Azure Standard SSD was released in preview today to give Azure customers cheaper access to solid-state drives for their virtual machines.

The new Azure Standard SSD, which sits between its Standard HDD and Premium SSD products in terms of performance and pricing, is for those who need durable storage for Azure virtual machines.

The disks, Azure says, are designed for workloads that require consistent performance, but at comparatively low IOPS (input/output per second) levels. This offering is therefore now the third type of persistent disk offered by Azure for use with its VMs.

In a blog post, Azure Storage program manager, Sirius Kuttiyan, argued that all IaaS workloads should use SSD-based disks for the ‘better performance, better reliability, and overall smoother operations’ that they provide.

However, Kuttiyan acknowledged that many still use HDDs for this purpose due to their lower price. Azure has there decided to offer access to SSDs at a more competitive price. Effectively, it hopes the new product will be the best of both worlds.

Azure Standard SSD pricing

The Premium SSD, Azure’s big dog offering, is designed for intensive enterprise workloads and gives ‘consistent performance, low latency and high availability.’ It’s designed for workloads like SQL Server, Oracle, MongoDB, SAP Business Suite and others, and can work to a maximum of 7500 IOPS and maximum throughput of 250MBPS.

It also has a price tag to match. For the quoted performance of 7500 IOPS and 250MBPS, a customer would need to pay £369.35 a month. In comparison, the highest performing Azure Standard SSD, which would provide 500 IOPS and throughput of 60MBPS, would set you back just over £100 a month.

The new product, which falls under the umbrella of Azure’s managed disks, is designed to work with any of Azure’s virtual machines. With the move, Azure is hoping to transition many workloads, and therefore customers, across to using SSDs.

Still in preview stage, Azure Standard SSDs are available in the North Europe region only, but Azure bods say that they will be ready for use in the U.S. and various parts of Asia by mid-June.