New Azure SQL Database Service Tiers

Microsoft’s Eron Kelly has recently blogged about Azure SQL Database introduces new service tiers, where the existing Web and Business service tiers will be replaced in twelve months, as they are gradually replaced by six new service tiers, including Basic, Standard 1, Standard 2, Premium 1, Premium 2, and Premium 3. There will be differences in the “self-recovery” level and geo-replication levels across the SKUs.

Here are a couple of new acronyms for you to learn:

Database Throughput Unit (DTU): The resources powering each performance level are represented in DTUs. It combines CPU, memory, physical reads, and transaction log writes into a single unit. A performance level with 5 DTUs has five times more power than a performance level with 1 DTU. The “Database Throughput Unit” (DTU) represents database power and is meant to replace hardware specifications in the context of Azure SQL Database. 

Azure SQL Database Benchmark (ASDB): ASDB measures the actual throughput of a performance level by using a mix of database operations which occur most frequently in online transaction processing (OLTP) workloads.

Table 1 shows some relevant information about these new Azure SQL Database service tiers.

Service Tier Monthly Cost/DB Database Size Limit DTU/Database ASDB Transactions/Minute
Basic $4.99 2GB 1 DTU 58
Standard 1 $40.00 250GB 5 DTU 283
Standard 2 $200.00 250GB 25 DTU 1,470
Premium 1 $930.00 500GB 100 DTU 5,880
Premium 2 $1,860.00 500GB 200 DTU 11,520
Premium 3 $7,440.00 500GB 800 DTU 43,800

Table 1: Azure SQL Database Service Tiers

While the new service tiers are in a “preview” status, pricing will be 50% lower than what is shown in Table 1. You can read more about pricing details here. I am most interested in exploring the information disclosed in the new Azure SQL Database Service Tiers and Performance Levels, blog post, since it give us some more concrete information about what a DTU is. There is also some more detailed information about the new ASDB in the Azure SQL Database Benchmark Overview.

8 thoughts on “New Azure SQL Database Service Tiers

  1. Any idea what the current Web / Business DTU’s are? I’ve been using the Web for a while so it’d be nice to know how the performance I’ve come to expect translates to the new plans.

    1. Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer to that. That question has been posed to Microsoft, so hopefully they will provide an answer at some point.

    2. I don’t think Microsoft will share the equivalent DTUs for the existing service tiers. Web/Business can actually support much higher transaction rates than S1.

      Of course, they are aiming to provide consist transaction rates with the new tiers, where as web/business can hit higher rates but throttling can occasionally be a problem, or more likely in my experience, a short outage as databases are moved around / failed over behind the scenes to balance the load as happens quite routinely at present.

      Still, the bottom line is to hit the same transaction rates, especially with smaller databases, we are going to have to pay quite a lot more than at present.

      I think some customers will start seriously looking around for other options – and will probably take all their cloud services with them (e.g. no point leaving Compute in Azure if the DB at Amazon).

  2. Hi .. i see a problem when using the new service tiers… (was not sure if this is the right place to ask this question.. but please do recommend the right forum that could help me out here…)
    we have a Service call API ‘CreateDB()’ which in turn is calling another service call API ‘CreateDB2()’. In createDB2() , We are creating a database on Azure SQL programmatically using ‘CREATE DATABASE XYZ (EDITION=’business’, MAxSIZE=150GB)’ . We then create tables on it by executing our custom sql script files on it(taking about 3 mins). So far, this had been working fine without issues as long as we create the db on Web/business edition service tiers. (server verion 1.0)
    However, when we try to create the db on the new Azure SQL DB service tiers (Basic/Standard – server verion 2.0), using CREATE DATABASE XYZ (EDITION=’standard’, MAXSIZE=150GB) , we are getting a weird issue.
    The createDB2() call is creating the database and executing the table scripts successfully (but taking about 6 mins which could be bacoz of DTU factor), but the weird part is, this call is never returning back to the parent createDB() caller. It is just waiting and timing out after 10 mins (which is our default service timeout). This happens only when using basic and standard edition. Premium edition works fine just like web/business (compeltes in 3mins).

    We also noticed that on using basic & standard editions we get the below warning message in logs .. :
    w3wp.exe “Warning: 0 : WARNING: OMRegionStats.Size is negative. Current: -103, Last increment: -1”

    Not sure If this has anything to do with the issues.

    Any idea why is this happening???

  3. I have conducted some performance testing comparing the current Web/Business editions with the new service tiers. In short, the Standard Tier, as it exists today, does not look like a viable replacement for Web/Business.

    For the details, please see:

  4. So I will be forced to pay significatly more for the pleasure of much reduced performance? Time to start looking at Amazon I think.

  5. Hi Glen,
    Have you tried the SQL Azure DTU Calculator? I found it to be a very accurate and simple way to find the appropriate SQL Azure performance level for an on premise SQL Server workload.
    Best wishes

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