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MS Azure SQL Managed Instance: Intelligent, Scalable Cloud Database Service

Azure SQL Managed Instance

The globalization and increase in the competition within the global market have proved beyond doubt that in the modern world, data is the most crucial business resource owned by organizations irrespective of their size and industrial background. But in addition to this, simply acquiring data from multiple sources is not enough for boosting a certain company’s growth. The process of acquiring, structuring, analyzing, and finally storing the data must form a certain coherence that can facilitate quick decision-making by the management of the company. This has subsequently led to the development of database services that consolidate all the data management functions for the user company. In this blog post, we will talk about one such database service Azure SQL Managed Instance pricing and features.

As the name suggests, the term database refers to a structured collection of data or information that is crucial for the user company, in a format that makes it easier to retrieve data upon requirement. The features included in the Azure SQL Managed Instance range from one such competent database service that can provide several advantages to a company.

What is Azure SQL Managed Instance: Meaning and explanation of uses in organizations

Logo of Azure Managed SQl Instance

It refers to an intelligent, scalable cloud database service which is a combination of the broadest SQL Server database engine compatibility with all the benefits of a completely managed platform as a service SQL. The service is used by organizations to shift from the on-premises to the cloud platform with minimal database changes.

Discussion on the Azure SQL Managed Instance pricing structure:

The pricing structure has been developed atop the vCore-based purchasing model or purchase model based on virtual cores, which is known for its ability to provide flexible capacity charges, transparent and controlled way to translate the on-premises workload needs of an organization to the cloud database service. With the shift in the quantity of virtualized workloads of the user company, the vCore model has the potential to change the compute capacity, memory, and storage of data which influences the cost of ownership.

Apart from this, the purchasing model is also eligible to provide the user with up to 55 percent savings through the Azure Hybrid Benefit package. The vCore model overview gives the user organization a choice of choosing between two generations of hardware namely, Gen 4 and Gen 5.

reserved Capacity benefits

The price range of the service is available to future user companies in the form of certain service pricing tiers. The service tier can be further categorized into the following:-

  • General Purpose Service Tier
  • Business Critical Service Tier

The pricing structure of an account in the Azure SQL Managed Instance is available to the interested organizations in the following categories:-

Single Instance –

General Purpose:
  1. Gen 5
VcoreMemory (GB)Included StoragePay as you go1 year reserved capacity3 year reserved capacity
420.4First 32 GB/month$1.01/hour$0.80/hour ~21% savings$0.68/hour ~33% savings
840.8First 32 GB/month$2.02/hour$1.60/hour ~21% savings$1.35/hour ~33% savings
1681.6First 32 GB/month$4.04/hour$3.19/hour ~21% savings$2.70/hour ~33% savings
24122.4First 32 GB/month$6.06/hour$4.78/hour ~21% savings$4.05/hour ~33% savings
32163.2First 32 GB/month$8.07/hour$6.37/hour ~21% savings$5.40/hour ~33% savings
40204First 32 GB/month$10.09/hour$7.96/hour ~21% savings$6.74/hour ~33% savings
64326.4First 32 GB/month$16.14/hour$12.74/hour ~21% savings$10.79/hour ~33% savings
80396First 32 GB/month$20.18/hour$15.92/hour ~21% savings$13.48/hour ~33% savings
  1. Storage: Within the General Purpose Tier, the user company is charged for a premium account of Azure Blob Storage according to the chosen Instance. The storage can be configured from 32GB to 8TB with 32GB increments.
First 32 GB/instance/monthIncluded
Additional storage*$0.12/GB/month
  1. Backup Storage (point in time restore):
  1. Long term retention:
Business Critical:
  1. Gen 5
vCOREMemory (GB)Included StoragePay as you go1 year reserved capacity3 year reserved capacity
420.4First 32 GB/month$2.72/hour$2.30/hour ~16% savings$2.05/hour ~25% savings
840.8First 32 GB/month$5.44/hour$4.59/hour ~16% savings$4.10/hour ~25% savings
1681.6First 32 GB/month$10.88/hour$9.17/hour ~16% savings$8.20/hour ~25% savings
24122.4First 32 GB/month$16.31/hour$13.75/hour ~16% savings$12.29/hour ~25% savings
32163.2First 32 GB/month$21.75/hour$18.34/hour ~16% savings$16.39/hour ~25% savings
40204First 32 GB/month$27.18/hour$22.92/hour ~16% savings$20.48/hour ~25% savings
64326.4First 32 GB/month$43.49/hour$36.67/hour ~16% savings$32.77/hour ~25% savings
80396First 32 GB/month$54.36/hour$45.83/hour ~16% savings$40.96/hour ~25% savings
  1. Storage: In the business-criticality tier, the user is charged for the local SSD storage that is provisioned for the specific instance. The storage can be configured between 32GB and 4TB with 32GB increments.
First 32 GB/monthIncluded
Additional storage*$0.25/GB/month
  1. Backup storage (point in time restore)
  1. Long term retention: At times, the organizational data may have to be stored for long periods for certain business purposes. The long-term retention(LTR) feature allows the user to store full backups for up to 10years.

