Try the Next-gen GP Azure SQL Managed Instance for free
Published May 10 2024 05:37 AM 1,981 Views
Azure SQL Managed Instance supports two different service tiers that represent two different storage architectures. General Purpose is tier based on the remote storage for data and log files, while Business Critical tier is based on the local storage. The different storage architecture brings different performance values and limits, but all PaaS capabilities are equally supported in both tiers including:
  • automated backups and patching,
  • built-in high availability (within single and multi-zone deployments) for ensuring business continuity backed up with 99.99% uptime SLA,
  • failover group setup for disaster recovery,
  • online management operations,
  • and much more.

All these capabilities are one click away from you as they are provided out of the box without need for complex setups and configuration.


What is next-gen general purpose Azure SQL Managed Instance?


Next-gen general purpose Azure SQL Managed Instance is not a new service tier. It is the evolution of the existing general purpose tier which includes the switch from premium file disks to premium managed disks as the storage layer. With this change, the next-gen general purpose tier brings significant improvements in storage performance and scalability, as well as more flexibility and control over the instance configuration.
For full details around next-gen capabilities we suggest reading Introducing Azure SQL Managed Instance Next-gen GP. It is released in March 2024 and is currently in public preview.

What are the key improvements of the next-gen general purpose tier?


The next-gen general purpose tier introduces two major enhancements: a new storage architecture and a new IOPS slider.
The new storage architecture provides higher and more consistent storage performance, as well as increased storage limits. The next-gen general purpose tier supports up to 32 TB of storage and up to 80,000 IOPS per instance, compared to 16 TB and unpredictable IOPS that has a dependency on file layout.
Category Item Current GP Next-gen GP Improvement
Storage performance Limits Separate limits for each file Shared limits for the instance Easier to use, familiar model
Average I/O latency (approx.)
5-10 ms 3-4 ms 2x lower I/O latency
Max data IOPS 30-50k IOPS 80k IOPS 60% better
Max log throughput

Per instance: 120 MB/s


Per DB: 22-65 MB/s

Per instance: 192 MB/s


Per DB: no limits

60% better



3x better

Storage limits Max storage 16 TB 32 TB 2x better
Max number of DBs 100 DBs 500 DBs 5x better
Max number of files 280 per instance 4096 per database Huge improvement!
The new IOPS slider allows you to adjust the IOPS level of your instance according to your workload needs, from 300 to 80,000 IOPS. You can change the IOPS level at any time, without downtime or data migration. This gives you more power and flexibility to tune the performance of your instance and optimize the cost.


How to try out the next-gen general purpose tier for free?

If you want to test drive the next-gen general purpose tier and see how it can benefit your applications, you have two options to do it for free or at a very low cost.

Free Azure SQL Managed Instance

The first option is to use the Free Azure SQL Managed Instance offering and toggle on the next-gen general purpose button, which gives you a free instance with 720 vCore hours of compute every month for 12 months. For your instance you get 64 GB of storage and 300 IOPS.

You can select the desired model during instance creation, or you can start with the current version and change to next-gen version later. This will give you a chance for performance comparisons between them. Changing between current and next-gen general purpose (and vice versa) is an online operation.
Free Azure SQL Managed Instance is a good fit for proof-of-concept phase, validating that it can work as part of your stack and environment, and if your workload is not so intensive (requires up to 8vCores, has under 64GB of data, and can operate with 300 IOPS).
You can use this instance to explore the features and performance of the next-gen general purpose tier, as well as other capabilities of Azure SQL managed instance, such as automated backups, point-in-time restore, high availability, and security. To use this option, you need to have a new or existing Azure subscription that meets the eligibility criteria, and you need to create the instance in one of the supported regions.

Reduce costs by using dev/test subscription and start-stop feature


A combination of dev/test subscription and start-stop feature is there to help you with cost reduction in case that you need more than 64GB of storage and 300 IOPS, or you want to run the tests with maximal performance of Azure SQL managed instance.
Dev/test subscriptions are an excellent choice for the next stage of your project for the following reasons:
  • You are in the project phase where you don’t need an uptime SLA.
  • You are not charged for SQL license (cost optimization).
  • Your instance does not have to be online 24/7 so you can stop it out of the working hours (cost optimization).
The start-stop capability allows you to stop and start your instance on demand and pay only for the storage while the instance is stopped. This way, you can minimize the cost of running the instance, especially if you only need it for a few hours a day or a few days a week. You can even automate this process by using the built-in scheduler that will trigger start and stop operations by defined configuration.
You can learn more about start-stop scenarios in the article “Optimize cost of SQL Managed Instances with new stop-start capability”. 



The next-gen general purpose Azure SQL Managed Instance is a great option for anyone who needs a fully managed, secure, and scalable cloud database service with exceptional storage performance and limits, and more flexibility and control over the instance configuration. You can try out the next-gen general purpose tier for free or at a very low cost, by using the Free Azure SQL Managed Instance offering or dev/test subscription combined with start-stop capability. Don't miss this opportunity to experience the benefits of the next-gen general purpose tier for your applications.


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‎May 10 2024 05:45 AM
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