Cormac Keogh of Microsoft gave a great overview of Azure to the Cork MTUG User group last week and the slides are available here
I must confess I have not tried Azure yet however my initial feeling is that it does not provide much in comparison to hosted Dynamic CRM/XRM.
With Azure the charging structure is complex and confusing and there is no cap on how much you will be charged. So if you don’t configure your web and worker rolls correctly you could end up spending much more than expected.
Also I can’t see what “heavy lifting” Azure does compared to using XRM as a SaaS development platform. If you use Azure to build a SaaS application then you don’t see to get anything above and beyond ASP.NET and hosted SQL Server. Whilst the hosted SQL Server option has potential if you wanted take advantage of the built in Azure failover it falls short in that it does not include Reporting Services. You also need to build/integrate you own customer payment methods.
I still believe that XRM is a great development platform for on premise or hosted LOB applications.
The next MTUG event is an ASP.NET talk on Dynamic User Controls by Niall Merrigan who has promised me lots and lots of code. You can register here