Public Website and Extranet Azure Architecture

​We've had a number of clients recently inquire about hosting their SharePoint in the cloud, but not in Office 365.  There are a number of scenarios where this makes sense.  It could be that you are looking to host your public web site, which Office 365 no longer supports.  Or you could be looking at hosting an Extranet, and the external sharing or licensing of your external users individually doesn't make sense (look for another post from me on that topic).  Regardless of the reason, one of the first questions we get is what are the costs.  Of course that depends, hence the white paper and calculator I've created.

Essentially it comes down to three main options.  The first two deal with high availability, and the third provides a lower cost option that is not highly available.  Of course there are lots of sub-scenarios.  SQL Server is the biggest factor.  How available does the site need to be, and how transactional is it?  If it is simply that your public site needs to stay up, but content authoring is interrupted if there is a single server failure, that is one thing.  If it is highly transactional (think an Extranet where people post content up as well), then does it need to be resilient through that as well.

I encourage you to download the full article at Public Website and Extranet Azure Architecture and have a read through.  It does get fairly technical in terms of how you configure SQL, which is the single biggest factor in SharePoint performance (since pretty much everything in SharePoint is stored in SQL). 

I've also created an Excel calculator at Public Website and Extranet Azure Pricing Calculator you can download that lets you play with your own pricing scenarios.  Go ahead and plug in your own prices for Azure, SharePoint, and SQL licensing, and all the scenarios will update.  You can adjust as required.

Here's the Coles Notes version, for those of you who remember what that is:

Farm Size SQL Version SQL Licensing  Monthly Azure  Up-Front Licensing
Highly Available
8 Servers
SQL Enterprise
Always On
Azure$ 4,342 $ 36,624
Purchased$ 3,165 $ 73,632
SQL Standard
Log Shipping
Azure$ 3,479 $ 36,624
Purchased$ 3,165 $ 46,294
Highly Available
6 Servers
SQL Standard
Log Shipping
Azure$ 2,481 $ 18,312
Purchased$ 2,167 $ 27,982
Non-Highly Available
4 Servers
SQL StandardAzure$ 1,912 $ 18,312
Purchased$ 1,598 $ 27,982


The two main questions are:

  • How available does it need to be?
  • Are you licensing SQL through Azure, or do purchasing your own licenses

Bear in mind that the above prices are full list Canadian prices.  Depending on your organization and discount level with Microsoft, your prices could be very different.

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