Microsoft Reveals SQL Azure Database Plans

Microsoft releases pricing details for SQL Azure Database and announces plans for a CTP later in 2009. The announcement comes alongside the news that Microsoft will make its Azure public cloud platform available for free until its Professional Developers Conference in November.

Microsoft officials provided a sneak peak at the road map and pricing information for SQL Azure Database at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference July 14 as they talked up their overall plans for the Windows Azure platform.

Microsoft SQL Azure and SQL Azure Database-formerly known as SQL Services and SQL Data Services, respectively-represent Microsoft's attempt to push the capabilities of SQL Server into the cloud. Through the Windows Azure platform, SQL Azure Database will deliver traditional relational database service in the cloud and support T-SQL over TDS (Tabular Data Stream) protocol, according to Microsoft.

According to the company, SQL Azure Database will be available in two editions: the Web Edition Database and the Business Edition Database. The Web Edition is aimed at customers building custom Web applications, while the Business Edition will be targeted toward organizations building ISV-packaged line-of-business and enterprise applications, Microsoft said.

At the moment, the plan is to make a CTP (community technology preview) for SQL Azure Database available in August, and have it ship in the second half of 2009. Click here to register for the CTP.

In addition to its CTP plans, Microsoft released pricing information. With the Web Edition, customers can buy up to 1GB of T-SQL (Transact-SQL)-based database space and up to 10 query hours for $9.99 per month. Business Edition customers can purchase up to 10GB of T-SQL-based relational database space and up to 100 query hours for $99.99 per month. Bandwidth can be purchased at a price of 10 cents in and 15 cents out per GB.

"SQL Azure Database offers small to medium-sized businesses, Web 2.0 and ASP.Net developers a pay-as-you-grow, secure, scalable and highly available database service with business continuity and minimal infrastructure cost," according to the Microsoft SQL Server News Blog. "Microsoft's business partners can develop and offer cloud-based services themselves, powered by SQL Azure and Windows Azure multitenant capabilities."

Introduced at the 2008 Professional Developers Conference, Windows Azure is Microsoft's answer to similar moves by Google and, and is meant to help Microsoft challenge both companies head-to-head. Microsoft plans to make Windows Azure available for free until its Professional Developers Conference in November.