OK, MS had the service down today as they were moving everything over to production servers in preparation for the PDC in November. After the 3-4 hour move I got my email letting me know that the service was back up. Here is my limited experience so far.
You have to set up the firewall on the Azure side to allow access from your local IP address for remote connection. This was easily done from the SQL Azure front end. If you are working from a dynamic address like I am at the office I suggest using something like DynDNS so that your connection isn’t broken the next time your IP lease runs out.
Connection from FSQL to SQL Azure was a breeze! I have my testing project set up with redundant SQL servers both local and in the cloud. It was easier than setting up the local server which was shocking to me!
Performance seems great with my limited testing. Granted I’m part of a small group of new lightly loaded remote servers, but right now I can’t tell the difference from the local or remote server speed.
There are obvious questions that will need to be answered like:
1)What are the limitations on database size? - Right now you have two choices 1GB and 10GB per database. I’m not sure what the limit on db/server account will be. I have one server and four test dbs right now…When this goes public durring the PDC they will probably explain the size/ cost structure.
2)How will data archiving be handled in the cloud? - This one I haven’t the foggiest idea, but I’m sure it will come up.
Obviously I have allot of testing to do here, and need to verify some other configurations, but I am cautiously optimistic about the possibilities this might bring.