Performance and Pricing Comparison of new Azure SQL Tiers

My colleague has performed some performance benchmarking of the new Azure SQL tiers with Dedicated Throughput Units.

Here are the results of his test:


Based on these tests, you can see that indeed buying a premium service delivers premium results.  In addition to the performance improvement in premium, we also noticed that premium is also more consistent – the other tiers have a 5-10% variation in performance.

From a “DTU” perspective, these numbers also bring into question the reliability of the DTU measure in that S2 is supposed to be 250% faster than S1 (50 DTUs vs. 20 DTUs) but we’re not seeing 250% increase in transaction volume.  Similarly, P3 is supposed to be 400% faster than P2 (800 DTUs vs. 200 DTUs) but we’re not seeing 400% more transactions per second.

Based on this model, we can also calculate the price per 100K transactions for each tier:

Tier Transactions per Second Transactions per Hour Price per Hour Cost per 100K Transactions
P3 1300 4680000.00

$ 5.27250

$ 0.113
P2 555 1998000.00

$ 1.31820

$ 0.066
P1 276 993600.00

$ 0.65910

$ 0.066
S2 221 795600.00

$ 0.10630

$ 0.013
S1 164 590400.00

$ 0.04250

$ 0.007
S0 103 370800.00

$ 0.02140

$ 0.006
Basic 51 183600.00

$ 0.00710

$ 0.004


As you can see by the results, there is a MASSIVE price premium for performance commitment – the price per transaction for the top P3 service is a whopping 28X the price of Basic for the same transaction! 

You are buying a performance boost by going with a higher tier of service, but the costs escalate even faster and the boost isn’t as significant as promised at least with this basic performance test.

Choose the lowest possible tier to service your workload at all times to pay the cheapest rate per transaction.  You can dynamically scale up or down your service at any time and with a good monitoring and auto-scaling approach that dynamically moves up your service tier only when you need it, you will pay significantly less based on these performance numbers and the current pricing model.

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Microsoft’s New App Launcher will Provide an Improved Office 365 Navigation Experience

As Microsoft has launched new services as part of the Office 365 subscription, the current global navigation is running out of runway to house all of them…

The current global navigation is what you see here:


As Microsoft adds new services this approach is becoming cumbersome.  In addition, as users add new applications, sites, content, links, etc. within each of these services there is no easy way to personalized and unified navigation across all of them.

The New App Launcher


The new App Launcher will provide a more Windows 8 start screen experience by allowing you to pin your list of apps to your Office 365 menu using a tile based experience instead of a simple menu.  You will have a My Apps page that has the exhaustive list of your applications (e.g. sites, feeds, documents, links, services, etc.) and you can then pin/un-pin them to your Office 365 App Launcher.

app launcher 2

app launcher 1

The update is expected to launch in November.

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Microsoft Adds Real Time Stream Analysis and Hybrid Cluster Support to HDInsight

Apache Storm is a free and open source real time analytics processing system that processes large volumes of analytics data (e.g. web logs, streaming sensor readings, activity feeds, ecommerce transactions) in real time.  This is a departure from traditional Big Data tools such as Map Reduce which do similar analysis but through a batch processing approach.

Microsoft has announced that Apache Storm will be available as part of the latest version of the HDInsight Service. 

Hortonworks has also added hybrid data connectors to enable hybrid scenarios where on-premise Hadoop deployments are backed up to the cloud on Azure or where additional on-demand bursting is needed beyond what is available on premise.

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Microsoft Continues to Grow Support for Open Source

There are now significant pieces of the Microsoft code eco-system that are now open source including:

Microsoft has a web site that describe its open source contributions and activities here.


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OneDrive for Business Best Practices


I have put together a new presentation that you can find on SlideShare on OneDrive for Business Best Practices.  It explains key differences between OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Team Sites.  In addition, it provides some guidance on administration features for OneDrive for Business.


You may also enjoy some previous slide decks that I have posted previously on SharePoint Taxonomy and SharePoint Site Collections.


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Replace Attachments with OneDrive Sharing In Latest Outlook Web App

Microsoft has announced that using the Outlook Web App (as well as its mobile versions for the IPad, IPhone and Android) you can now stop sending attachments and instead have these attachments stored in your OneDrive.  When you attach a file now from your local computer, you will be asked whether to upload it to OneDrive instead of attaching it:

share files with Outlook Web App 3

When you link to a OneDrive file instead of attaching it, you gain permissions for your files that you can use to restrict whether the recipient can edit or just read the file.

share files with Outlook Web App 5

In addition, if you are using OneDrive for Business you get the ability access to real time co-authoring using Office Online.  There is now a side by side view so you can edit the document in real time and exchange messages with your co-authors.

share files with Outlook Web App 11

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Updated Visio Stencil for Office 365, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint

Microsoft has just released an updated set of Visio stencils containing symbols for Office 365, Exchange, Lync and SharePoint.  You can download the stencils here.

There are hundreds of symbols are included in the set, organized into the following categories:

  • Clouds
  • Communications
  • Concepts
  • Databases
  • Devices
  • Security
  • Servers
  • Services
  • Sites
  • Users

Here is just a sample of some of the symbols included…




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New Elastic Scale Preview for Azure SQL

Microsoft has just announced the preview release of Elastic Scale for Azure SQL.  Elastic Scale is a new database sharding or spanning technique to scale up databases from a single database to using multiple databases to improve scalability and performance.

This new sharding approach will eventually replace the current Azure SQL Federations.

The scenario for sharding a database is simple – imagine if you have hundreds of gigabytes of transactions and you want to improve performance by splitting your database into multiple databases.  This works particularly well if you can easily define logical segments in your database – for example, if you have monthly or year batches of transactions.  The Elastic Scale APIs provide the ability to scale your database horizontally by creating multiple databases for storage and querying while making this seamless to the calling application. 


From an application perspective, the Elastic Scale APIs allow your .NET application to do inserts and queries across multiple databases to improve scalability.

Note: in the current preview version, transactions across shards and joins across shards are not supported. 

Combined with Azure SQL’s new pricing structure based on performance guarantees, this opens up an interesting possibility – imagine having ten years worth of data and storing each year on its own database.  Presumably, you could then pay for performance for each year independently – the more recent years could have a higher priced faster database while the older years could run on lower performance cheaper databases.

There is a sample tutorial to get you started here.

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Create Ad Hoc Distribution Groups with New Office 365 Groups

With Microsoft’s many collaboration tools (Outlook, Yammer, SharePoint, Lync, etc.) there is a challenge for users who want to collaborate across all these tools with ad hoc groups.

Microsoft is developing a set of social connections across these tools based on Office Delve that allows users to create distribution groups across all these platforms.

Getting things done at work means sharing information and collaborating across ad hoc groups and project teams.  But, often times the tools we use to bring people together are different in each app—distribution groups in Outlook, buddy lists in Lync, groups in Yammer.  That’s why we’re introducing Groups in Office 365, so you can easily connect with the colleagues, information and applications you need to do more.

In this version, Office 365 groups will be available within the web experiences of Office 365 email and calendar and OneDrive for Business.

This ”cloud first” feature is only available on Office 365.

Introducing Groups in Office 365

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