Internal SQL Server Cost Vs SQL Server Cloud (SQL Azure Cost
A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation using a 2-cpu server with 8gb ram, SATA drives, Windows 2008 and 2 CPUs of SQL Server Standard at list price puts me around $15,000. (Yes, enterprises get dramatically discounted stuff, but enterprises don’t need SQL Azure at rack price either.)
Let’s say I use this server for five years – that’s $416 per month. That does not include:
- Connectivity costs (but neither does the Azure $9-$99 price, either. Remember that bandwidth costs extra for Azure.)
- Management (but neither does Azure, since you still have to roll some of your own utilities. Remember that Azure doesn’t support things like Profiler.)
- Backups (but neither does Azure, and no, Microsoft telling me “it’s backed up” doesn’t count.)
- Clustering or geographic high availability. I probably wouldn’t achieve three nines of uptime with this configuration, but if I wanted to go for that, I’d add a second server in another location with SQL Server’s database mirroring.
The tough part of all this is the future:
- Will SQL Azure’s costs go down? Hardware prices always go down, so it’s interesting to try to compare long-term pricing between the two.
- Will SQL Azure add more features? I can back up a locally hosted database easily, but backing up Azure is going to be a little tricky for now. If I want to add filestream data or TDE, that’s a piece of cake with local databases, but not with Azure.
- Will SQL Azure stick? If I had a dollar for every piece of technology built then Microsoft abandoned, I’d be Steve Jobs. The nice thing about developing for SQL Azure is that it’s a subset of SQL Server anyway. Worst case scenario, Microsoft abandons SQL Azure – you just light up your own SQL Server and deploy your app there anyway.