Microsoft is making a series of enhancements to its Azure SQL Database, including a new “Premium RS” tier, as the big public cloud providers roll out new database products and features to attract the growing number of businesses and developers making the shift to the cloud.
The company is also increasing storage limits for two of its existing Premium databases (P11 and P15), as well as making improvements to the online portal used for figuring out pricing in Azure SQL Database.
Microsoft competes with companies including Oracle, SAP, AWS and IBM for market share in the operational database management market. Last week, Google Cloud Platform made a series of database announcements at its Google Cloud Next conference.
The Redmond company announced the updates for Azure SQL Database last week. The new Premium RS tier (now in preview) is designed to help customers who need to run intensive input-output workloads that don’t require the kind of “high availability guarantees” provided in the company’s existing Premium tier of Azure SQL Database, according to a post by Jan Engelsberg, Microsoft’s senior program manager for Azure SQL Database,
Documentation for the new service tier explains that Premium RS databases run with fewer redundant copies than Premium or Standard databases. This means that if you get a service failure, “you may need to recover your database from a backup with up to a 5-minute lag.
Despite this limitation, Engelsberg says that he sees some strong use cases for the new service tier and says that it’s an ideal solution when running workloads that can “replay the data in case of a severe system error, such as analytical workloads, where the database is not (the) system of record.”
Meanwhile, users of Azure SQL’s P11 and P15 Premium databases will now find that they have more storage to work with. When P15 was announced as generally available last summer, it included up to 1 Tb of storage. Last week’s announcement adds a 4 Tb storage option for both the P11 and P15 Premium databases.
It’s important to note, however, that these storage limit increases won’t be available everywhere right away. Microsoft says it will have worldwide availability of the increased storage option later this year. For now, however, the increased storage can be used with databases in the following Azure regions: East US 2, West US, Canada East and South East Asia and West Europe, Japan East, Australia East, Canada Central.
The company also did some work to tackle the often vexing issue of figure out what a particular set of services will cost. It redesigned the way that customers can look at the tier of service they might want – and immediately see what it would cost them. The redesign also shows pricing for the newly-provided Premium RS tier.