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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces a New Azure SQL Database Free Offer in Public Preview

Microsoft Announces a New Azure SQL Database Free Offer in Public Preview

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Microsoft recently announced the public preview of a new Azure SQL Database free offering. This offering provides users a 32 GB General Purpose, serverless Azure SQL database with 100,000 vCore seconds of compute free monthly.

Azure SQL Database is a fully-managed relational cloud database service available in two purchasing models: vCore and DTU.  The vCore-based purchasing model has a provisioned compute tier that provides a specific amount of compute resources continuously provisioned independent of workload activity and a serverless compute tier that autoscales compute resources based on workload activity. The provisioned compute tier has three service tiers: General Purpose, Business Critical, and Hyperscale. The free offering applies to the General Purpose service tier that the company advises for generic business workloads. Moreover, this service tier provides budget-oriented, balanced, scalable compute and storage options.

The new free offering replaces the old offering the company provided for users - an S0 database with ten database transaction units and 250 GB storage for an Azure free account. This new offering applies to the user's active subscription and is recurring every month. In the documentation, the company states:

This offer is available for one database per Azure subscription and is designed for new Azure customers looking to get started with Azure SQL Database and existing customers that may need a development database for a proof of concept.

Overview of the New SQL Database Free Offer (Source: Microsoft Dev Blog post)

In response to a LinkedIn post by Bob Ward, a principal architect at Microsoft, about the new SQL Azure Database offering, James Reeves, a data platform engineer at Bedrock Data, commented:

This removes the last hurdle I had when demoing how a data analytics resource group could be configured in under an hour; previously, the DB was the only thing that incurred cost at rest, even before any data was ingested!

In addition, Felipe Schneider, senior SQL server DBA and data engineer consultant at SAP, commented:

About time. It is great to have a free tier for testing or personal projects.

While Nils Pohlmann, a principal product manager of Azure Data at Microsoft, outlines in a developer blog post some scenarios for the new free offer like:

  • Developing a new app or website that uses SQL as the backend database
  • Learning SQL or improving your skills with hands-on practice and tutorials
  • Adding another database to your existing Azure subscription for testing or experimentation purposes
  • Rebuilding an app from on-premises or another cloud provider to Azure

Lastly, the company also offers a free tier for the database service Azure Cosmos DB free tier.

Currently, the new offering is available in the East US, West Central US, and UK South Azure region, with more regions added weekly. More details of the offering are available in documentation pages and FAQs.

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