Wading Into the Microsoft Azure SQL Elastic Database Pool

The SQL Elastic Database Pool?allows you to run SQL databases with a private pool of resources dedicated for that purpose. Azure SQL database capabilities have been significantly enhanced recently to provide support for high-end scalability, allowing management of fairly large scale databases with huge amounts of compute and storage.

While cloud services in Azure were built to scale from the get-go, there were limitations around scaling the SQL database, especially if you were building a multi-tenant application. Not anymore. With the elastic database pool you can isolate the database needs for each customer and charge them based on consumption of actual resources.

It is very typical of SaaS-based applications to use a separate database for each tenant. Without the elastic pool, you always ended up allocating more resources from the start, not knowing how the actual consumer consumption would be. Or if you started with low allocation of resources, you always risked performance. With SQL elastic database pool, you don’t have this problem anymore. You can create a private pool of resources (compute, I/O etc.), and then run multiple isolated databases. You can also set the SLAs for each database for peak and low usage depending on the predicted customer usage. You can also leverage the management APIs to script the configuration of the databases. In addition, you can also run queries that span multiple databases (pretty cool!).

The elastic database pool has three pricing tiers: Standard, Basic and Premium Elastic. These offer a pretty wide range of pricing and resource choices to setup your database pool. You can also very easily migrate between the pricing tiers, allowing you the flexibility to gradually move to a higher pricing tier as the usage grows.

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