vCore model overview

The virtual core (vCore) model provides several benefits:

  • Higher compute, memory, IO, 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; 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 IO 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.
Single database and elastic pool provisioned compute:
5 GB – 4 TB
Serverless compute:
5 GB - 3 TB
Managed instance: 32 GB - 8 TB
Uses local SSD storage.
Single database and elastic pool provisioned compute:
5 GB – 4 TB
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.
I/O throughput (approximate) Single database and elastic pool: 500 IOPS per vCore up to 40000 maximum IOPS.
Managed instance: Depends on size of file.
5000 IOPS per vCore up to 320,000 maximum IOPS Hyperscale is a multi-tiered architecture with caching at multiple levels. Effective IOPs 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 (preview), and Fsv2-series (preview). 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 (preview)

  • 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.  

For regions where Fsv2-series is available, see Fsv2-series availability.

M-series (preview)

  • 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 128 vCores, which increases the memory limit relative to Gen5 by 8x to nearly 4 TB.

To enable M-series hardware for a subscription and region, a support request must be open. If the support request is approved, then the selection and provisioning experience of M-series follows the same pattern as for other hardware generations. 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 72 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)
- 1.9 GB per vCore
- Provision 136 GB
M-series - Intel Xeon E7-8890 v3 2.5 GHz processors
- Provision 128 vCores (1 vCore = 1 hyper-thread)
- 29 GB per vCore
- Provision 3.7 TB

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 SQL database or pool at the time of creation, or you can change the hardware generation of an existing SQL 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.

Hardware availability

Gen4/Gen5

New Gen4 databases are no longer supported in the Australia East or Brazil South regions.

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. M-series may also have limited availability in additional regions. You can request a different region than listed here, but fulfillment in a different region may not be possible.

To enable M-series availability in a subscription, access must be requested by filing a new support request.

Create a support request to enable M-series:
  1. Select Help + support in the portal.
  2. Select New support request.

On the Basics page, provide the following:

  1. For Issue type, select Service and subscription limits (quotas).
  2. For Subscription = select the subscription to enable M-series.
  3. For Quota type, select SQL database.
  4. Select Next to go to the Details page.

On the Details page, provide the following:

  1. In the PROBLEM DETAILS section select the Provide details link.
  2. For SQL Database quota type select M-series.
  3. For Region, select the region to enable M-series. For regions where M-series is available, see M-series availability.

Approved support requests are typically fulfilled within 5 business days.

Next steps