The new Import/Export Service for SQL Azure CTP is now live in all datacenters as a public CTP. The service will directly import or export between a SQL Azure database and a customer Windows Azure BLOB storage account. The service complements the client side tools (available here) as both the service and tools use the BACPAC file format.

 

The import/export service provides some public REST endpoints for the submission of requests.  You can use the handy EXE we have provided as a reference implementation here:

http://sqldacexamples.codeplex.com/releases/view/72388

 

Some scenarios the service enables:

                Archival direct to BLOB storage

The BACPAC file format provides a logical, open, and trustable format which allows customers to access their data outside of a SQL engine


                Migration (at scale)

The client side DAC Framework allows customers to export a BACPAC from their on-premise database, once exported, customers can transfer the BACPAC to their BLOB storage account and use the service to import their database to SQL Azure.  The upcoming transport service can also be used to move large (or large numbers of) BACPACs to and from BLOB storage as the service is ready to work with this pipeline as soon as it’s available.


Backup to BLOB storage in a supported format

While the export itself is not transactionally consistent at this time, customers can create a database copy which is consistent and then export from the copy in order to be able to store their database offline in a compressed format for pennies on the GB.  See below for a partner implementation of just such a workflow.

                Disaster recovery

Many customers asked for the ability to export to a storage account in a different datacenter in order to have redundant offline copies of their database

 

Also:

RedGate has also released an updated SQL Azure Backup BETA which leverages the service to automate transactionally consistent backups.  You can get the new tool for free (for a limited time) here:

http://www.red-gate.com/products/dba/sql-azure-backup/

 

 

Previously:

-       SQL Azure Migration Wizard (SQLAzureMW) was a very popular tool in past for the same. Visit http://sqlazuremw.codeplex.com/