Microsoft realigns its SQL Azure cloud database line-up

Microsoft is retiring its SQL Web and Business cloud-database service tiers in April 2015 and replacing them with new Basic, Standard and Premium ones.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft realigns its cloud database line-up


Microsoft is taking away some of its current cloud-database service tiers and replacing them with new ones.

Microsoft officials announced that the company will be retiring its SQL Database Web and Business service tiers on April 24, 2015. At the same time, the company is rolling out previews for new Basic and Standard tiers, officials said in an April 24 blog posting. (Microsoft officials said they will ensure customers have at least six months of general availability of the new tiers before retiring the old ones, even if that involves extending the retirement date.)

Microsoft already unveiled plans for a new Premium tier for its Azure SQL Database. But it wasn't until today, April 24, that preview releases of all three SQL Azure  tiers -- Basic, Standard and Premium -- were made pubicly available.

According to Microsoft's blog post, the new tiers offer a stronger uptime service level agreement (SLA) at 99.95 percent, plus support for larger database sizes (up to 500 GB) for less money.

Microsoft's descriptions of the three new tiers:

1. Basic: Designed for applications with a light transactional workload. Performance objectives for Basic provide a predictable hourly transaction rate.
2. Standard: Standard is the go-to option for getting started with cloud-designed business applications. It offers mid-level performance and business continuity features. Performance objectives for Standard deliver predictable per minute transaction rates.
3. Premium: Designed for mission-critical databases, Premium offers the highest performance levels and access to advanced business continuity features. Performance objectives for Premium deliver predictable per second transaction rates.

Here's Microsoft's pricing chart for the new tiers.


As noted, these prices are for the preview, and reflect a 50 percent preview discount that presumably will be eliminated once the new tiers are made generally available. Here's the pricing chart for the current Web and Business tiers.

Microsoft also is adding new "business continuity" features across the three new SQL Azure tiers that are designed to remove import/export and data-sync workarounds. Those new features include self-service restore and active geo-replication.

Microsoft made a tweak to its Windows Azure tiers/pricing earlier this week with the addition of a new Basic tier for Azure Web Sites.

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