Microsoft Slashes SQL Azure Pricing, Adds New Storage Option

Microsoft once again made some cuts to its SQL Azure pricing, as well as introduced a 100 MB database storage option.

A blog post by Steve Martin, general manager for Windows Azure business planning, suggests the 100 MB storage plan offers a new option for customers getting started on SQL Azure, while the new reduced pricing is aimed at providing discounts to customers with databases at around 5 GB or so that need to scale.

The new pricing apparently was offered starting Tuesday. The blog post produces a chart showing Microsoft's calculation of storage-cost savings as the size of a database grows when hosted on Windows Azure.

In December, Microsoft capped the database size cost at $499.95 for the maximum 150 GB of storage possible under the SQL Azure Business Edition. That max cost is now listed by Martin at $225.99. The cost reductions are shown at Microsoft's SQL Azure pricing overview page. The cost is $125.99 for 50 GB of storage, but Microsoft charges $1 for each additional GB of storage thereafter.

The lower prices follow earlier SQL Azure cost reductions made in June 2011. Back then, Microsoft had cut some charges associated with data transfers.

SQL Azure pricing is actually far more complex than just calculating storage costs. Essentially, organizations using Windows Azure pay for the compute time, data storage and data access, plus the bandwidth of the data transferred in and out of the cloud. The various cloud computing phases get priced at specific rates, usually per GB. There's also a monthly fee rolled into the overall cost if an organization uses SQL Azure. Microsoft offers an online pricing calculator to form a rough estimate of Windows Azure costs.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.