vCore model overview - Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance

APPLIES TO: yesAzure SQL Database yesAzure SQL Managed Instance

The virtual core (vCore) purchasing model used by Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance provides several benefits:

  • 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) and Reserved Instance (RI).
  • Greater transparency in the hardware details that power the compute, that facilitates planning for migrations from on-premises deployments.

Service tiers

Service tier options in the vCore 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.

- 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
SQL Managed Instance: 32 GB - 8 TB
Uses local SSD storage.
SQL Database provisioned compute:
5 GB – 4 TB
SQL Managed Instance:
32 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.
SQL Managed Instance: See Overview Azure SQL Managed Instance resource limits.
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 3 replicas, 1 read-scale replica,
zone-redundant high availability (HA)
1 read-write replica, plus 0-4 read-scale replicas
Backups Read-access geo-redundant storage (RA-GRS), 7-35 days (7 days by default) RA-GRS, 7-35 days (7 days by default) Snapshot-based backups in Azure remote storage. Restores use these 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 or days).
In-memory Not supported Supported Not supported

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, and Fsv2-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. The subscription must be a paid offer type including Pay-As-You-Go or Enterprise Agreement (EA). For regions where M-series is available, see M-series availability.

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 and Intel SP-8160 (Skylake)* 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 16 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 48 GB max
Fsv2-series - Intel Xeon Platinum 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 Xeon E7-8890 v3 2.5 GHz and Intel Xeon Platinum 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

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

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 database

Select the desired hardware generation:

select hardware

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 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.

To select a hardware generation when creating a SQL Managed Instance

For detailed information, see Create a SQL Managed Instance.

On the Basics tab, select the Configure database link in the Compute + storage section, and then select desired hardware generation:

configure SQL Managed Instance

To change the hardware generation of an existing SQL Managed Instance

From the SQL Managed Instance page, select Pricing tier link placed under the Settings section

change SQL Managed Instance hardware

On the Pricing tier page, you will be able to change 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 most 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, India West, 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.

Next steps

To get started, see:

For pricing details, see the Azure SQL Database pricing page.

For details about the specific compute and storage sizes available in the general purpose and business critical service tiers, see: