Azure Functions Premium plan
The Azure Functions Elastic Premium plan is a dynamic scale hosting option for function apps. For other hosting plan options, see the hosting plan article.
Azure Functions runs on the Azure App Service platform. In the App Service platform, plans that host Premium plan function apps are referred to as Elastic Premium plans, with SKU names like
EP1. If you choose to run your function app on a Premium plan, make sure to create a plan with an SKU name that starts with "E", such as
EP1. App Service plan SKU names that start with "P", such as
P1V2 (Premium V2 Small plan), are actually Dedicated hosting plans. Because they are Dedicated and not Elastic Premium, plans with SKU names starting with "P" won't scale dynamically and may increase your costs.
Premium plan hosting provides the following benefits to your functions:
- Avoid cold starts with perpetually warm instances
- Virtual network connectivity.
- Unlimited execution duration, with 60 minutes guaranteed.
- Premium instance sizes: one core, two core, and four core instances.
- More predictable pricing, compared with the Consumption plan.
- High-density app allocation for plans with multiple function apps.
When you're using the Premium plan, instances of the Azure Functions host are added and removed based on the number of incoming events, just like the Consumption plan. Multiple function apps can be deployed to the same Premium plan, and the plan allows you to configure compute instance size, base plan size, and maximum plan size.
Billing for the Premium plan is based on the number of core seconds and memory allocated across instances. This billing differs from the Consumption plan, which is billed per execution and memory consumed. There is no execution charge with the Premium plan. At least one instance must be allocated at all times per plan. This billing results in a minimum monthly cost per active plan, regardless if the function is active or idle. Keep in mind that all function apps in a Premium plan share allocated instances. To learn more, see the Azure Functions pricing page.
Create a Premium plan
When you create a function app in the Azure portal, the Consumption plan is the default. To create a function app that runs in a Premium plan, you must explicitly create an App Service plan using one of the Elastic Premium SKUs. The function app you create is then hosted in this plan. The Azure portal makes it easy to create both the Premium plan and the function app at the same time. You can run more than one function app in the same Premium plan, but they most both run on the same operating system (Windows or Linux).
The following articles show you how to create a function app with a Premium plan, either programmatically or in the Azure portal:
Eliminate cold starts
When events or executions don't occur in the Consumption plan, your app may scale to zero instances. When new events come in, a new instance with your app running on it must be specialized. Specializing new instances may take some time depending on the app. This additional latency on the first call is often called app cold start.
Premium plan provides two features that work together to effectively eliminate cold starts in your functions: always ready instances and pre-warmed instances.
Always ready instances
In the Premium plan, you can have your app always ready on a specified number of instances. The maximum number of always ready instances is 20. When events begin to trigger the app, they are first routed to the always ready instances. As the function becomes active, additional instances will be warmed as a buffer. This buffer prevents cold start for new instances required during scale. These buffered instances are called pre-warmed instances. With the combination of the always ready instances and a pre-warmed buffer, your app can effectively eliminate cold start.
Every premium plan has at least one active (billed) instance at all times.
You can configure the number of always ready instances in the Azure portal by selected your Function App, going to the Platform Features tab, and selecting the Scale Out options. In the function app edit window, always ready instances are specific to that app.
Pre-warmed instances are instances warmed as a buffer during scale and activation events. Pre-warmed instances continue to buffer until the maximum scale-out limit is reached. The default pre-warmed instance count is 1, and for most scenarios this value should remain as 1.
When an app has a long warm-up (like a custom container image), you may need to increase this buffer. A pre-warmed instance becomes active only after all active instances have been sufficiently used.
Consider this example of how always-ready instances and pre-warmed instances work together. A premium function app has five always ready instances configured, and the default of one pre-warmed instance. When the app is idle and no events are triggering, the app is provisioned and running with five instances. At this time, you aren't billed for a pre-warmed instance as the always-ready instances aren't used, and no pre-warmed instance is allocated.
As soon as the first trigger comes in, the five always-ready instances become active, and a pre-warmed instance is allocated. The app is now running with six provisioned instances: the five now-active always ready instances, and the sixth pre-warmed and inactive buffer. If the rate of executions continues to increase, the five active instances are eventually used. When the platform decides to scale beyond five instances, it scales into the pre-warmed instance. When that happens, there are now six active instances, and a seventh instance is instantly provisioned and fill the pre-warmed buffer. This sequence of scaling and pre-warming continues until the maximum instance count for the app is reached. No instances are pre-warmed or activated beyond the maximum.
