Picking Azure VM Sizes

Glenn Berry helps us pick the right-sized Azure VM for a SQL Server installation:

A common issue with Azure VM sizing for SQL Server has been the fact that you were often forced to select a VM size that had far more virtual CPU cores than you needed or wanted in order to have enough memory and storage performance to support your workload, which increased your monthly licensing cost.

Luckily, Microsoft has recently made the decision process a little easier for SQL Server with a new series of Azure VMs that use some particular VM sizes (DS, ES, GS, and MS), but reduce the vCPU count to one quarter or one half of the original VM size, while maintaining the same memory, storage and I/O bandwidth. These these new VM sizes have a suffix that specifies the number of active vCPUs to make them easier to identify.

For example, a Standard_DS14v2 Azure VM would have 16 vCPUs, 112GB of RAM, and support up to 51,200 IOPS or 768MB/sec of sequential throughput (according to Microsoft). A new Standard_DS14-8v2 Azure VM would only have 8 vCPUs, with the same memory capacity and disk performance as the Standard_DS14v2, which would reduce your SQL Server licensing cost per year by 50%. Both of these Azure VM SKUs would have the same ACU score of 160.

Glenn is, as always, a font of useful information.  Go read the whole thing.

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