SQL Server on Azure VMs - the best price-performance gets even better!
Published Feb 06 2023 09:00 AM 22.5K Views

I know it’s February, but it’s our first blog post of the year and we’re still feeling festive so Happy New Year from the SQL Server on Azure VM team!!! As we reflect on the past year and look toward what’s to come in 2023, we thought it would be a great time to call attention to all the innovations in the price-performance area for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines that came out this past year, and to announce we are starting the new year with a bang in the form of an all-new price-performance study from GigaOm!


We’ve hit several milestones in our price-performance journey over the past year or so:


If you want to look back on any of the past announcements, here’s a list of some of the blogs we’ve published along the way:

How to get the biggest bang for your buck with SQL Server on Azure VMs - Microsoft Community Hub

SQL Server on Azure VM - Now with 30% better price-performance on the new Ebdsv5 VM series! - Micros...

Announcing general availability of the Ebdsv5 series Azure VMs! - Microsoft Community Hub

Find out why your SQL Server data belongs on Azure | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft Azure

Azure Premium SSD v2 Disk Storage in preview | Azure Blog and Updates | Microsoft Azure

Azure New NVMe Ebsv5 sizes (microsoft.com)


That’s a lot to read so don’t worry, we’ll summarize it for you (TL;DR) – even better performance for all your SQL Server workloads at a lower cost.


Let’s review where we were at when Ebdsv5 went to GA this past April:



* This cost is for pay-as-you-go compute only, assuming Azure Hybrid Benefit for both Windows OS and SQL Server licensing costs.


With its high I/O throughput and optimal 1:8 core-to-memory ratio, Ebdsv5 offers the best price-performance available for SQL Server infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) workloads in the cloud, as last year’s GigaOm study showed. Now combine that with the newly announced Premium SSD v2 storage and it’s an absolute game-changer.


The great thing about Premium SSD v2 storage is not only does it have lower latency than Premium SSD, it is fully customizable so you can configure the capacity, IOPS, and throughput according to your needs. AND you can scale it up or down on the fly! A single Premium SSD v2 disk can be configured for up to 80,000 IOPS and 1,200 MBPS and can have a capacity up to 64 TiBs. As an added bonus, the Ebdsv5 VMs are capable of even higher IOPS when using Premium SSD v2, which is critical for high-frequency transactional workloads.


As we did for the previous blogs, we used HammerDB to execute a TPC-C1 style workload against an E32bds_v5 VM, this time using Premium SSD v2 storage. The VM we used in this test can support up to 117,920 IOPS with Premium SSD v2 storage and can burst up to 120,000 IOPS, so we used two of these drives configured for 80,000 IOPS each in a simple stripe storage pool. This gives us more than enough IOPS to max out the capability of the VM. We don’t need as many IOPS for the transaction log, so we configured a single drive with 10,000 IOPS and 250 MBPS.


Given the above configuration, here’s where we’re at today with Ebdsv5 and Premium SSD v2 together (note that we switched to East US due to current Premium SSD v2 region availability):



* This cost is for pay-as-you-go compute only, assuming Azure Hybrid Benefit for both Windows OS and SQL Server licensing costs.


That’s a whopping 70% improvement in price-performance over the course of about a year and a half!




With the current economic climate, we know that everyone’s New Year’s resolution is going to include something about doing more with less, so the timing couldn’t be better for these new infrastructure options. Even if you’re already running SQL Server in Azure VMs and are happy with your current performance, it’s worth doing some research to see if you can take advantage of these innovations to stretch your infrastructure dollar even further. Everything we've talked about in this blog is available today, including Premium SSD v2 which is now available without allowlisting!


We talked about a transactional TPC-C1 style workload here, but the GigaOm study also covers other transactional and analytical workloads, so be sure to review it to get all the details for different workloads and pricing models. And to wrap it all up in a bow, don’t forget all the value-add capabilities we offer for free with the SQL IaaS Agent extension and continued innovations there that all help make Azure the best place to run SQL Server in the cloud!


1The HammerDB TPC-C workload is derived from the TPC-C Benchmark and is not comparable to published TPC-C Benchmark results, as the HammerDB TPC-C workload results do not fully comply with the TPC-C Benchmark.




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