Flexible Server for Azure Database for PostgreSQL Now Commercially Available

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the "general availability" (GA) commercial release of the Flexible Server deployment option for the Azure Database for PostgreSQL service.

Flexible Server is currently available in "more than 30 regions worldwide," per the announcement. Some capabilities, such as zone-redundant high availability and georedundant backup, may be lagging, though, per this Microsoft "Overview" document.

With the GA release, Azure Database for PostgreSQL now has three deployment options: Single Server, Hyperscale (Citus) and the new Flexible Server.

Flexible Future
Microsoft wants its new customers to start with Flexible Server, which represents the future for the product, according to Sunil Agarwal, lead product manager for PostgreSQL in Azure at Microsoft, in this Microsoft video discussion. Existing users of the Single Server deployment option should consider migrating to Flexible Server, he added. Microsoft is working on making the migration easy via a new tool, he suggested.

Differences between the Single Server option and the Flexible Server option are shown in this Microsoft comparison chart.

The idea behind the Flexible Server option is to make deployment easy for the developers that are leveraging Azure Database for PostgreSQL when building applications. Flexible Server was added in response to customer experiences with Single Server, which Microsoft released more than two years ago. Flexible Server is based on Linux, unlike Single Server, which is Windows-based. Agarwal suggested that since PostgreSQL is also Linux-based, there are fewer moving parts to manage when using the Flexible Server option.

Flexible Highlights
One of the highlights of the Flexible Server deployment option is that developers gain access to "same zone or zone-redundant high availability" leveraging Azure Availability Zones. Azure Availability Zones, introduced more than three years ago, are football-field-size datacenters within Azure regions that have independent power, cooling and network resources. Compute and storage are separated with Flexible Server. There's an automated procedure to restore service during a failure via the zone-redundant high-availability feature.

Flexible Server offers encryption of data at rest and in transit. Moreover, Microsoft is promising "automated patching of the underlying hardware, OS, and database engine" with the Flexible Server option, plus automatic backups. The backups have a seven-day default setting, but can be optionally pushed out to "up to 35 days."

New PostgreSQL versions also are automatically managed. Microsoft's target for installing a new version of PostgreSQL is three months after a community release, according to Agarwal.

The compute aspect of Flexible Server is available as "Burstable" (a low-cost option), "General Purpose" and "Memory Optimized." Microsoft's document explained that "the General Purpose and Memory Optimized [options] are better suited for production workloads requiring high concurrency, scale, and predictable performance."

Microsoft is promising potentially lower costs to using the Flexible Server option because organizations can set stop and start times for the Azure Database for PostgreSQL service. It could be set for an organization's business hours, for instance, Agarwal suggested. Stopping the service stops its compute costs, and so the customer just pays for storage, he explained.

Flexible Server with the Burstable option costs $28 per month, according to Agarwal. Switching the service from Burstable to General Purpose or Memory Optimize, though, is a simple product upgrade with no downtime, he added.  

Microsoft also offers a free trial, which is good for 12 months.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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