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Microsoft makes a dip in the Azure Cosmos DB pool just a bit more tempting with another price drop

Come on in, the water's lovely, urges cloudy database team

Sandwiched between the open source excitement of Microsoft’s Connect(); 2018 event was news to set the hearts of database fans a-quiver. As well as a slew of new toys, the cost of entry and scaling of its globally distributed database service, Cosmos DB, was lowered considerably.

Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s crack at a distributed NoSQL database along the lines of Amazon’s DynamoDB. An evolution of Azure’s DocumentDB service, the tooling gives customers a read and write availability of 99.999 per cent along with write latency below the ten millisecond mark.

Data can be replicated over all Azure’s regions and devs can pick and choose from a wide variety of APIs in order to talk to the thing, from MongoDB to good old SQL. We took a look at it back in September and liked what we saw. But even though the entry point had been dropped, the price made us wince a little. Now things have reduced further.

Dropping the price of entry

The drop is eye-opening. Azure Cosmos DB is billed by provisioned throughput and consumed storage per hour, and is expressed as Request Units per Second (RU/S). As a minimum, Microsoft expected users to sign up for a minimum of 10,000 RU/S for a Cosmos DB database, with scaling increments of 1,000 RU/S.

While the Cosmos DB team didn’t really like to talk about it, there was no getting away from the fact that compared to many other options, that was expensive. Customers were looking at a cost of approximately $584 per month if they stuck to just one region. Going multi-region (which is one of the great benefits of Cosmos DB) sent the price nearer to $1,168 per month.

The price of entry has now been slashed, with the minimum throughput of a Cosmos DB Database matching that of a Container, at 400 RU/S with scaling increments of 100 RU/S.

To put that in context, the starting price of a Cosmos DB database is now $23.36 per month, or $46.72 to take advantage of the multi-region goodness.

Of course, the actual cost of RU/S remains the same. However, moving from the free trial period to something that involves cold, hard cash has become considerably less heartstopping and could well tempt those considering a traditional SQL solution. As with all cloud services, keep a close eye on your usage.

New SDK and a new Role

While the price-drop was the attention-grabber, Microsoft also slipped out the first preview of Cosmos DB SDK 3.0, which is aimed at users of the venerable .NET Framework (4.6.1 and above) and the update .NET Core (2.0 and above.)

It is all change in this SDK, with top-level CosmosClient and methods split across relevant CosmosDatabases, Containers and Items classes, and also support for streams.

As well as the SDK, the Cosmos DB team has also added a new built-in Role Based Access Control (RBAC) Azure role in the form of “Azure Cosmos DB Operator”. In a nod to enterprise compliance and regulatory challenges, the role gives users the right to provision and manage Cosmos DB resources without providing access to the data within the account. ®

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