Instance pool (similar to the Elastic pools in the Azure SQL Database pricing) –

  1. Gen 5:
vCOREMemory (GB)Included StoragePay as you go
840.8First 32 GB/instance/month$2.02/hour
1681.6First 32 GB/instance/month$4.04/hour
24122.4First 32 GB/instance/month$6.06/hour
32163.2First 32 GB/instance/month$8.07/hour
40204First 32 GB/instance/month$10.09/hour
64326.4First 32 GB/instance/month$16.14/hour
80396First 32 GB/instance/month$20.18/hour
  1. Storage:
First 32 GB/instance/monthIncluded
Additional storage*$0.12/GB/month
  1. Backup storage(point in time restore):
  1. Long term retention:

Explanation of the features included in the Azure SQL Managed Instance pricing range:

The features included in the are as follows:-

  • The service has backup storage tuning options where automated backups are used.
  • The built-in database monitoring feature makes the service a virtual machine.
  • The service can perform automatic software patching.
  • VNet the Azure Resource Manager deployment controls the resource limits.
  • built-int in integration service is a part of Azure Data Factory. built-it in analysis service separate rate the platform as a service.
  • Built-int in reporting service cannot be run in Azure SQL Managed Instance but can be hosted catalog log databases.
Vnet Support

Security features included:

The features in the Azure SQL Managed Instance pricing structure provide certain advanced security features which help to protect organizational data. These are as follows:-

  • SQL Managed Instance auditing feature is used to track the data residency compliance, understanding database activity and gaining insights into any mishap.
  • The data in the service is always encrypted which provides it maximum protection against outside threats during query processing.
  • Advanced threat protection technique provides an extra layer of security surveillance upon the database and while performing cross-databases queries.
  • There is a data masking technique that limits the exposure of sensitive data to unauthorized users.
  • Transparent data encryption encrypts the data in SQL Managed Instance in the form of data at rest.

Integrating Azure Active Directory with Azure SQL Managed Instance:

The process of integrating the Azure Active Directory Instance and an account of Azure SQL Managed Instance begins with creating an Azure Active Directory Instance and later populating with individual users and groups. This implies that the Azure Active Directory Instance can play the role of an initial domain while the SQL Managed Instance account acts as the managed domain. Apart from this, the Azure Active Directory instance can also be an on-premises instance and which can later be federated with the Azure Active Directory cloud.

The next step in the integration process is to associate or add an Azure subscription to the Azure Active Directory Instance. This process can be completed in the following manner:-

  • The Azure subscription can be associated with the Azure Active Directory by transforming the directory into a trusted directory for the Azure Subscription hosting active databases.
  • Next the Directory switcher in the Azure Portal for switching to the subscription associated with the domain.
Azure Active Directory and Azure SQL Managed Database Instance

Authentication of Azure Active Directory with Azure SQL Managed Instance

To accomplish the task of reading Azure Active Directory successfully, the Azure SQL Managed Instance requires permission. After this permission is granted the tasks multi-factor authentication of users through the authentication of a secure group operation of a new group can be completed. This grant of permission can be provided by the user organization by using the Azure Portal or the Power Shell. The Azure Portal method is comparatively simple hassle sale-free. It can be explained in the following manner log login as a Global Administrator in the Azure Active Directory.

  • Open the Azure Portal and on the upper right corner, select the relevant connection from a list of probable Active Directories.
  • Select the relevant Active Directory as the default Active Directory.
  • Navigate and open the SQL Managed Instance that is to be used as an Azure Active Directory integration.
  • Click on the banner on the Admin page of the Active Directory and grant permission to the user.
  • After the success of the Integran, a notification appears on the top right corner of the page.
  • The user can now select an Azure Active Directory admin for the Azure SQL Managed Instance.
  • In the Azure Active Directory page, select the user and select a user or a group for being an administrator. After choosing one, click on Select.
  • The top of the Azure Active Directory Admin page provides a Save option. Click on Save.

Backup storage of data:

The concept of backup storage options was developed to provide additional security to the crucial organizational data apart from the security features of the database service itself. The Managed Instance consists of a point time restore feature that has the potential to create a database in the form of a copy of another database stored in the recent past. The point-in-time restore feature is useful during disaster recovery scenarios for instance, when data is lost due to errors, incorrect storing of data, outside threat, or elimination of crucial organizational data from the system. Apart from this, the feature can also be used for testing or auditing.

The backup files are stored within the system for 7-35 days but the specific period depends on the individual database storage size and the valid retention rate. The point in time feature has the capacity of restoring a database from the following conditions:-

  • Data can be restored from an existing database
  • A backup database can be created from a deleted database.
  • The backup storage is added to the same SQL Managed Instance or some other SQL Managed Instance.

But this feature has a few limitations of its own. These can be enumerated in the following manner:-

  • During disaster recovery, when data is being restored from one instance of the Azure SQL Managed Instance to another, both instances need to be within the same subscription and region. Restoration across regions and subscriptions is not permitted currently.
  • The restoration of a complete SQL Managed Instance is not permitted.
  • The user organization should also be aware of the database storage size before opting to restore the data.

EPC Group Consultation of Azure Services: Azure SQL Managed Instance perspective

Microsoft Azure is an umbrella term for the collection of cloud applications that aim to make all parts of the data management process easier and hassle-free for user organization. Over the years, the organization has gained a holistic view of delivering software solutions to its clients. The experts work towards creating a strategy for consolidating the data usage patterns and the software applications to be implemented by the clients. The EPC Group has more than two decades of experience in customizing training programs and tweaking software solutions according to the organizational needs of the individual client organizations.

Apart from this, the company is also a Gold certificate partner of Microsoft which makes its consultation experience quite credible. While the features under Azure SQL Managed Instance pricing are very advantageous services, the benefits can be derived to their fullest potential only through proper and consistent consultation which the EPC Group is quite adept to provide.


The Azure SQL Managed Instance is a part of the Azure Service Fabric consisting of applications that are built on SQL. This refers to the fact that the service consolidates the capabilities of both the Azure SQL Database and the SQL Server Database engine while having certain important features of its own. The built-in scaling features and the high availability of data within the application make data management very simple and hassle-free.

Apart from this, the service is a product of Microsoft, ensuring that the data security measures will be enough to keep crucial organizational data safe from outside threats. Thus, for all the right reasons, It is the best choice for organizations that intend to harness the power of their data into their business processes.

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Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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