vCore purchasing model - Azure SQL Database

Applies to: Azure SQL Database

This article reviews the vCore purchasing model for Azure SQL Database. For help choosing between the vCore and DTU purchasing models, see the differences between the vCore and DTU purchasing models.

Overview

A virtual core (vCore) represents a logical CPU and offers you the option to choose the physical characteristics of the hardware (for example, the number of cores, the memory, and the storage size). The vCore-based purchasing model gives you flexibility, control, transparency of individual resource consumption, and a straightforward way to translate on-premises workload requirements to the cloud. This model optimizes price, and allows you to choose compute, memory, and storage resources based on your workload needs.

In the vCore-based purchasing model, your costs depend on the choice and usage of:

  • Service tier
  • Hardware configuration
  • Compute resources (the number of vCores and the amount of memory)
  • Reserved database storage
  • Actual backup storage

Important

Compute resources, I/O, and data and log storage are charged per database or elastic pool. Backup storage is charged per each database.

The vCore purchasing model used by Azure SQL Database provides several benefits over the DTU purchasing model:

  • Higher compute, memory, I/O, and storage limits.
  • Choice of hardware configuration to better match compute and memory requirements of the workload.
  • Pricing discounts for Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB).
  • Greater transparency in the hardware details that power the compute, that facilitates planning for migrations from on-premises deployments.
  • Reserved instance pricing is only available for vCore purchasing model.
  • Higher scaling granularity with multiple compute sizes available.

Service tiers

Service tier options in the vCore purchasing model include General Purpose, Business Critical, and Hyperscale. The service tier generally service tier defines hardware, storage type and IOPS, high availability and disaster recovery options, and other features like memory-optimized object types.

For greater details, review resource limits for logical server, single databases, and pooled databases.

Use case General Purpose Business Critical Hyperscale
Best for Most business workloads. Offers budget-oriented, balanced, and scalable compute and storage options. Offers business applications the highest resilience to failures by using several isolated replicas, and provides the highest I/O performance per database replica. Most business workloads with highly scalable storage and read-scale requirements. Offers higher resilience to failures by allowing configuration of more than one isolated database replica.
Availability 1 replica, no read-scale replicas,
zone-redundant high availability (HA)
3 replicas, 1 read-scale replica,
zone-redundant high availability (HA)
zone-redundant high availability (HA) (preview)
Pricing/billing vCore, reserved storage, and backup storage are charged.
IOPS is not charged.
vCore, reserved storage, and backup storage are charged.
IOPS is not charged.
vCore for each replica and used storage are charged.
IOPS not yet charged.
Discount models Reserved instances
Azure Hybrid Benefit (not available on dev/test subscriptions)
Enterprise and Pay-As-You-Go Dev/Test subscriptions
Reserved instances
Azure Hybrid Benefit (not available on dev/test subscriptions)
Enterprise and Pay-As-You-Go Dev/Test subscriptions
Azure Hybrid Benefit (not available on dev/test subscriptions)
Enterprise and Pay-As-You-Go Dev/Test subscriptions

Note

For more information on the Service Level Agreement (SLA), see SLA for Azure SQL Database

Choosing a service tier

For information on selecting a service tier for your particular workload, see the following articles:

Resource limits

For vCore resource limits, see logical servers, single databases, pooled databases.

Compute tiers

Compute tier options in the vCore model include the provisioned and serverless compute tiers.

  • While the provisioned compute tier provides a specific amount of compute resources that are continuously provisioned independent of workload activity, the serverless compute tier auto-scales compute resources based on workload activity.
  • While the provisioned compute tier bills for the amount of compute provisioned at a fixed price per hour, the serverless compute tier bills for the amount of compute used, per second.

Hardware configuration

Common hardware configurations in the vCore model include standard-series (Gen5), Fsv2-series, and DC-series. Hardware configuration defines compute and memory limits and other characteristics that impact workload performance.

Certain hardware configurations such as Gen5 may use more than one type of processor (CPU), as described in Compute resources (CPU and memory). While a given database or elastic pool tends to stay on the hardware with the same CPU type for a long time (commonly for multiple months), there are certain events that can cause a database or pool to be moved to hardware that uses a different CPU type. For example, a database or pool can be moved if it is scaled up or down to a different service objective, or if the current infrastructure in a datacenter is approaching its capacity limits, or if the currently used hardware is being decommissioned due to its end of life.

For some workloads, a move to a different CPU type can change performance. SQL Database configures hardware with the goal to provide predictable workload performance even if CPU type changes, keeping performance changes within a narrow band. However, across the wide spectrum of customer workloads running in SQL Database, and as new types of CPUs become available, it is possible to occasionally see more noticeable changes in performance if a database or pool moves to a different CPU type.

Regardless of CPU type used, resource limits for a database or elastic pool remain the same as long as the database stays on the same service objective.

Gen5

  • Gen5 hardware provides balanced compute and memory resources, and is suitable for most database workloads that do not have higher memory, higher vCore, or faster single vCore requirements as provided by Fsv2-series.

For regions where Gen5 is available, see Gen5 availability.

Fsv2-series

  • Fsv2-series is a compute optimized hardware configuration delivering low CPU latency and high clock speed for the most CPU demanding workloads.
  • Depending on the workload, Fsv2-series can deliver more CPU performance per vCore than other types of hardware. For example, the 72 vCore Fsv2 compute size can provide more CPU performance than 80 vCores on Gen5, at lower cost.
  • Fsv2 provides less memory and tempdb per vCore than other hardware, so workloads sensitive to those limits may perform better on standard-series (Gen5).

