ensure the performance of your apps are not affected by other customer apps and workloads. The new tiers also offer a spectrum of business continuity features and larger database sizes up to 500 GB. Since April, we have continued to roll out additional features, improve the upgrade experience, and increase performance, even up to 5x, in the new offerings. Today we are sharing additional changes that are a direct result of your feedback.  Details are below.

  • Premium and Standard price reductions:  Final pricing will reflect up to 50% savings from previously-published pricing.  Updated pricing will help more customers benefit from higher performance and greater business continuity.
  • New S0 performance level:  Within the Standard service tier, we will offer a new S0 performance level.  This new lower cost entry point will enable more customers to benefit from the features in the Standard tier. Performance levels provide a defined level of throughput that can be easily dialed up or down, based on performance demands.
  • Hourly billing:  Azure SQL Database will move to hourly billing for the new service tiers.  This will provide customers with greater flexibility to shift between service tiers and performance levels, based on demand patterns, to gain cost-effective, reliable performance.


Also, as customers move more business-critical workloads to the cloud, we understand that high availability is critical and therefore we are excited to announce that the new service tiers for Azure SQL Database will have an enhanced 99.99% availability SLA.


Additionally, during the preview, we’ve heard from some ISVs, which have a large number of databases with variable performance demands, that they need the flexibility to share performance resources across these databases as opposed to managing resources for databases individually.  For example, some SaaS ISVs may have a separate SQL database for each customer and as the activity of each database varies, they want to manage a pool of resources with a defined budget across these customer databases.  We are working to enable this scenario within the new service tiers in a future service update. If you are an ISV with a similar scenario, please click here to sign up to learn more.


Below is a summary of the service tiers and updated pricing:


  • Basic: Designed for applications with a light transactional workload.
  • Standard: This is the go-to option for getting started with cloud-designed business applications. It offers mid-level performance and business continuity features.
  • Premium: Designed for mission-critical databases, this offers the highest performance levels and access to advanced business continuity features.


  Basic Standard Premium

Uptime   SLA

  Increased to 99.99%*

Database   size limit

2   GB

250   GB

500   GB

Self-service   restore

Any   point within 7 days

Any   point within 14 days

Any   point within 35 days

Disaster   recovery

Geo-restore   to alternate Azure region

Standard   geo-replication, standby secondary

Active   geo-replication, up to 4 readable secondaries

Performance   objectives

Transaction   rate per hour

Transaction   rate per minute

Transaction   rate per second

Database   throughput units**

Basic:   5

S0:  10

S1:  20

S2:  50

P1:  100

P2:  200

P3:  800

Performance   levels and monthly pricing

Basic:  $4.99

 S0:  $15

 S1:  $30

 S2:  $75

  P1:  $465

  P2:  $930

     P3:  $3,720

*99.99% uptime SLA does not apply to SQL Database Web or Business editions which are supported at 99.9%.

**Represents a blended measure of CPU, memory and read and write rates.  For further details, click here.


The new tiers are slated for general availability next month (September 2014) and the updated pricing will go into effect for all customers on November 1, 2014. To support customers during the transition from the current tiers, we will extend the retirement of the existing Web and Business service tiers to September 2015, one year after the general availability of the new tiers. Prior to retirement of Web and Business, the new service tier for ISVs that enables pooling DTU allocations across multiple databases will be available to support a smooth transition for these ISVs.


Microsoft’s Azure Data Services

Azure data services provide customers with unparalleled choice of ways to seamlessly process, manage and connect all types of data. These upcoming service updates will help customers more easily achieve their performance needs and take advantage of the economic benefits of cloud.  Whether you control and manage the database using SQL Server in an Azure Virtual Machine or take full advantage of our managed relational database-as-a-service – Azure SQL Database – we deliver the availability and performance you need.


I encourage you to try these offerings today and get ready for general availability of the new service tiers in September.  Start a free trial today!