vCore purchase model overview - Azure SQL Database

APPLIES TO: Azure SQL Database

This article reviews the vCore purchase model for Azure SQL Database. For more information on choosing between the vCore and DTU purchase models, see Choose between the vCore and DTU purchasing models.

The virtual core (vCore) purchase model used by Azure SQL Database provides several benefits over the DTU purchase model:

  • Higher compute, memory, I/O, and storage limits.
  • Control over the hardware generation to better match compute and memory requirements of the workload.
  • Pricing discounts for Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB).
  • Greater transparency in the hardware details that power the compute, that facilitates planning for migrations from on-premises deployments.
  • Reserved instance pricing is only available for vCore purchase model.

Service tiers

Service tier options in the vCore purchase model include General Purpose, Business Critical, and Hyperscale. The service tier generally defines the storage architecture, space and I/O limits, and business continuity options related to availability and disaster recovery.

Use case General Purpose Business Critical Hyperscale
Best for Most business workloads. Offers budget-oriented, balanced, and scalable compute and storage options. Offers business applications the highest resilience to failures by using several isolated replicas, and provides the highest I/O performance per database replica. Most business workloads with highly scalable storage and read-scale requirements. Offers higher resilience to failures by allowing configuration of more than one isolated database replica.
Storage Uses remote storage.
SQL Database provisioned compute:
5 GB – 4 TB
Serverless compute:
5 GB - 3 TB
Uses local SSD storage.
SQL Database provisioned compute:
5 GB – 4 TB
Flexible autogrow of storage as needed. Supports up to 100 TB of storage. Uses local SSD storage for local buffer-pool cache and local data storage. Uses Azure remote storage as final long-term data store.
IOPS and throughput (approximate) SQL Database: See resource limits for single databases and elastic pools. See resource limits for single databases and elastic pools. Hyperscale is a multi-tiered architecture with caching at multiple levels. Effective IOPS and throughput will depend on the workload.
Availability 1 replica, no read-scale replicas,
zone-redundant high availability (HA) (preview)
3 replicas, 1 read-scale replica,
zone-redundant high availability (HA)
1 read-write replica, plus 0-4 read-scale replicas
Backups A choice of geo-redundant, zone-redundant*, or locally-redundant* backup storage, 1-35 day retention (default 7 days) A choice of geo-redundant, zone-redundant*, or locally-redundant* backup storage, 1-35 day retention (default 7 days) A choice of geo-redundant, zone-redundant**, or locally-redundant** backup storage, 7 day retention.

Snapshot-based backups in Azure remote storage. Restores use snapshots for fast recovery. Backups are instantaneous and don't impact compute I/O performance. Restores are fast and aren't a size-of-data operation (taking minutes rather than hours).

In-memory Not supported Supported Partial support. Memory-optimized table types, table variables, and natively compiled modules are supported.

* In preview

** In preview, for new Hyperscale databases only

Choosing a service tier

For information on selecting a service tier for your particular workload, see the following articles:

Compute tiers

Compute tier options in the vCore model include the provisioned and serverless compute tiers.

Provisioned compute

The provisioned compute tier provides a specific amount of compute resources that are continuously provisioned independent of workload activity, and bills for the amount of compute provisioned at a fixed price per hour.

Serverless compute

The serverless compute tier auto-scales compute resources based on workload activity, and bills for the amount of compute used per second.

Hardware generations

Hardware generation options in the vCore model include Gen 4/5, M-series, Fsv2-series, and DC-series. The hardware generation generally defines the compute and memory limits and other characteristics that impact the performance of the workload.

Gen4/Gen5

  • Gen4/Gen5 hardware provides balanced compute and memory resources, and is suitable for most database workloads that do not have higher memory, higher vCore, or faster single vCore requirements as provided by Fsv2-series or M-series.

For regions where Gen4/Gen5 is available, see Gen4/Gen5 availability.

Fsv2-series

  • Fsv2-series is a compute optimized hardware option delivering low CPU latency and high clock speed for the most CPU demanding workloads.
  • Depending on the workload, Fsv2-series can deliver more CPU performance per vCore than Gen5, and the 72 vCore size can provide more CPU performance for less cost than 80 vCores on Gen5.
  • Fsv2 provides less memory and tempdb per vCore than other hardware so workloads sensitive to those limits may want to consider Gen5 or M-series instead.  

Fsv2-series in only supported in the General Purpose tier. For regions where Fsv2-series is available, see Fsv2-series availability.

M-series

  • M-series is a memory optimized hardware option for workloads demanding more memory and higher compute limits than provided by Gen5.
  • M-series provides 29 GB per vCore and up to 128 vCores, which increases the memory limit relative to Gen5 by 8x to nearly 4 TB.

