Coughs and sneezes spread releases: Microsoft's Cosmos DB is getting a freebie tier but you're not meant to know yet

Someone must have bumped the go button in rush to work from home

As a "work from home if you can and for God's sake stop touching each other" policy arrived in Redmond, it appears one worker managed to trigger a premature emission of good news on the way out.

The "technical glitch" trumpeted the arrival of a free tier "to develop and test your applications, run small workloads in production for free, or simply apply a discount to your Azure Cosmos DB account". It was rapidly followed by an oopsie tweet from the Cosmos DB gang – the world wasn't supposed to have been told until 6 March.

Unlike the current freebie option for Cosmos DB, this will, according to the team, be "free forever".

Cosmos DB is a globally distributed multi-model database service, featuring a glorious five nines of availability and single-digit millisecond read and write latencies anywhere in the world. It arrived in 2017 as an evolution of the Azure DocumentDB NoSQL service and has gained the likes of multi-master functionality as well as enjoying the odd price drop.

Despite this, it remains easy to run up some big bills. While some within Microsoft have historically been a little sensitive to suggestions that the tech is expensive, the fact that it is charged by provisioned throughput and consumed storage by the hour (Request Units per second and GB used, respectively) means chunky invoices await the unwary.

It has long been possible to create a database for free (using either Cosmos DB's native SQL API or something that will be more familiar to MongoDB, Gremlin or Cassandra fans), but only with 30 days of access. A free tier, similar to that introduced for Teams, is a useful lure to encourage more developers to tinker with the tech.

There are no further details at this stage (notably at what point that free tier tips into wallet-emptying territory) but in the meantime, pity the poor person currently paying the price for premature blurtage. ®

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