vCore purchasing model - Azure SQL Managed Instance

Applies to: Azure SQL Managed Instance

This article reviews the vCore purchasing model for Azure SQL Managed Instance.


A virtual core (vCore) represents a logical CPU and offers you the option to choose the physical characteristics of the hardware (for example, the number of cores, the memory, and the storage size). The vCore-based purchasing model gives you flexibility, control, transparency of individual resource consumption, and a straightforward way to translate on-premises workload requirements to the cloud. This model optimizes price, and allows you to choose compute, memory, and storage resources based on your workload needs.

In the vCore-based purchasing model, your costs depend on the choice and usage of:

  • Service tier
  • Hardware configuration
  • Compute resources (the number of vCores and the amount of memory)
  • Reserved database storage
  • Actual backup storage

The virtual core (vCore) purchasing model used by Azure SQL Managed Instance provides the following benefits:

  • Control over hardware configuration to better match the compute and memory requirements of the workload.
  • Pricing discounts for Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB) and Reserved Instance (RI).
  • Greater transparency in the hardware details that power compute, helping facilitate planning for migrations from on-premises deployments.
  • Higher scaling granularity with multiple compute sizes available.

Service tiers

Service tier options in the vCore purchasing model include General Purpose and Business Critical. The service tier generally defines the storage architecture, space and I/O limits, and business continuity options related to availability and disaster recovery.

For more details, review resource limits.

Category General Purpose Business Critical
Best for Most business workloads. Offers budget-oriented, balanced, and scalable compute and storage options. Offers business applications the highest resilience to failures by using several isolated replicas, and provides the highest I/O performance.
Read-only replicas 0 1
Replicas for availability One replica for high availability Three high availability replicas, 1 is also a read-scale replica
Read-only replicas with failover groups enabled One additional read-only replica. Two total readable replicas, which includes the primary replica. Two additional read-only replicas, three total read-only replicas. Four total readable replicas, which includes the primary replica.
Pricing/billing vCore, reserved storage, and backup storage is charged.
IOPS is not charged
vCore, reserved storage, and backup storage is charged.
IOPS is not charged.
Discount models Reserved instances
Azure Hybrid Benefit (not available on dev/test subscriptions)
Enterprise and Pay-As-You-Go Dev/Test subscriptions
Reserved instances
Azure Hybrid Benefit (not available on dev/test subscriptions)
Enterprise and Pay-As-You-Go Dev/Test subscriptions


For more information on the Service Level Agreement (SLA), see SLA for Azure SQL Managed Instance.

Choosing a service tier

For information on selecting a service tier for your particular workload, see the following articles:


SQL Managed Instance compute provides a specific amount of compute resources that are continuously provisioned independent of workload activity, and bills for the amount of compute provisioned at a fixed price per hour.

Hardware configurations

Hardware configuration options in the vCore model include standard-series (Gen5), premium-series, and memory optimized premium-series. Hardware configuration generally defines the compute and memory limits and other characteristics that impact workload performance.

For more information on the hardware configuration specifics and limitations, see Hardware configuration characteristics.

In the sys.dm_user_db_resource_governance dynamic management view, hardware generation for instances using Intel® SP-8160 (Skylake) processors appears as Gen6, while hardware generation for instances using Intel® 8272CL (Cascade Lake) appears as Gen7. The Intel® 8370C (Ice Lake) CPUs used by premium-series and memory optimized premium-series hardware generations appear as Gen8. Resource limits for all standard-series (Gen5) instances are the same regardless of processor type (Broadwell, Skylake, or Cascade Lake).

Selecting a hardware configuration

You can select hardware configuration at the time of instance creation, or you can change hardware of an existing instance.

To select hardware configuration when creating a SQL Managed Instance

For detailed information, see Create a SQL Managed Instance.

On the Basics tab, select the Configure database link in the Compute + storage section, and then select desired hardware:

configure SQL Managed Instance

To change hardware of an existing SQL Managed Instance

From the SQL Managed Instance page, select Pricing tier link placed under the Settings section

change SQL Managed Instance hardware

On the Pricing tier page, you will be able to change hardware as described in the previous steps.

When specifying hardware parameter in templates or scripts, hardware is provided by using its name. The following table applies:

Hardware Name
Standard-series (Gen5) Gen5
Premium-series G8IM
Memory optimized premium-series G8IH

Hardware availability



Gen4 hardware is being retired and is not available for new deployments, as announced on December 18, 2019. Customers using Gen4 for Azure SQL Databases, elastic pools, or SQL managed instances should migrate to currently available hardware, such as standard-series (Gen5), before January 31, 2023.

For more information on Gen4 hardware retirement and migration to current hardware, see our Blog post on Gen4 retirement. Existing Gen4 databases, elastic pools, and SQL managed instances will be migrated automatically to equivalent standard-series (Gen5) hardware.

Downtime caused by automatic migration will be minimal and similar to downtime during scaling operations within selected service tier. To avoid unplanned interruptions to workloads, migrate proactively at the time of your choice before January 31, 2023.

Standard-series (Gen5) and premium-series

Standard-series (Gen5) and premium-series hardware is available in all public regions worldwide.

Memory optimized premium-series hardware is in preview, and has limited regional availability. For more information, see Azure SQL Managed Instance resource limits.

Next steps