Azure Services Announcements and Pricing Updates

Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure Active Directory Basic, new SQL Database service tiers and Media Services Encoding and Indexer. The public previews of new Media Services offerings have also been announced.

Azure Active Directory Basic Generally Available

Azure Active Directory Basic, the new member of Azure Identity offerings, covers the application access and self-service identity management requirements of task workers with cloud-first needs. It includes all the available Azure Active Directory capabilities and also provides group-based access management and Self-Service Password Reset for cloud applications. Azure Active Directory Basic provides a customizable environment for launching enterprise and consumer cloud applications and an enterprise-level SLA of 99.9 percent uptime.

SQL Database Basic, Standard, and Premium Generally Available, with higher SLA and updated pricing

New Azure SQL Database service tiers—Basic, Standard, and Premium—are generally available. These tiers address the needs of today’s demanding cloud applications by providing predictable performance for your light- to heavy-weight transactional applications while also ensuring the performance of your apps are no longer affected by other customer workloads. Additionally, the new tiers provide you with the following new capabilities:

  • 99.99% uptime SLA, one of the highest for Azure Services
  • Hourly billing for greater flexibility and budget management
  • Reduced prices(up to 50 % from previously published general availability pricing)

All general availability pricing for Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers will take effect on November 1, 2014.


SQL Database


  • Basic: Designed for applications with a light transactional workload. Performance objectives for Basic provide a predictable hourly transaction rate.
  • Standard: Designed as 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.
  • Premium: Designed for mission-critical databases, this offers the highest performance levels and access to advanced business continuity features. Performance objectives for Premium deliver predictable per-second transaction rates.

Azure Media Services Updates

Azure Media Services is introducing faster encoding speeds and more cost-effective billing. On October 1, 2014, Azure Media Encoder will be generally available. The enhanced Azure Media Encoder is designed for premium media encoding and is billed based on output GBs. The previous encoder was billed on both input + output GBs, so the shift to output only billing will effectively result in a substantial price reduction for all customers.

Live Streaming and Content Protection is in public preview. The same Internet scale streaming solution that a dozen leading international broadcasters used to seamlessly deliver the 2014 Winter Games and 2014 FIFA World Cup to tens of millions of customers globally is now available in public preview to all Azure customers. You can now stream live events of any size with the same level of scalability, uptime, and reliability that was available to the Olympics and World Cup. And to protect customers’ premium video content, Azure Media is introducing a new Content Protection offering which features both static and dynamic encryption with first party PlayReady license delivery and an AES 128-bit key delivery service.

Finally, the Azure Media Indexer has hit general availability. The content extraction service can be used to enhance the “searchability” of audio and video files. It can quickly index your media library so you can later search by keywords, phrases, or clips, as well as create transcripts of audio files or the audio track of a video file.


Microsoft Azure Blog

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