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Microsoft Launches Premium Tier for Azure Files

After being in limited preview since last September's Ignite conference and in a broader preview since early May, the premium tier for Microsoft's Azure Files service has hit general availability.

With Wednesday's release, users with higher performance needs now have the ability to access managed file services on solid-state drives in Microsoft's public cloud.

"Premium tier is optimized to deliver consistent performance for IO-intensive workloads that require high-throughput and low latency. Premium file shares store data on the latest SSDs, making them suitable for a wide variety of workloads like databases, persistent volumes for containers, home directories, content and collaboration repositories, media and analytics, high variable and batch workloads, and enterprise applications that are performance sensitive," said Tad Brockway, corporate vice president for Azure Storage, Media and Edge, in a blog post.

Microsoft will continue to offer a standard tier of Azure Files at a lower price, with the standard tier positioned for general-purpose file storage, development, test, backups and applications that are less sensitive to latency.

In the United States, the premium tier is about four times as expensive as the standard tier per month at $0.24 per provisioned GiB rather than $0.06 per used GiB. The delta on snapshot GiB/month is slightly less, with premium going for $0.20 per used GiB, while standard is $0.06 per used GiB. (Editor's Note: The story has been updated to correct pricing. An earlier version was based on old information on Microsoft's pricing page, which was updated after the announcement.)

However, unlike with the standard tier, operations on premium files are free. That difference is reflected in the "per provisioned" (versus "per used"), which Microsoft contends makes it simpler to determine the total cost of ownership.

The premium tier pricing goes into effect on Aug. 1. A public preview discount of 50 percent will stay in force until July 31.

Brockway also said the Azure Storage team is working internally with the Azure SQL and Microsoft Power BI teams to help leverage the premium files for higher-performance solutions. "As a result, Azure Database for PostgreSQL and Azure Database for MySQL recently opened a preview of increased scale of 16 TiB databases with 20,000 IOPS powered by premium files. Microsoft Power BI announced a powerful 20 times faster enhanced dataflows compute engine preview built upon Azure Files premium tier," he said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 26, 2019 at 8:49 AM


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