SQL AZURE pricing (PROS | CONS) – How costly is to have SQL Database on a Cloud?

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SQL AZURE pricing (PROS | CONS)   How costly is to have SQL Database on a Cloud? SQL AZURE PROS and CONS sql azure pricing Compare SQL Server with SQL Azure  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

SQL AZURE pricing (PROS | CONS)   How costly is to have SQL Database on a Cloud? SQL AZURE PROS and CONS sql azure pricing Compare SQL Server with SQL Azure

SQL AZURE pricing (PROS | CONS)   How costly is to have SQL Database on a Cloud? SQL AZURE PROS and CONS sql azure pricing Compare SQL Server with SQL Azure

Both two charts are based this Data for calculation purpose for calculating SQL AZURE Prices

Month Date Database Size Cost Per Month Cumulative Cost
1 1/1/2012 2 14 24
4 4/1/2012 5 26 90
7 7/1/2012 8 38 192
10 10/1/2012 11 48 328
13 1/1/2013 15 56 486
16 4/1/2013 21 68 678
19 7/1/2013 27 80 906
22 10/1/2013 33 92 1170
25 1/1/2014 40 106 1472
28 4/1/2014 49 124 1826
31 7/1/2014 58 134 2220
34 10/1/2014 67 143 2640
37 1/1/2015 76 152 3087
40 4/1/2015 85 161 3561
43 7/1/2015 94 170 4062
46 10/1/2015 103 179 4590
49 1/1/2016 111.5 188 5145
52 4/1/2016 119 195 5722
55 7/1/2016 126.5 203 6323
58 10/1/2016 134 210 6946
61 1/1/2017 141.5 218 7592

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.

Items Cost
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 7,172
Date Center Hosting ($100 * 60) recurring 6,000
Total 15,172

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


Feature 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

Connectivity · 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


Authentication * 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.
TSQL Supportability 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

  • Replication
  • 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


Connection Limitations N/A 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:

Windows Azure

  • Compute
    • 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
  • Storage
    • $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*

SQL Azure

  • Web Edition
    • $9.99 per database up to 1GB per month
    • $49.95 per database up to 5GB per month**
  • Business Edition
    • Maximum $225.78 per month a maximum database size, which is 150 GB, various prices can be check at Azure Calculator, SQL AZURE Pricing


    • Access Control
      • $1.99 per 100,000 transactions
    • Service Bus
      • $3.99 per connection on a “pay-as-you-go” basis
      • Pack of 5 connections $9.95
      • Pack of 25 connections $49.75
      • Pack of 100 connections $199.00
      • Pack of 500 connections $995.00

    Data Transfers / Storage

    • North America and Europe regions
      • $0.10 per GB in
      • $0.15 per GB out
    • Asia Pacific Region
      • $0.30 per GB in
      • $0.45 per GB out

    Neudesic has built an Azure ROI Calculator, which provides an interactive tool to provide indicative pricing, which you check.

EOF - SQL AZURE pricing (PROS | CONS) – How costly is to have SQL Database on a Cloud?, SQL Server 2012 , 2008 R2 , 2008 , 2005 , 2000

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