SQL Azure got a couple of new exciting features in the last upgrade a few weeks ago. Specifically I am talking about import/export abilities. For a while now it has been a bit painful to create a backup on SQL Azure database and store it either on premises or in the cloud. Azure migration wizard is helpful, but a bit slow. Luckily, we do not have to fight with this any more.
Once you have your database setup in SQL Azure, you can always back it to Azure Blob Storage. Just highlight your database in management portal and hit Export button.
On the next screen you can specify your blob account information, database login and export (backup) name.
That is it, you are done exporting the DB with data into the cloud. Now, say you want to run locally against the same database. Well, if could not be any easier with SQL Server 2012. Open the SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio), right click on database node, and choose Import Data-tier Application menu. Just walk through the wizard, where one of the options is to import directly from Azure Blob Storage! Provide your credentials and pick a blob name from the dropdown.
On the next screen specify database name and files locations and click Finish. That is it. Once that completes, you have your database locally. Not only that, but you can totally reverse the process and export locally straight into Azure blob storage, them import into SQL Azure!
Awesome feature set! I felt I just had to share this sentiment.