Azure Cosmos DB: Cloud-Based Non-Relational (NoSQL) Database

Posted by Errin O'Connor on Sep, 30, 2021 06:09

Azure Cosmos DB: Cloud-Based Non-Relational (NoSQL) Database

In the contemporary industrial sector, the success of organizations across the globe is dependent on how they acquire, store and utilize big data to their absolute advantage. In this context, databases play a quite influential role in aiding organizations to use the data for deriving benefits. According to traditional means, the process of building a globally distributed database requires an insane amount of time and effort.

In addition to this, this database would require to be hosted at a data center of the interested organization using their connections and resources. To make the situation simpler, cloud computing and platform as a service (PAAS) concepts were developed. These helped companies across the globe to gain advantages of a globally distributed database with high scalability to run the business. Such platforms could then be deployed simply and managed by an individual itself. The features included in the Azure Cosmos DB Pricing provide all these advantages and much more.

The application has been developed by Microsoft to provide the user enterprises with the opportunity to set up a database that could be flexible and competent enough to tackle their organizational needs.
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What is Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB:

Azure Cosmos DB

Microsoft has always been dedicated to helping organizations across the globe acquire, manage, analyze and beneficially store raw data through several software tools and applications. The Azure Cosmos DB is another example of the company’s efforts in the direction of making data management simpler.

In simple words, it can be described as a database service based on multiple models, with transparent scaling features that replicate organizational data to the locations of the users. This is a platform as a service offering that is distributed across the globe. One of the biggest advantages of using this application is the fact that the user company can manage their data even if it is distributively stored across global locations.

The application consists of the tools that the user company needs to scale data across global locations and computed resources. These tools are made available by Microsoft Azure which is one of the largest cloud providers in the world. This implies that in this Azure Cosmos DB pricing range, it has multi-region capabilities. Being a part of the cloud platforms, the application helps the user in managing a database system in an easy and hassle-free manner.

Features included in the AzureCosmos DB Pricing range:

The Azure Cosmos DB Pricing range provides the user companies with certain unique features including the horizontal scaling capacity, globally distributed database service across Azure regions, fully managed format, low latency, consistency model structure, and an API database capable of managing multiple queries at a large scale.

This implies that the product is well suited for organizations that require a system capable of handling critical workloads. The features can be enumerated in detail in the following manner:-

  • Globally distributed structure – The Cosmos DB can replicate organizational data on a global scale by adding Azure regions at a specific region rate.
  • Operational patternThe application is a part of the cloud services and works on a serverless operational pattern.
  • Multi-language support for several APIsThe Azure Cosmos DB acts as a hybrid platform and provides support to the data from several APIs like the Cassandra API, Gremlin API and others.
  • Multiple model structureThe Database of the application has a multiple model format which allows the development of model applications and the storage of data in several kinds of databases. These include graph-based, column family based databases and others.
  • High speed and low latency It is known for guaranteed 10-millisecond latency for 99% of reading and write consistency levels. This implies that the customers gain access to data at a higher speed and lower latency in comparison to other databases.
  • Analyzing with No-ETL analyticsThe application is also designed to enable the user company with the capacity of analyzing huge volumes of organizational data in a real-time format. This is done through the No-ETL pipelines and provides no impact on the performance of transactional storage and workloads.
Azure Cosmos DB Speed


  • Limitless scaling capabilitiesThe Azure Cosmos DB has the capacity of linear scaling for clusters which implies the ability to tackle increasing workloads through the addition of more servers to the cluster. This leads to data scaling without limit while performing more critical workloads.

What is Azure Cosmos DB Pricing Model:

The Azure Cosmos DB Pricing range consists of several features amongst which the capacity of developing applications at any scale through a fully managed NoSQL database service is essential. Apart from this, the application provides support to open source APIs, automatic and instant scalability, and cost-effective pricing models. The pricing structure of the product can be categorized based on certain pricing tiers. These can be enumerated in the following manner:-

  • Standard Provisioned Throughput tier
  • Autoscale Provisioned Throughput tier
  • Serverless Pricing model

The billing structure of the Azure Cosmos DB Pricing range also consists of certain additional billing heads that are included in the user organization’s bill only if the specific heads are enabled. These include the following:-

  • Database Operations
  • Consumed storage and
  • Dedicated Gateway

The pricing model for Standard Provisioned Throughput:

The Standard Provisioned Throughput tier can be categorized into the following parts:-

1. Standard (manual) Provisioned Throughput – This can be manually configured on the user organization’s container with autoscale enabled through the Azure Portal.

Standard Provisioned ThroughputTotal RU/s per hourPrice per 100 RU/s
Single-region write account100 RU/s x 1 region$0.008/hour
Single-region write account distributed across N regions (excluding availability zones*)100 RU/s x N regions$0.008/hour
Single-region write account, with regions using availability zones100 RU/s x 1.25 x N zones$0.008/hour
Multi-region write (formerly “multi-master”) account with N regions* (with or without availability zones)100 RU/s x N regions$0.016/hour

2. Reserved capacity for Standard Provisioned Throughput – This reserved provisioned throughput can be shared across all regions, APIs, accounts, and subscriptions under a certain enrollment after a one-time payment made by the user company.

