What Does it Cost to Backup a Windows Azure SQL Database?

October 21, 2013 — 7 Comments

Backup Windows Azure SQL Database billing is prorated daily. This means that if you create a database and delete it right away, you are will be billed for the full day.

I bring this up because the Windows Azure SQL Database automatic backup feature is built on top of the import/export service. To backup your database, the service follows best practices in order to create a consistent point-in-time copy of your database. Then it exports it to a bacpac file and places it in your Windows Azure Storage.

The automatic backup feature is well worth its cost of operation, but you might want to review your backup frequency. Especially if your databases are large.

So how does this show up on your bill? Well for starters, backing up every day will result in paying for your actual database and for the temporary database instance used to create the backup. Backing up every second day will costs you roughly one and a half times what it costs without backups.


The Argument

If it’s so expensive, why should I consider scheduling backups? Windows Azure SQL Database is already backed up by two identical copies at all times. Why should I pay for more backups?

Well that’s exactly it, all 3 copies are identical. If a careless user decides to execute a DELETE statement or an UPDATE statement without a WHERE clause, the data gets altered in all 3 copies!

Incidentally, the 3 copies are there to deal with infrastructure failures not users. The automatic backup feature available for Windows Azure SQL Database is essential, because if something goes totally wrong, you will have a backup to work with.

Think about it, does paying for an extra database from time to time cost you more than what it would cost you if you lost everything?

 

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7 responses to What Does it Cost to Backup a Windows Azure SQL Database?

  1. 

    Don’t forget blob storage costs too.

    I agree that it seems expensive (but essential). Most users will want to back up at least daily which means doubling the cost of the database. This does seems a tad excessive for a backup operation which may only take minutes. It is a shame that you cannot backup more often than daily as well. Given the fair amount of negative comments I see about this feature (mainly costs), hopefully MS will improve it before it comes out of preview.

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  2. 

    The solution to the cost issue is pretty straight forward. Simply change the backup so it doesn’t copy the database first, just take the bacpac from the database. This does have the downside that the backup is not necessarily transactionally consistant, but it’s a trade off I’m sure some people could live with (I certainly can)

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