One of the great things about Azure is the ability to scale a service from very small to very large. For example, I can create an Azure DB for as little as $6 a month on Basic.
Azure Search, which has just gone General Availability, has two pricing options – Free and Standard.
Free supports up to 10,000 documents but you can only have one Free index per subscription.
Standard starts at $250.00 for a “search unit” (more units = higher performance guarantees) and up to 15m documents. You can scale it up to 36 search units as needed.
However, there is no “Basic” tier option – the minimum cost is $250 a month, which seems pretty steep for a hosted search engine, especially for a small web site or application.
Compared to Amazon, the price seems pretty expensive – $0.355 / hr compared with as little as $0.059 / hr for Amazon Search. However, Amazon also charges you $0.10 per 1,000 Batch Upload Requests and $0.98 per GB of data for every time you re-index the search. If you were indexing your documents once an hour and you have 1-2 GB of data, that’s $47 per day in potential charges!