                One Year Term               Three Year Term
 Single region writeMultiple regions writeSingle region writeMultiple regions write
Reserved Capacity request units per second (RU/s)Annual PriceAnnual PriceAnnual PriceAnnual Price
5,000$2,978 ~15% savings$5,606 ~20% savings$2,628 ~25% savings$4,906 ~30% savings
20,000$11,914 ~15% savings$22,426 ~20% savings$10,512 ~25% savings$19,623 ~30% savings
50,000$29,784 ~15% savings$56,064 ~20% savings$26,280 ~25% savings$49,056 ~30% savings
100,000$56,064 ~20% savings$105,120 ~25% savings$49,056 ~30% savings$91,104 ~35% savings
300,000$161,254 ~23% savings$301,484 ~28% savings$140,230 ~33% savings$259,436 ~38% savings
500,000$266,304 ~24% savings$497,568 ~29% savings$231,264 ~34% savings$427,488 ~39% savings
1,000,000$511,584 ~27% savings$953,088 ~32% savings$423,984 ~40% savings$777,888 ~44% savings

Autoscale Provisioned Throughput Pricing structure:

This Azure Cosmos DB Pricing tier eliminates the requirement for manually managing the capacity of the user organization’s critical workloads and helps in achieving cost benefits even when traffic patterns become unpredictable. A custom throughput limit has to be set by the user company for this tier to work. The billing format can be enumerated through the following table:-

Autoscale provisioned throughputTotal RU/s per hourPrice per 100 RU/s
Single-region write account100 RU/s x 1.5 x 1 region$0.008/hour
Single-region write an account with data distributed across multiple regions (with or without availability zones100 RU/s x 1.5 x N regions$0.008/hour
Multi-region write (formerly called multi-master) account distributed across multiple regions100 RU/s x N regions$0.016/hour

Pricing module of the Serverless tier:

The Serverless Pricing model allows the user to run critical workloads in the absence of much traffic. In addition to this, organizations using this pricing tier in the Azure Cosmos DB Pricing model can tackle sudden bursts of work demand without excess resources and prior management plans. This plan bills only the resources used for each database operation with no minimum additional costs. The pricing range can be described through the following table:-

ServerlessTotal Request Units (RU)Price per 1M RU
Serverless request units (RU)1,000,000$0.282
Serverless request units (RU) with the availability zone1,000,000 x 1.25$0.282

Pricing list of the various other billing heads under Azure Cosmos DB Pricing structure:

The Azure Cosmos DB pricing range consists of certain billing heads that are added to the user organization’s bill only when they are enabled. These include the following:-

  • Consumed Storage – The Azure Cosmos DB offers the user unlimited analytical and transactional storage which is billed as GBs of SSD-backed logical storage. This is the billing structure used by data and other indexes across the regions that are selected for geo-replication.
Consumed StorageTotal GBPrice
Transactional storage (row-oriented)1 GB$0.25/month
Analytical storage (column-oriented)1 GB$0.02/month
Transectional and Analytical
  • Backup Storage – The users can opt for either periodic or continuous backup.
Periodic backup storageTotal GBPrice per GB
Stored periodic backup data (2 copies)GBs per copyFree/month
Stored periodic backup data (>2 copies)GBs per copy$0.15/month
Continuous backup storageTotal GBPrice per GB
Continuous backup dataGBs x selected Azure regions$0.25/month
Point-in-time restoreGBS$0.19
  • Analytical Storage Transactions – The input or output transactions about analytical storage are billed according to the number of operations performed in this Azure Cosmos DB pricing model.
Write Operations – analytical storage10,000$0.05
Read Operations – analytical storage10,000$0.005
  • Dedicated Gateway – The Dedicated Gateway routes requests to the backend partitions in the user companies Azure Cosmos DB account.
NameCPUMemoryCost (per instance, varies by region)
Dedicated Gateway – General Purpose – D4416 GB$0.41 per hour
Dedicated Gateway – General Purpose – D8832 GB$0.82 per hour
Dedicated Gateway – General Purpose – D161664 GB$1.63 per hour

Understanding the bill generating process of Azure Cosmos DB:

The explanations related to the billing heads can be given as follows:-

  • Database Operations The cost of all database operations including the relational databases and document databases are expressed as Request Units or (RU). Azure Cosmos DB has two operational models for databases which include the following:
Request Units

Provisioned throughput – is measured in the form of request units per second and is billed in the per hour format. It is perfect for the critical workloads that need high availability of data with low latency.

Serverless bills – the user company for the request units used for performing each of the database operations in this Azure Cosmos DB pricing model.

Provisioned throughput and Serverless
  • Consumed Storage   This storage head is billed in the form of GBs that are consumed by SSD backed data and index across all the Azure regions within which the organizational data of the user company is distributed into. Under this structure, two backup copies are provided with additional copies that are billed according to a certain GBs per copy format. The periodic backup when enabled is billed according to the GPS stored across the Azure Regions and the continued backup is billed for even the GPS of data that are restored per instance.
  • Dedicated Gateway The dedicated gateway head is billed on an hourly basis for each set of dedicated compute resources which are based on a selected number of cores and memory. A dedicated throughput mode requests the activation of backend partitions in the Cosmos DB account of the user company.

Azure Consultation by EPC Group: Azure Cosmos DB perspective

The EPC Group is one of the leading consulting companies for Azure Cosmos DB in the market and is dedicated to helping their clients through the implementation and use of various software tools and applications. With more than two decades of experience in the Microsoft consultation industry, the company is now adept at designing customized training programs for companies that wish to begin their business journey with Microsoft’s cloud services and derive benefits from using tools and applications designed by it.

Apart from this, the company is a Gold certificate partner of Microsoft which implies that the EPC Group is the best choice for organizations looking forward to implementing and using Cosmos DB for managing a global database service.


Thus, in conclusion, it can be said that the Azure Cosmos DB with its unique features combined with the security of Microsoft, is a better choice for companies looking for a database management service

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Errin O'Connor
About the Author

Errin O'Connor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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