Azure Synapse Analytics is Microsoft’s limitless data analytics service. In terms of pricing, there is a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) model which is extremely flexible, you pay only for the consumed services however prices can be higher than pre-purchasing. The ability to pre-purchase Dedicated SQL Pools DWUs has existed for several years, however this model is based on use it or lose it in which if you do not use your pre-purchased DWU allocation for any given hour, you lose the benefits.

Microsoft has now announced Azure Synapse Analytics Pre-Purchase Plans which allows pre-purchasing Azure Synapse Commit Units (SCU) which can be used with the following services:

  • Azure Synapse Analytics Dedicated SQL Pool
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Managed VNET
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Pipelines
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Serverless SQL Pool
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Serverless Apache Spark Pool – Memory Optimized
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Data Flow – Basic
  • Azure Synapse Analytics Data Flow – Standard

The important factor here is that SCUs do not expire on an hourly basis, they can be used at any time during the term. Currently the term offered is one year.

Please note that there is no current information available about the Azure Synapse Commit Units and how they relate to Dedicated SQL Pools DWUs, Serverless SQL Pools data processing, or pipelines. This information should be available in due course.

UPDATE: A member of the Synapse Analytics product team has updated information around Synapse Commit Units and how these relate to costs. SCUs relate to the currency units rather than the individual services. For example in GBP, purchasing 5000 SCUs is equivalent to purchasing £5000 to spend on Synapse Services.

Azure Reservations

Within the Azure Reservations area are the services eligible for pre-purchasing, currently Azure Synapse Analytics has 2 offerings. These offerings are the original Azure Synapse Analytics (data warehousing only) which allows pre-purchasing DWUs for Dedicated SQL Pools on an hourly basis and the new Azure Synapse Analytics Pre-Purchase Plan.

By selecting the new Azure Synapse Analytics Pre-Purchase Plan we can see the available pre-purchase offers. There are currently 6 tiers of pre-purchasing available for Azure Synapse Analytics over a one year term. Each tier offers a certain cost and estimated savings percentage, this is shown in the Cost and Estimated Savings section below. Please note that the Total Cost column is in pounds sterling, the cost may differ in other currencies.

Cost and Estimated Savings

The table below is a calculation taken when selecting each SCU tier. The Estimated Saving percentage increases with each tier of SCUs with the lowest discount at 5,000 and the greatest discount at 360,000 SCUs.

Discount TierTermTotal CostCost Per SCUEstimated Savings
5,000 SCUsOne Year£3,5030.700629%
10,000 SCUs One Year £6,8570.685731%
24,000 SCUs One Year £15,9200.663333%
60,000 SCUs One Year £37,5640.626037%
150,000 SCUs One Year £87,2010.581341%
360,000 SCUs One Year £193,1840.536646%

References