A few tweaks to Azure SQL Database’s new tiers

One of the things that make Azure SQL Database difficult to keep track of is that details of some database behaviors can change, usually without notice or announcement. There were supposed to be announcements on one of the Azure blogs, but that hasn’t happened for Azure SQL Database in over a year, except for the “big announcements” this April. There is no way to confirm that “things used to work this way, and now they don’t”. This is particularly difficult with preview features that are more likely to change during the preview.

That being said, there are a few changes that have happened with respect to the new Basic/Standard/Premium tiers preview. The first one is that you can mix “new tier” and “old tier” databases on the same server now. Previously they didn’t mix; a server could either contain old or new tier databases, but not both. I currently have a server with a Web edition and a Basic edition database. I first the server after the preview started (PowerShell identifies these as “V2” servers); I don’t have an “old tier” server (V1?) to test out whether it supports the new tiers. Using an “old tier” database on the same server as a “new tier” database doesn’t convey “new tier” behaviors. That is, deleting the “new tier” (Basic edition) database makes it available for restore under the “Deleted Databases” portal tab. Deleted the “old tier” (Web edition) database doesn’t.

Another change is in the implementation of restore/recovery of databases (and deleted databases). Not only have the Basic and Standard tiers “length of available backup” changed (Basic from “most recent daily backup” to “point in time within 7 days” and Standard’s point-in-time from 7 to 14 days), but all editions (including Basic) support point-in-time restore. This also means that the Start-AzureSqlDatabaseRestore (for editions that support point-in-time) now works on all new editions, whereas Start-AzureSqlDatabaseRecovery (for editions that don’t support point-in-time) doesn’t seem to work at all, with any edition.

Finally, the “Automated Export” feature (where you want to backup on a schedule and also keep your bacpac file) is now available for the new tiers as well as the old. Check it out under the “Configure” tab on any SQL Azure Database, old tier or new.

Cheers, @bobbeauch

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