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S HAIDER avatar image
S HAIDER asked

Is there a free or low cost cloud based database on which I can use SQL?

I need to create a relational database for a non-profit organization. They need a free or a low cost database. I'm planning to use SQL language to create a relational database. I need some suggestions, as this is my first project. Thank you.
databasesql databasedatabase-projectcreate databasecreate-database
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Have you looked into SQL Server Express Edition? It's a free edition of SQL Server but has capacity limitations.
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Denis is SQL Server Express Edition a cloud based database and do you use SQL or TSQL in it ?
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Denis is SQL Server Express Edition a cloud based database and do you use SQL or TSQL in it ?
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@S HAIDER SQL Server Express is on premises. It is free, and as Denis mentioned, it has some limitations. Most significant one is the size: the instance is limited to 10 GB of data. This may be enough for your company's needs, but you are the only one who can answer this question.
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10 GB is sufficient enough. Is SQL Server express cloud based? I appreciate the response. Thanks
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Tim avatar image
Tim answered
Azure SQL Database is a very affordable cloud option. You can get a basic tier for $4.99 a month but you wouldn't want to run a production workload their. The standard tier is an S0 up to an S3. 10DTU up to 100DTU. Then becomes the premium tier. The bigger question is what are you needing, anything other than a data store, a place to shove data? What about reporting, data integration, etc. Are you needing a full SQL Server install with SSRS, SSAS, SQL Server Agent, or SSIS? In that case, SQL Server on an Azure VM. The lower end there starts around $50 per month. You can also spin up SQL Server Express on an Azure VM as well so it would be cloud based.
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Thank you so much for the feed back. I appreciate it. I need a basic cloud based database to create a relational database where the data can be accessed efficiently. I'm not interested in reporting or data integration. I'm new in this field and trying to figure out that which platform will be best to use. I will be creating database using SQL programming language, so I would like a platform that supports it. Azure SQL Database sounds good so far.
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It should do what you need. Then in the future, if you need reporting, you can leverage Power BI, also cloud based.
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S HAIDER answered
Is Microsoft Azure the cloud version of SQL Server express?
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No, Azure is not a version of SQL Server express. Azure is a complete cloud infrastructure. Azure SQL Database is a relational database engine as a service. The basic tier supports up to a 2GB database, Standard up to 250GB and premium up to 4TB in some regions, 1TB otherwise. It is fully scale-able and you pay for your performance. As business needs grow and more IO is needed, you simply move up to the next DTU size.
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No, it's not. MS offers 2 options in the cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). If you choose IaaS then you will spin up a Virtual Machine (VM) in the cloud and will have to install your own edition of SQL Server which would be SQL Server Express, for example. This won't be any different from any other SQL Server on VM except that it will be hosted in a MS data center of a region of your choice. If you go with PaaS (DBaaS), you will use Azure SQL Server Database product. You won't get to see/manage any instance level options, just the database. You just have to poke around to see what fits you best. Also, you might want to ask MS to see if you could get a discount since you're working for a non-profit, they might have different prices. Who knows :)
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Dennis and Tim, thank you for the information. It was very helpful!
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petermayfield answered

You could take a look at one of these backup options for small business. Helped me tremendously during COVID. Our business was able to protect valuable data at low-cost thanks to it.

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