You can modify the number of pre-warmed instances for an app using the Azure CLI.
az resource update -g <resource_group> -n <function_app_name>/config/web --set properties.preWarmedInstanceCount=<desired_prewarmed_count> --resource-type Microsoft.Web/sites
Maximum function app instances
Private network connectivity
Function apps deployed to a Premium plan can take advantage of VNet integration for web apps. When configured, your app can communicate with resources within your VNet or secured via service endpoints. IP restrictions are also available on the app to restrict incoming traffic.
When assigning a subnet to your function app in a Premium plan, you need a subnet with enough IP addresses for each potential instance. We require an IP block with at least 100 available addresses.
For more information, see integrate your function app with a VNet.
Rapid elastic scale
Additional compute instances are automatically added for your app using the same rapid scaling logic as the Consumption plan. Apps in the same App Service Plan scale independently from one another based on the needs of an individual app. However, Functions apps in the same App Service Plan share VM resources to help reduce costs, when possible. The number of apps associated with a VM depends on the footprint of each app and the size of the VM.
To learn more about how scaling works, see Event-driven scaling in Azure Functions.
Longer run duration
Azure Functions in a Consumption plan are limited to 10 minutes for a single execution. In the Premium plan, the run duration defaults to 30 minutes to prevent runaway executions. However, you can modify the host.json configuration to make the duration unbounded for Premium plan apps. When set to an unbounded duration, your function app is guaranteed to run for at least 60 minutes.
Plan and SKU settings
When you create the plan, there are two plan size settings: the minimum number of instances (or plan size) and the maximum burst limit.
If your app requires instances beyond the always-ready instances, it can continue to scale out until the number of instances hits the maximum burst limit. You're billed for instances beyond your plan size only while they are running and allocated to you, on a per-second basis. The platform makes it's best effort at scaling your app out to the defined maximum limit.
You can configure the plan size and maximums in the Azure portal by selecting the Scale Out options in the plan or a function app deployed to that plan (under Platform Features).
You can also increase the maximum burst limit from the Azure CLI:
az functionapp plan update -g <resource_group> -n <premium_plan_name> --max-burst <desired_max_burst>
The minimum for every plan will be at least one instance. The actual minimum number of instances will be autoconfigured for you based on the always ready instances requested by apps in the plan. For example, if app A requests five always ready instances, and app B requests two always ready instances in the same plan, the minimum plan size will be calculated as five. App A will be running on all 5, and app B will only be running on 2.
You are charged for each instance allocated in the minimum instance count regardless if functions are executing or not.
In most circumstances, this autocalculated minimum is sufficient. However, scaling beyond the minimum occurs at a best effort. It's possible, though unlikely, that at a specific time scale-out could be delayed if additional instances are unavailable. By setting a minimum higher than the autocalculated minimum, you reserve instances in advance of scale-out.
Increasing the calculated minimum for a plan can be done using the Azure CLI.
az functionapp plan update -g <resource_group> -n <premium_plan_name> --min-instances <desired_min_instances>
Available instance SKUs
When creating or scaling your plan, you can choose between three instance sizes. You will be billed for the total number of cores and memory provisioned, per second that each instance is allocated to you. Your app can automatically scale out to multiple instances as needed.
Memory usage considerations
Running on a machine with more memory doesn't always mean that your function app uses all available memory.
languageWorkers:node:arguments with a value of
--max-old-space-size=<max memory in MB>.
And for plans with more than 4GB memory, ensure the Bitness Platform Setting is set to
64 Bit under General Settings.
Region Max Scale Out
Below are the currently supported maximum scale-out values for a single plan in each region and OS configuration.
See the complete regional availability of Functions on the Azure web site.
|Australia Central||100||Not Available|
|Australia Central 2||100||Not Available|
|China East 2||100||20|
|China North 2||100||20|
|East US 2||100||20|
|Germany West Central||100||Not Available|
|Korea South||Not Available||20|
|North Central US||100||20|
|South Central US||100||20|
|South India||100||Not Available|
|Switzerland North||100||Not Available|
|Switzerland West||100||Not Available|
|USNat East||100||Not Available|
|USNat West||100||Not Available|
|West Central US||100||20|
|West US 2||100||20|