Fsv2-series in only supported in the General Purpose tier. For regions where Fsv2-series is available, see Fsv2-series availability.

DC-series

  • DC-series hardware uses Intel processors with Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) technology.
  • DC-series is required for Always Encrypted with secure enclaves, which is not supported with other hardware configurations.
  • DC-series is designed for workloads that process sensitive data and demand confidential query processing capabilities, provided by Always Encrypted with secure enclaves.
  • DC-series hardware provides balanced compute and memory resources.

DC-series is only supported for Provisioned compute (Serverless is not supported) and does not support zone redundancy. For regions where DC-series is available, see DC-series availability.

Azure offer types supported by DC-series

To create databases or elastic pools on DC-series hardware, the subscription must be a paid offer type including Pay-As-You-Go or Enterprise Agreement (EA). For a complete list of Azure offer types supported by DC-series, see current offers without spending limits.

Selecting hardware configuration

You can select hardware configuration for a database or elastic pool in SQL Database at the time of creation. You can also change hardware configuration of an existing database or elastic pool.

To select a hardware configuration when creating a SQL Database or pool

For detailed information, see Create a SQL Database.

On the Basics tab, select the Configure database link in the Compute + storage section, and then select the Change configuration link:

configure SQL database

Select the desired hardware configuration:

select hardware for SQL database

To change hardware configuration of an existing SQL Database or pool

For a database, on the Overview page, select the Pricing tier link:

change hardware for SQL Database

For a pool, on the Overview page, select Configure.

Follow the steps to change configuration, and select hardware configuration as described in the previous steps.

Hardware availability

For information on previous generation hardware, see Previous generation hardware availability.

Gen5

Gen5 hardware is available in all public regions worldwide.

Fsv2-series

Fsv2-series is available in the following regions: Australia Central, Australia Central 2, Australia East, Australia Southeast, Brazil South, Canada Central, East Asia, East US, France Central, India Central, Korea Central, Korea South, North Europe, South Africa North, Southeast Asia, UK South, UK West, West Europe, West US 2.

DC-series

DC-series is available in the following regions: Canada Central, Canada East, East US, North Europe, UK South, West Europe, West US.

If you need DC-series in a currently unsupported region, submit a support ticket. On the Basics page, provide the following:

  1. For Issue type, select Technical.
  2. For Service type, select SQL Database.
  3. For Problem type, select Security, Private and Compliance.
  4. For Problem subtype, select Always Encrypted.

Request DC-series in a new region

Compute resources (CPU and memory)

The following table compares compute resources in different hardware configurations and compute tiers:

Hardware configuration CPU Memory
Gen4 - Intel® E5-2673 v3 (Haswell) 2.4-GHz processors
- Provision up to 24 vCores (physical)
- 7 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 168 GB
Gen5 Provisioned compute
- Intel® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) 2.3 GHz, Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake)*, Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) 2.5 GHz*, and Intel® Xeon Platinum 8307C (Ice Lake)* processors
- Provision up to 80 vCores (hyper-threaded)

Serverless compute
- Intel® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) 2.3 GHz, Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake)*, Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) 2.5 GHz*, and Intel Xeon® Platinum 8307C (Ice Lake)* processors
- Auto-scale up to 40 vCores (hyper-threaded)
Provisioned compute
- 5.1 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 408 GB

Serverless compute
- Auto-scale up to 24 GB per vCore
- Auto-scale up to 120 GB max
Fsv2-series - Intel® 8168 (Skylake) processors
- Featuring a sustained all core turbo clock speed of 3.4 GHz and a maximum single core turbo clock speed of 3.7 GHz.
- Provision up to 72 vCores (hyper-threaded)
- 1.9 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 136 GB
M-series - Intel® E7-8890 v3 2.5 GHz and Intel® 8280M 2.7 GHz (Cascade Lake) processors
- Provision up to 128 vCores (hyper-threaded)
- 29 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 3.7 TB
DC-series - Intel® XEON E-2288G processors
- Featuring Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX))
- Provision up to 8 vCores (physical)
4.5 GB per vCore

* In the sys.dm_user_db_resource_governance dynamic management view, hardware generation for databases using Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake) processors appears as Gen6, hardware generation for databases using Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) appears as Gen7, and hardware generation for databases using Intel Xeon® Platinum 8307C (Ice Lake) appear as Gen8. For a given compute size and hardware configuration, resource limits are the same regardless of CPU type (Broadwell, Skylake, Ice Lake, or Cascade Lake).

For more information see resource limits for single databases and elastic pools.

Previous generation hardware

Gen4

Important

Gen4 hardware is being retired and is not available for new deployments, as announced on December 18, 2019. Customers using Gen4 for Azure SQL Databases, elastic pools, or SQL managed instances should migrate to currently available hardware, such as standard-series (Gen5), before January 31, 2023.

For more information on Gen4 hardware retirement and migration to current hardware, see our Blog post on Gen4 retirement. Existing Gen4 databases, elastic pools, and SQL managed instances will be migrated automatically to equivalent standard-series (Gen5) hardware.

Downtime caused by automatic migration will be minimal and similar to downtime during scaling operations within selected service tier. To avoid unplanned interruptions to workloads, migrate proactively at the time of your choice before January 31, 2023.

M-series

Important

For Azure SQL Database, M-series hardware has been retired and is not available for new deployments.

Existing customers should migrate to other hardware tiers before September 2023.

M-series is only supported in the Business Critical tier and does not support zone redundancy.

Next steps