Microsoft's Azure platform is the future of the company; they have their own services that utilize the platform like OneDrive and many others that use the services as a backbone to either link products together or power them entirely. Moreso, Microsoft is using its cloud to attract outside companies to build their services on its platform by offering lucrative features and pricing.
On the pricing front, Microsoft has announced today that they will be cutting the price of of the Premium and Standard price tiers for Azure SQL database services. They will also be offering a new lower-priced tier inside the Standard tier to reduce the cost for entry.
- Premium and Standard price reductions: Final pricing will reflect up to 50% savings from previously-published pricing. Updated pricing will help more customers benefit from higher performance and greater business continuity.
- New S0 performance level: Within the Standard service tier, we will offer a new S0 performance level. This new lower cost entry point will enable more customers to benefit from the features in the Standard tier. Performance levels provide a defined level of throughput that can be easily dialed up or down, based on performance demands.
- Hourly billing: Azure SQL Database will move to hourly billing for the new service tiers. This will provide customers with greater flexibility to shift between service tiers and performance levels, based on demand patterns, to gain cost-effective, reliable performance
Microsoft has been lowering the price on several of its cloud based services, and you would think that this seems a bit crazy when the company has also announced that Windows on devices under 9 inches is also free for OEMs too. It's clear that Microsoft is cutting prices across the board to make its products attractive, and it is doing so to either grow (Azure services) or maintain (Windows) marketshare.
With cloud, the market is fiercely competitive with the likes of Google and Amazon fighting for enterprise dollars, and the best way to do that is by offering cost-effective services. For Microsoft, they still have very healthy profit margins, but for Amazon, the same cannot be said as their other revenue streams are not as strong as Microsoft's or Google's.
With these lower SQL prices, we don't expect to mass abandonment of other platforms and a switch to Azure, but it is one more dart in the board for why a company might choose to go with Azure over the competition.
There are still strong arguments for keeping your data services on premise but, with Azure becoming more lucrative in terms of pricing, and for the most part stability, local deployments are quickly becoming less attractive for the small and medium sized companies.