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We are excited to announce that the new SQL Database service tiers, Basic, Standard, and Premium are now generally available. These service tiers raise the bar for what you can expect from a database-as-a-service with business-class functionality that is both built-in and seamless to use—allowing you to dramatically increase the number of databases managed under a single database administrator.

Today is an important milestone for the Azure SQL Database community. Since the first public introduction in 2009, our journey has been influenced by our direct and deep engagements with customers and partners.  Along the way we have increased the global scale and reach of the service, database size, and made it easier to run database diagnostics, to name a few. Your drive to push the boundaries on what is possible in the cloud brought us to a million databases. Your feedback on what you need from a relational database-as-a-service helped us reimagine an approach that aligns best with the unique needs of cloud-based database workloads.

In April, we introduced the Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers into preview. These tiers address the needs of today’s demanding cloud applications by providing predictable performance for your light- to heavy-weight transactional applications while also ensuring the performance of your apps are no longer affected by other customer workloads. Additionally, the new tiers provide you with the following new capabilities:

  • Higher uptime SLA, previously at 99.9%, uptime is now 99.99%–one of the highest in the database-as-a-service industry
  • Point-in-time-restore, with built-in backups and up to 35 days of data retention
  • Active geo-replication and standard geo-replication options for continuous data replication to geographically dispersed secondaries
  • Larger database sizes, previously at 150 GB, database max size is now up to 500 GB
  • Auditing for added security confidence (remains in preview)

Since the preview release in April, we listened to important feedback on the new tiers and as a result pre-announced changes to GA based on this direct dialogue. A summary of the key changes are:

  • New S0 performance level:  Within the Standard service tier, we have introduced an S0 performance level to ease the transition from Basic to Standard.
  • Premium and Standard price reductions:  Final pricing reflects up to 50% savings from previously-published GA pricing. GA pricing will take effect on November 1, 2014.
  • Hourly billing:  Starting today, Azure SQL Database will move to hourly billing in the new service tiers. 

I am incredibly excited about the value our ongoing investments will continue to deliver to you. Our customers Samsung, ESRI, Callaway Golf, and Pottermore, to name a few, are already using Azure SQL Database as a relational database service platform to help grow their cloud-based businesses. With an expanding portfolio of cloud services, including DocumentDB, Azure Search, Azure Machine Learning, and Azure HDInsight and complimentary data services from our partners, we’re committed to delivering a complete data platform that makes it easier for you to work with data of any type and size—using the tools, languages and frameworks you want in a trusted cloud environment. 

Try the new SQL Database service tiers today.