Azure SQL Standard vs Premium

This Azure tutorial will discuss the critical differences between the Azure SQL Database standard vs premium, Azure SQL Database service tiers, etc.

Azure SQL Standard vs Premium

Let’s discuss the Azure SQL premium vs standard versions.

Azure SQL StandardAzure SQL Premium
An excellent option to start with cloud-designed business applications.Meant for mission-critical databases and high transactional volume applications.
Provides middle-level performance.Provides high performance.
It has access to business continuity features.It has access to advanced business continuity features.
Transaction rates per minute.Transaction rates per second.
Difference between Azure SQL Standard and Azure SQL Premium

Which Azure SQL database service tier provides the fastest recovery time for a database?

Answer: Hyperscale service tier

Azure SQL Database service tiers

There are two service tires for Azure SQL Database and SQL Managed Instance

  • General Purpose
  • Business Critical
Azure SQL Database tiers

General Purpose

The General Purpose service tier architecture is based on separating compute and Azure storage.

azure sql database service tier comparison

This service model guarantees no data loss in case of infrastructure failure.

There are two layers in the case of general-purpose service tier

1- A stateless compute layer that is running the sqlservr.exe process

2- A stateful data layer with database files that are stored in Azure Blob storage

Azure Service Fabric will move the stateless process to another stateless compute node in case of infrastructure failure. There are different sets of buffer nodes available to run the new compute service in case any failure happens

This process guarantees 99.99% availability.

Business Critical

The Business Critical service tier is based on a cluster of database engine processes.

This architecture model will ensure that there is always a quorum of available database engine nodes and has very little performance impact on your workload, even during maintenance activities.

Business Critical service tiers are designed for very intensive workload support even in case of any ongoing maintenance operations.

In this model, compute and storage are integrated on a single node, and replication of compute and storage is deployed to a four-node cluster.

azure sql database tiers

 In this case, the primary node pushes the changes to the secondary nodes to ensure that the data is available on secondary replicas if, by chance, the primary node fails for any infrastructure failure.

How to Choose the Right Service Tier

When creating an Azure SQL database, the first thing that will come to your mind is which service tier to choose.

Commonly, everyone will look for the service tier one that will be very cheap.

Choosing the right Azure SQL database service tier is not straightforward.

This depends on several factors: your budget?, Do you have any special requirements for your data?, and the Size of your data. Do you want dedicated professionals and administration? etc

This is a common fact that the more you pay, the more features you will get in your service tier.

A few things are there to keep in mind is that before selecting the service tier, you need to think of what the maximum size allowed and whether your data can fit there or not?, What is the backup retention period, and does that satisfy your business needs?

One more important thing you need to consider is the performance stuff before choosing the right service tier.

The service tier has two main concepts

  • SQL Database Edition
  • Database Throughput Units (DTU)

SQL Database Edition

There are three types of Azure SQL database editions. Are there

Azure SQL Database Tiers

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Premium

Each edition has its own set of features and limitations.

Usually, the Premium version has more features than the standard and basic versions, and you need to pay more if you are going with the premium version.

All these three editions support less than or equal to 2 GB of data. Standard and premium versions support 2 GB to 250 GB of data. Only the premium version supports 250 GB to 1 TB of data.

Database Throughput Units (DTU)

Database Throughput Units (DTU) are essential when deciding the service tier. You should decide how many numbers of DTUs you want to go with as per your business needs. The number of DTUs starts from 5 to 1750.

Another essential factor to consider here is to see the business Continuity options. There are different business continuity options available, like

Geo-Restore: This option is available in all the editions. This is related to the last daily backup option based on the region.

Standard Geo-Replication: This option is available for the standard and premium editions. You can define a fixed disaster recovery pair.

Active Geo-Replication: This option is available only in the premium edition. This is the most potent business continuity plan.

Point-in-Time restore: Backups are included in this particular continuity option. The retention duration depends on the edition you select for Basic – 7 days back, Standard – 14 days back, and for premium – 35 days back.

Performance is another critical factor to consider while choosing the service tier for the Azure SQL database.

In the case of the SQL database, the horsepower is measured with Database Throughput Units (DTU). You can choose between 5 to 1750 based on your business needs.

When you choose several DTUs, then you need to pay more in that case. It is directly proportional to the price you need to pay.

You can also check out Azure SQL Database Pricing.


Is Azure SQL database free

Yes, you can create a free account in Azure to get the below benefits.

  • You will get ₹13,300 credit for free for 30 days.
  • 12-month free access to Azure SQL Database.
  • Free access to 25 + other services.

To create a free account to get all the above benefits, follow my article How to Create Azure Free Account (Step-by-step tutorial)

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In this Azure tutorial, We discussed the critical differences between the Azure SQL Standard vs Premium, Azure SQL Database service tiers, etc. I hope you have enjoyed this article!!!