In April, Microsoft realigned its cloud database line-up, introducing some new service tiers and phasing out others.
This week, officials made further tweaks to that line-up with some price reductions and improved service level availability. The changes are just ahead of general availability of the new tiers in September.
Microsoft is cutting prices on the Azure SQL Premium and Standard tiers by 50 percent from previously published pricing. Basic tier pricing will remain the same as previously published. Microsoft also is moving Azure SQL Database to hourly billing for the new service tiers, according to an August 26 blog post outlining the new changes.
Microsoft also is adding a new s0 (s-zero) performance level in the Standard service tier that is meant to be a lower-cost entry point for Standard. And instead of providing 99.95 percent availability in its service level agreements (SLAs) for the new tiers, Microsoft will be providing 99.99 percent availability, officials said.
As Microsoft execs said in April, the current Web and Business service tiers will be retired in April 2015.
Here's what the new Azure SQL pricing looks like:
The new pricing takes effect as of November 1, 2014.