What is Microsoft SQL Server Data Services?
SQL Server Data Service (SSDS) is a highly scalable and cost-effective on-demand data storage and query processing web service. It is built on robust SQL Server technologies and helps guarantees a business-ready service level agreement covering high availability, performance and security features. Microsoft SSDS is accessible using standards based protocols (SOAP, REST) for quick provisioning of on-demand data-driven & mashup applications.
How does Microsoft SQL Server Data Services differ from traditional on premise relational SQL Server Database?
SQL Server Data Services is a storage and query processing utility providing mega scale, high availability, reliability, and geo-distributed data services in the Cloud. Customers use the service on-demand, with no up-front cost. It eliminates the initial investment in hardware and software and the on-going cost for storage administration, scale maintenance. Developers and Service providers can quickly run their on-demand applications with minimal infrastructure cost.
What can I do with SQL Server Data Services?
Customers can use SQL Server Data Services to store virtually any amount of data in the Cloud. They can query and modify data as required by the specific business scenarios. SQL Server Data Services support standards-based REST and SOAP interfaces designed to work with any Internet-development toolkit. The primary wire format is XML. Developers and service providers can quickly run on-demand applications with ease. The data has flexible schema which can be modified dynamically by the application. The data is provided with high availability and reliability virtually anywhere, anytime.
Rest of the FAQs here: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/dataservices/faq.mspx
Main SQL Server Data Services site here: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/dataservices/default.mspx