Microsoft Azure has a new way for subscribers to use its SQL Database. The new subscription model offers three service tiers: Basic, Standard and Premium. They will slowly phase out the previous existing service tiers: Web and Business. The new tiers are planned to deliver more predictable performance, simplify billing and avoid costly workarounds.
Depending on the workload and their business requirements, subscribes can opt for any of the service tiers. You can have a single database with defined characteristics and pricing, or multiple databases. In both cases, Basic, Standard and Premium tiers are available.
Service Tiers and Database Options
The Service Tiers offered by Azure, differ in their database size, performance level, disaster recovery capabilities and price. Subscribers are charged per day for the number of databases they used that day. Price per database is calculated based on the highest service tier and performance level used that day. All three new service tiers come with a service-level agreement of 99.95% uptime.
The entry level tier caters to small workloads with relatively small data sets. Designed for applications with a light transactional workload and continuity needs. The performance objectives for Basic provides a predictable hourly transaction rate. The maximum size database in Basic Tier is 2 GB.
Examples include databases used for small test and development projects, or infrequently used applications.
The intermediate tier is the Standard edition. It provides database support for cloud based applications which need more size and performance than the Basic tier. It offers mid-level performance and business continuity features. The performance objectives for Standard provides a predictable per minute transaction rates. The max size database in Standard is 250 GB.
Examples include databases used for workgroups or web applications.
It is designed for mission-critical databases that require high performance levels and advanced disaster recovery and business continuity features. Premium offers the highest performance and access levels. The Performance objectives for Premium provides a predictable per second transaction rates. The max size database in Premium is 500 GB.
Examples are databases supporting mission critical applications with high transactional volume, supporting a large number of concurrent users and requiring the highest level of business continuity capabilities.
Performance levels of Azure SQL Databases
Any Azure SQL service tier that you opt for has different performance levels. For single databases there are multiple performance levels within each service tier, you have the flexibility to choose the level that meets your workload’s demands. You can change the service tiers of your database, in the Azure Management portal to scale up and down as required.
The Basic tier offers only one performance level, while the Standard and Premium tiers offer multiple performance levels. The higher the performance level, the greater the workload a database can support.
Performance levels are based on the Database Throughput Unit (DTU). A DTU is a performance measurement that takes into account the CPU and memory and I/O resources available to the database engine. The higher the number of DTUs, the greater the workloads a database can support.
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