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Azure SQL Database Service Tiers (Editions)

Updated: August 28, 2014

Use Microsoft Azure SQL Database service tiers (editions) to dial-in cloud database performance and capabilities to suit your application. For more about the pricing of different service tiers, see SQL Database Pricing Details.

To use Azure SQL Database, you first need an Azure account. Sign up for a free trial to get an account, and then go to Preview Features to try service tiers in preview.

There are five service tiers: Basic, Standard, Premium, Web, and Business. Web and Business service tiers (editions) are being retired September 2014. For more information, see Web and Business Edition Sunset FAQ.

You can change the performance characteristics of a database in the Microsoft Azure Management Portal easily. Select your database, click Scale, and then choose a new service tier. For more information, see Changing Database Service Tiers and Performance Levels.

The capabilities of each service tier break down into the following:

  • Performance and Scalability: For Standard and Premium service tiers, you can choose a performance level within the service tier. Performance levels are expressed in database throughput units (DTUs), which provide a quick way to compare the relative performance of a database. For more detailed information about performance levels, see Azure SQL Database Service Tiers and Performance Levels. In addition to the performance level, for all database service tiers, you also pick a maximum database size supported by the service tier. For more information on the supported database sizes, see CREATE DATABASE.

  • Business Continuity: These features help you recover your database from human and application errors, or datacenter failures. Many built-in features are available with Basic, Standard, and Premium service tiers. For more information, see Azure SQL Database Business Continuity.

    • Point in Time Restore is built-in for Basic, Standard, and Premium. It helps you recover from data deletion or corruptions. Azure automatically backs up your database and stores the backup in geo-replicated storage. You can then use these backups to restore a database to a previous state. Restoring a database is easy to do in the Azure Management Portal. Select the database and then click Restore, which prompts you to create a new database in the same server. You can also use PowerShell cmdlets or the REST API to recover programmatically. For more information about Point in Time Restore, see Azure SQL Database Backup and Restore.

    • Geo-Replication is a data protection and disaster recovery capability available on Standard and Premium service tiers. Geo-Replication helps safeguard data in the event of datacenter failure by continuously copying data to secondary databases.

      Geo-Replication has two options:

      1. Standard Geo-Replication is available on both Standard and Premium service tiers. You can create a single offline secondary of your database in a different region than your primary. The target and the source region are fixed pairs, and so the secondary is created in a predetermined region based on the location of the primary database. The offline secondary is offline and does not accept client connections. In the event of a datacenter failure or prolonged database unavailability, you will receive a notification and then the option to access and activate the offline secondary becomes available. The offline secondary is created with the same service tier and performance level as the primary database, but the charges vary. For pricing details, see SQL Database Pricing Details.

      2. Active Geo-Replication is available for the Premium service tier only. You can set as many as four replicas, one of which can be an offline secondary, in any region you choose. If the primary replica fails, you terminate the continuous copy relationship from a secondary replica. The original secondary replica now becomes the new primary replica. You can then re-configure your application to connect to the new primary replica. For more information, see Active Geo-Replication for Azure SQL Database.

    • Database Copy and Export features are also available. For more information, see Copying Databases in Azure SQL Database.

  • Auditing: With Basic, Standard, and Premium service tiers, you can track logs and events that occur in a database. For more information, see Microsoft Azure Preview Features.

Azure SQL Database Service Tier Comparison

Service Tier Performance Level Common App Pattern Security Performance Business Continuity

Maximum DB Size

Transactional Perf. Objective


Point in Time Restore

Disaster recovery/geo-replication

Basic (Preview)


Small databases with a single operation at a given point in time


2 GB

Reliability per hour


Point-in-time within past 7 days

  • Geo-Restore

  • Database copy + Manual export

  • Automated Export (Preview)

Standard (Preview)


Workgroup and cloud applications with multiple concurrent transactions


250 GB

Reliability per minute


Point-in-time within past 14 days

  • Includes DR features from Basic

  • Standard Geo-Replication





Premium (Preview)


Mission-critical, high transactional volume with many concurrent users


500 GB

Reliability per second


Point-in-time within past 35 days

  • Includes DR/geo-replication from Standard

  • Active Geo-Replication






Web apps, workgroup, dept. apps, and other lightweight database workloads

5 GB



  • Database copy +
    Manual export

  • Automated Export (Preview)


150 GB



  • Database copy +
    Manual export

  • Automated Export (Preview)

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