Most customers stated that SQL Azure delivers a reliable cloud database platform to support various small to moderately sized applications as well as other data management requirements such as backup, disaster recovery, testing, and collaboration. Unlike other DBMS vendors such as IBM, Oracle, and Sybase that offer public cloud database largely using the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) platform, Microsoft SQL Azure is unique because of its multitenant architecture, which allows it to offer greater economies of scale and increased ease of use. […] Application developers and database administrators seeking a cloud database will find that SQL Azure offers a reliable and cost-effective platform to build and deploy small to moderately sized applications.
There are a couple of inconsistencies in the document, but the SQL Azure case studies section is worth reading.
Back to the fun part. In the pros section:
High availability at no extra effort or cost. […] In addition, SQL Azure automatically offers built-in server and storage redundancy, a data replication solution for built-in high availability, and transparent application failover to ensure minimal disruption.
The cons section:
Zero downtime availability. Although SQL Azure supports failover architecture should a database server fail, there is some downtime, ranging from a few seconds to minutes, associated with switching the application over to another server.
Back to pros:
Scale-out capacity growth via a sharded data platform. SQL Azure offers the ability to shard data into hundreds or even thousands of logical databases, which developers can use collectively for a given application.
and in the cons:
Automatic sharding of data for extreme scalability. SQL Azure does not automatically shard data into various partitions to scale across physical servers.
Just focus only on the three case studies included in the paper (PDF).
Original title and link: Forrester report: SQL Azure Raises the Bar on Cloud Databases (NoSQL databases © myNoSQL)