Your database options while hosting in Azure (as of January 2014)

This will be one of those point-in-time posts. What I mean is, this is the current state of what I’ve found – but this information will likely change as time goes on.

So, you have a website hosted in Azure and you want to use a database. What are your options for hosting a database? Here’s what I found:

MongoDB:
I have this new project and I specifically wanted to use it to try out Mongo in a production environment. It’s easy enough to set up a dev and qa environment at home, but how do I host a secure, production instance? Well, after some research, probably the simplest thing to do would be to stand up a Virtual Machine in Azure – an x-small instance would do fine. However, if you don’t have free Azure (like via MSDN), that costs $15/month! If I look for other hosting options, I found MongoHQ and MongoLab – which are also both $15, plus they are outside of the private Azure network, so presumably less secure too.

There is also the option to set up Mongo as a “worker role” in Azure too. I haven’t done this yet, and it doesn’t quite make sense to me. That’s just my own ignorance. But again, if go to the Azure Pricing Calculator, bringing up one x-small worker role is also $15/month.

So – hosting MongoDB in Azure (or elsewhere) will cost at LEAST $15/month per instance and only go up from there.

MySQL:
From the Azure Management Console (https://manage.windowsazure.com) you can go in the bottom-left corner and create new things. One of the options under New –> Store is the option to create a ClearDB MySQL database.

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Now, you might remember these jokers from when I moved my WordPress site over to Azure. Azure said “Sure! C’mon over! It’ll be great!!” But then when my database went over 20MB, ClearDB sent me a bill! OK, so what are our options, here?

Well, same deal – you can create a new database (20MB). Anything bigger is going to cost money. From https://www.cleardb.com/store/azure:

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So, if you want a MySQL database, you are looking at $10/month. Alternatively, you can find places that will host a MySQL database for free (like this: http://www.000webhost.com/order.php) but do you really want to put the production data of your company into the hands of vendor who is offering a completely free service? That smells fishy, and we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Microsoft SQL Server:
That leaves SQL server. You can have a database in Azure for up to 20MB for free also, and then the price goes up from there.

Summary:
So here is a summary of your (my) options:

  • MongoDB: $15/month minimum no matter how it’s hosted.
  • MySQL: free for 20MB, $9.99/month for up to 1GB
  • MS SQL: free for 20MB, $9.99/month for up to 1GB, $5/month for 100MB

As a point of reference, this WordPress database – including all posts and comments, but NOT images, is around 500MB by the way. Anyhow, I hope that helps, Future-Robert – good luck!

Posted in Azure, Infrastructure, MongoDB, Uncategorized

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