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Azure SQL Database Service Tiers (Editions)

Updated: June 12, 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 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.

Understand the Capabilities of Service Tiers (Editions)

There are five service tiers: Basic, Standard, Premium, Web, and Business. Web and Business service tiers (editions) are being retired over the course of 12 months, effective April 24, 2014. For more information, see Web and Business Edition Sunset FAQ.

You can change the performance characteristics of a database in the 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:

  • 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 database size supported by the service tier. For more information on the supported database sizes, see CREATE DATABASE.

  • Business Continuity These features help you and your service recover quickly from human and application errors, or datacenter failures. The new and optional built-in features introduced with Basic, Standard, and Premium service tiers are much easier than past database copy and import/export workarounds. See Azure SQL Database Business Continuity for more details.

    • 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 . 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

    • Active Geo-replication is a data protection and disaster recovery option available for the Premium service tier. Active Geo-replication helps safeguard data in the event of catastrophic datacenter failure by continuously copying data to secondary databases in different regions. You can set up as many as four replicas in any region you choose. If the primary database fails, you terminate the continuous copy relationship from a replica, which becomes the new primary database, and then re-configure your application to connect to the replica. See Active Geo-Replication for Azure SQL Database for more information.

    • Database copy and Export features are also available. See Copying Databases in Azure SQL Database for more information.

Azure SQL Database Service Tier Comparison

Service Tier Performance Level Common App Pattern 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 the past 7 days

Database copy +
Manual export

Standard (Preview)


Workgroup and cloud applications with multiple concurrent transactions

250 GB

Reliability per minute


Point-in-time within past 14 days

Database copy +
Manual export



Premium (Preview)


Mission-critical, high transactional volume with many concurrent users

500 GB

Reliability per second


Point-in-time within past 35 days

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)

Geo-Replication with passive replica is currently not available. Also restoring a database to a different region is currently not supported.

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