M-series is only supported in the Business Critical tier and does not support zone redundancy. For regions where M-series is available, see M-series availability.

Azure offer types supported by M-series

To access M-series, the subscription must be a paid offer type including Pay-As-You-Go or Enterprise Agreement (EA). For a complete list of Azure offer types supported by M-series, see current offers without spending limits.

DC-series

  • DC-series hardware uses Intel processors with Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) technology.
  • DC-series is required for Always Encrypted with secure enclaves, which is not supported with other hardware configurations.
  • DC-series is designed for workloads that process sensitive data and demand confidential query processing capabilities, provided by Always Encrypted with secure enclaves.
  • DC-series hardware provides balanced compute and memory resources.

DC-series is only supported for the Provisioned compute (Serverless is not supported) and it does not support zone redundancy. For regions where DC-series is available, see DC-series availability.

Azure offer types supported by DC-series

To access DC-series, the subscription must be a paid offer type including Pay-As-You-Go or Enterprise Agreement (EA). For a complete list of Azure offer types supported by DC-series, see current offers without spending limits.

Compute and memory specifications

Hardware generation Compute Memory
Gen4 - Intel® E5-2673 v3 (Haswell) 2.4-GHz processors
- Provision up to 24 vCores (1 vCore = 1 physical core)
- 7 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 168 GB
Gen5 Provisioned compute
- Intel® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) 2.3-GHz, Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake)*, and Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) 2.5 GHz* processors
- Provision up to 80 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)

Serverless compute
- Intel® E5-2673 v4 (Broadwell) 2.3-GHz and Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake)* processors
- Auto-scale up to 40 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)
Provisioned compute
- 5.1 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 408 GB

Serverless compute
- Auto-scale up to 24 GB per vCore
- Auto-scale up to 120 GB max
Fsv2-series - Intel® 8168 (Skylake) processors
- Featuring a sustained all core turbo clock speed of 3.4 GHz and a maximum single core turbo clock speed of 3.7 GHz.
- Provision up to 72 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)
- 1.9 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 136 GB
M-series - Intel® E7-8890 v3 2.5 GHz and Intel® 8280M 2.7 GHz (Cascade Lake) processors
- Provision up to 128 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)
- 29 GB per vCore
- Provision up to 3.7 TB
DC-series - Intel XEON E-2288G processors
- Featuring Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX))
- Provision up to 8 vCores (1 vCore = 1 physical core)
4.5 GB per vCore

* In the sys.dm_user_db_resource_governance dynamic management view, hardware generation for databases using Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake) processors appears as Gen6, while hardware generation for databases using Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) appears as Gen7. Resource limits for all Gen5 databases are the same regardless of processor type (Broadwell, Skylake, or Cascade Lake).

For more information on resource limits, see Resource limits for single databases (vCore), or Resource limits for elastic pools (vCore).

Selecting a hardware generation

In the Azure portal, you can select the hardware generation for a database or pool in SQL Database at the time of creation, or you can change the hardware generation of an existing database or pool.

To select a hardware generation when creating a SQL Database or pool

For detailed information, see Create a SQL Database.

On the Basics tab, select the Configure database link in the Compute + storage section, and then select the Change configuration link:

configure SQL database

Select the desired hardware generation:

select hardware for SQL database

To change the hardware generation of an existing SQL Database or pool

For a database, on the Overview page, select the Pricing tier link:

change hardware for SQL Database

For a pool, on the Overview page, select Configure.

Follow the steps to change configuration, and select the hardware generation as described in the previous steps.

Hardware availability

Gen4/Gen5

Gen4 hardware is being phased out and is no longer available for new deployments. All new databases must be deployed on Gen5 hardware.

Gen5 is available in all public regions worldwide.

Fsv2-series

Fsv2-series is available in the following regions: Australia Central, Australia Central 2, Australia East, Australia Southeast, Brazil South, Canada Central, East Asia, East Us, France Central, India Central, Korea Central, Korea South, North Europe, South Africa North, Southeast Asia, UK South, UK West, West Europe, West Us 2.

M-series

M-series is available in the following regions: East US, North Europe, West Europe, West US 2.

DC-series

DC-series is available in the following regions: Canada Central, Canada East, East US, North Europe, UK South, West Europe, West US.

If you need DC-series in a currently unsupported region, submit a support ticket. On the Basics page, provide the following:

  1. For Issue type, select Technical.
  2. For Service type, select SQL Database.
  3. For Problem type, select Security, Private and Compliance.
  4. For Problem subtype, select Always Encrypted.

Request DC-series in a new region

Next steps