Microsoft tweaks its cloud database pricing

Microsoft tweaks its cloud database pricing

Summary: Microsoft made a raft of cloud-related announcements at its TechEd conference last week. But one of them got relatively little notice: Changes to the company's SQL Azure cloud database pricing.

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Microsoft made a raft of cloud-related announcements at its TechEd conference last week. But one of them got relatively little notice: Changes to the company's SQL Azure cloud database pricing.

As I blogged last week, Microsoft is raising the storage ceiling for SQL Azure to 50 GB (for the Business Edition of its SQL Azure service), as of June 28. The Web edition also get a higher 5 GB ceiling, starting June 28. The business edition will be billed at 10 GB increments, and the Web edition at the 1 GB rate for databases below 1 GB of total data, or at the 5 GB rate for databases between 1 GB and 5 GB, the Softies said.

"Even though both editions can now support larger ceiling sizes (web up to 5GB and business up to 50GB), you will be billed based on the peak db size in a day rolled up to the next billing increment," explained Microsoft officials via a blog post.

The new SQL Azure pricing rate chart looks like this:

Web Edition:

Up to 1 GB relational database = $9.99 / month Up to 5 GB relational database = $49.95 / month

Business Edition:

Up to 10 GB relational database = $99.99 / month Up to 20 GB relational database = $199.98 / month Up to 30 GB relational database = $299.97 / month Up to 40 GB relational database = $399.96 / month Up to 50 GB relational database = $499.95 / month

Data transfers = $0.10 in/GB /$0.15 out/GB ($0.30 in/GB $0.45 out/GB in Asia) * No charge for inbound data transfers during off-peak times through October 31, 2010

"The new SQL Azure pricing is very significant," said Microsoft cloud expert Roger Jennings, even though "prices for basic 1 GB Web and 10 GB Business databases didn’t change."

Jennings noted that a number of TechEd attendees considered 50 GB to be still too small for enterprises, "but I wonder if IT depts are ready to pay $9,950/month for a terabyte (assuming linear pricing)," he said.

"Bear in mind that Microsoft provides an additional two replicas in the same data center for high availability, so a 1 TB database consumes 3 TB of storage. Geo-replication to other data centers for disaster recovery still isn’t available as an option, but you can use the new SQL Server Data Sync feature announced at TechEd to synchronize replicas. However, there is considerable (many minutes of) latency in the Data Sync process."

As I noted from TechEd last week, Microsoft is adding support for spatial data with SQL Azure. It also rolled out  a preview version of a new Data Sync Service tool that allows developers to select how and where to distribute their data across multiple datacenters. (This tool is part of Microsoft's cloud data-hub strategy -- the project codenamed "Huron.") The new Data Sync Service for SQL Azure -- a complement to the similarly named SQL Azure Data Sync -- is designed to allow developers to configure their SQL Azure database to be synchronized with one or more SQL Azure databases in any of Microsoft's Windows Azure data centers.

Any Azure customers or potential customers have any observations -- pro or con -- on the new SQL Azure pricing structure?

Topics: Software, Data Centers, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Storage

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Microsoft tweaks its cloud database pricing

    I think MSFT ought to have an offering for very small or very low activity databases. I would like to experiment with sql azure; I'd like to host some very small databases on it. But I am not willing to pay $120 a year each, that's extremely cost inefficient. I know the primary focus for cloud computing has been scalability etc; but even if you don't need to scale, sql azure is great because it gives you a sql db in the sky. It's just too expensive for use with trivial apps. I don't see that it'd cost MSFT much if anything to host small and lightly used db in sql azure. The net result of the current pricing is that many who might otherwise use the service for little apps will bounce off the pricing; they'll never consider sql azure; it won't become a 'no-brainer' part of many application builder's toolkit.
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