In this article, I will try to compare the Azure SQL Managed Instance General Purpose vs Business Critical service tiers based on the information available online. While comparing might be easy, actual real-world performance might differ. After all, it is based on your application needs.
For starters, the managed instance offering is for enterprises which are looking to replace their on-premises SQL deployments. It is especially true for a customer who is merely seeking to “lift & shift” to the cloud quickly, without any hindrances.
For enterprises with large SQL Server deployments, the managed instance offering enables them to free up limited IT resources and drive cloud transformation. Companies can plan to migrate their existing on-premises business critical apps or move their SQL servers running on Azure VMs.
Some of the features that I like on the Azure SQL Databases are as follows:
Microsoft’s PAAS (Platform as a Service) offerings have evolved and offer multiple choices. They are as follows:
Azure SQL Database Managed Instance provides total workload isolation of your workloads through native VNET (Virtual Network) support. Microsoft uses virtual data clusters to define the degree of separation that customer workloads will experience with SQL Database Managed Instance. During managed instance service provisioning (on Azure Portal or through REST API), you can choose the virtual network (VNET) and the network subnet to achieve full networking isolation for your SQL Managed Instances. Once created, instances in the VNET can be reached using Azure networking mechanisms like IP VPN (over the Internet) or Express Route gateways (Dedicated).
Cluster (tenant ring) level: Managed Instances for a tenant are fully isolated from other tenants. No connectivity or resource sharing is possible across different tenants.
Networking level: joining instances to a private subnet in a VNET and restricting access to private IP address range provides full isolation from the outside public Internet.
To elaborate, for customers looking to migrate a large number of apps from on-premise or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), self-built or ISVs, with as low migration effort as possible & low cost of ownership. Now that is clear; let’s dig a bit deeper into the managed instance offerings.
Both the service tiers come with Gen 4 and Gen 5 selectable hardware options. So, the storage size and vCore multiples differ based on which generation you select. Here is some high-level size by side comparison of the managed instance service tiers:
Gen 5: Intel Xeon E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) @ 2.3 GHz processors
8, 15, 24, 32, 40, 64, 80
8, 16, 32, 40, 64, 80
RTO = Good
RTO = Best
Max Storage Size Support
8 TB of Data Storage (Remote)
32 GB minimum Storage
Max Storage per DB: Based on total Instance level storage space available
Datafiles (MDF) – Multiple
LDF (Log): Single
Max size = 4 TB
Gen 4: 1 TB (all vCore sizes)
Gen 5: 1 TB for 8, 16 vCores
2 TB for 24 vCores
4 TB for 32, 40, 64, 80 vCores
LDF (Log): 1 per Datafile
PHP driver : 5.2.0
SSMS (Management Studio): 17.8.1
As you can see, there are quite a few combinations available for you to choose. You can easily move across service tiers on the fly with minimum downtime. This ensures that you can always meet the demand of your front-end apps based on growing needs.
We hope our article helped to understand the service tiers better. Your questions and suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. Thanks for visiting!
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