Hosting a Microsoft SQL Server Database on a cloud is very cheap, Anyone can afford to have a SQL Server database in Microsoft Cloud Environment. The cost starts from $5 per month, yes Microsoft has an 100 MB option, which costs only $5 a month.
Currently many customer / Business managers are unaware of this fact, how cost effective is to use Microsoft cloud / SQL Server Azure. specially for startups, where buying a software licensing is too costly. I prepared a small example to understand this fact. The very first question is
What are the Key factors for taking decision on hosting data on SQL Server Vs SQL Azure?
Compare SQL Server with Windows Azure SQL Database
Taking a decision between SQL Server (In house Hosting) vs hosting on Microsoft Cloud (SQL Azure) is not a big challenge.
As per my personal experience, decision of hosting Data on SQL Server vs SQL Azure is mainly derived by
- COST / Financial
- Technical Limitations
Let’s understand these two in details by apple to apple comparison.
In this scenario, let’s take example for startup company and planned a database services solution 3-5 years time frame from cost prospective.
- This is new company and gonna host a website for user interaction
- The initial Database size would be 1 GB
- First Year, marketing team is very active in advertisements etc, because product is still in development phase but application is available to users for first year. During this phase data growth is expected an avg of 1 GB per month. Thus by End of 1st year, our database size is expected to be 13 GB (1 Gb initial and 1 GB per month)
- After a year company is expected to come up with big launch and will advertise in market and expected 5 time growth in second year i.e. 2 Gb Data would be added per month. Thus by End of 2nd year, our database size is expected to be 13 GB (1 Gb initial and 1 GB per month)
- Third and fourth year onwards company is expecting double his business and expected that 3 GB new Data will be added to a database.
- As product is mature and reach it’s capacity, Year 5 company will have a bit slow growth but will look for more products to launch in market thus data growth would be 2.5 GB per month
So finally this is how the Database size growth chart looks like, based on above assumptions
Both two charts are based this Data for calculation purpose for calculating SQL AZURE Prices
||Cost Per Month
Hosting In house Database Server COST
If you plan to host a in house / in premises SQL Server Database server, then you are gonna pay approx $15,000 for this solution in 5 years time span.
|Hardware Cost (Dell PowerEdge T410 Chassis)
Intel® Xeon® E5620 2.4Ghz, 8 GB RAM, 500GB with RAID controller Card
|SQL Server License (4 Core) (1792 * 4) One Time
|Date Center Hosting ($100 * 60) recurring
I am assuming that you don’t want to take head ache for security / firewall / redundant Power,
Redundant Internet Backbones, DR etc and will prefer to host inside a vendor hosted datacenter and will pay a monthly rent.
So In our above example, a One time cost of $9,172 in buying software and hardware and will be paying $100 recurring cost for server hosting in Data center, which sill sum up to $15,172 and you need to manage your own server where you will be responsible for hiring a consultant, who will
- Install and Configure SQL Server on a New Server
- Will apply security patches, whenever there is a release
- There is no DR covered in this, if Server fails, your business stops
- Will buy some Antivirus to protect Server.
- Need a DBA to for maintenance, who will be taking backup and other stuff.
- There might be a possibility, Microsoft may come with New Version of SQL Server like SQL Server 2015 and might want to upgrade than , additional headache.
- Need a Windows Consultant to manage windows Server / patches / maintenance same as SQL Server.
Conclusion on COST, the cloud hosting will be a preferred option, if you look at above example, where a SQL AZURE Database (Microsoft Cloud Cost for SQL Azure Database) is costing you $7,592 over a period of 5 years the same solution will cost you approx $15,172, if you decide to host your own SQL Server.
SQL AZURE Database is better Option than SQL Server database / hosting, considering Cost as primary factor and avoiding technical limitations.
But Costing if one part of solution, there are some technical limitations on SQL AZURE, which you should keep in mind, before taking a final decision.
Hosting Database SQL Server Database on SQL Azure / Microsoft Cloud or Building your own Database Server
Compare SQL Server with Windows Azure SQL Database
SQL AZURE PROS and CONS
||SQL Server (In house hosting)
||SQL Database on Microsoft Cloud (SQL Azure)
|Number of Databases
||You can host multiple (32000+) Database on Instance as you don’t worry on number of databases, as you own the Server.
You can use “USE” <DatabaseName> to change current Database.
|You bother to host number of databases on SQL Azure as you pay per instance of Database. Here you don’t own a Server, in fact you own a database.
The “USE” <DatabaseName> is not supported, as you own a only one database. you need to connect to Other Database by using alternative Connection String.
|Database Size / Storage
||No size limits. DB can grow up to TB’s
||* The Web Edition Database can have maximum size of 5 GB.
* The Business Edition Database supports a maximum database size of 150 GB.
So any database beyond 150 GB is not supported by SQL Azure Database, you need to partition as work around with this limitation
||· SQL Server Management Studio
|* The SQL Server Management Studio can be used to access, configure, manage and administer SQL Azure Database.
*The Management portal for Windows Azure SQL Database
||* SQL Authentication
* Windows Authentication
|SQL Server Authentication only
|Schema / Structure
||No such limitation, you can design your own solution
||ALL tables must have a clustered index.
||All TSQL Support is availbale
||There are some TSQL statements, which are not supported, here is a list of all such statements.
|High Availability Features / Solutions
||High Availability Features / Solutions like
- Log Shipping
- Database Mirroring
|Not supported as cloud services hosts inbuilt DR solutions
|Scheduling Jobs / Taks
||We can use SQL Agent to schedule some tasks / activities
||SQL Server Agent is not available, thus Cannot run SQL agent or jobs on SQL Database
|Server Level Customization
||you have full access to server, you can change server level properties, and see server level information.
||Some few system views are supported
||Connecting to Windows Azure SQL Database by using OLE DB is not supported. Connections that have been idle for 30 minutes or longer are automatically killed.
|SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)
||Can run SSIS on-premise
||SSIS service not available on Azure platform
The Above facts are being taken from MSDN, “General Guidelines and Limitations, SQL AZURE”
SQL Azure, is not only the Services which are being offered by Microsoft on cloud, As on date Microsoft offers following services as part of their Cloud Services Portfolio.
Standard Rates for various Cloud Services at glace:
- Small instance (default): $0.12 per hour
- Medium instance: $0.24 per hour
- Large instance: $0.48 per hour
- Extra large instance: $0.96 per hour
- $0.15 per GB stored per month
- $0.01 per 10,000 storage transactions
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- $0.15 per GB for data transfers from European and North American locations*
- $0.20 per GB for data transfers from other locations*
- $0.01 per 10,000 transactions*