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Azure Analysis Services: Choosing a Pricing Tier

April was a big month for the Azure Analysis Services community – as the product has finally been released for General Availability! Unfortunately, this also means bye bye to preview-pricing. Thankfully, there’s a new “tier” available to choose from when provisioning an Azure AS instance to help offset the price increase.

Before this week, there were only 2 pricing tiers: Developer (D1) & Standard (S0, S1, S2, & S4). Feature-wise, these 2 tiers were identical – the only difference being the amount of memory and query processing units (QPUs) available.

Now we have the new Basic tier with seemingly little difference from the Standard tier. A quick glance at the provisioning page shows the B1 and S0 as nearly identical from a resource perspective. However, the B1 option is over 50% cheaper… so what’s the catch?

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The catch is that the Basic tier has feature-limitations making it more suited for… well… “basic”… models… ones that don’t require partitioning (for managing size and/or low data latency refreshes) or translations, or  perspectives, or direct query. In other words, Azure AS “Basic” is equivalent to the on-premise “Standard Edition” whereas Azure AS “Standard” (and “Developer”) is equivalent to the on-premise “Enterprise Edition”.

I think was a really good move by Microsoft in terms of offering a better option for the “Power BI Grow Up Story”… which I suspect is going to represent (initially) a very large percent of the production Azure AS adoption.