What is our primary use case?
I am a consultant and some of my clients use this solution for their database.
SQL Azure is a platform, as opposed to a product. You do not select a specific version. It has very little administrative ability, such as the ability to back it up, but it offers much more comfort for the user.
What is most valuable?
This solution has all of the advantages that are available in a normal SQL server, except it is presented in an online environment that can be used from everywhere. It provides fast access to data because the SQL server can calculate where the data is. It is a complexity of order one. So, it does not depend on the size of the table. This is why SQL servers are the favorite data source for any website.
This solution provides more comfort to the end-user compared to a normal SQL server.
What needs improvement?
This solution suffers from the same problems that come about in a normal SQL server. One issue is the optimization of function-heavy evaluations. If you define your own functions, the execution plan of the SQL server performs sub-passes of the execution path, which makes the process very slow. Even if there are very easy means to optimize them, it is still slow. The server should perform automatic function optimization. This is a problem in any implementation, Azure or otherwise.
The management is entirely controlled by Microsoft, so there are some restrictions.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is as stable as any SQL server. I agree with others who say that SQL is more stable than the Microsoft operating systems.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This is a scalable solution.
How are customer service and technical support?
If you have a support contract then it is excellent. They will work at the problem until it has been resolved. The support is very professional.
If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?
Our customer in Luxembourg is using an Oracle server, rather than SQL Azure because it was a specification of the project. I am not the one who decides which database technology will be used by my clients.
What other advice do I have?
This is the best product that Microsoft has. It is the same product as a normal SQL server but built on Azure. The management is different, depending on the hoster of the cloud.
I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.