We've sent out the first couple batches of invite codes this week for SQL Azure (apologies if you haven't yet received yours).  It's important to keep in mind that in general services tend to do this kind of thing for good reason.  So, what are the reasons? There are many but these are the two that I look at the most:

1) Traffic patterns - How are the newly on-boarded people using the service.  Are they using it in the manner that we thought they would or are they doing things we totally didn't expect.  Is there some constraint that we hadn't previously observed in our own in-house load/stress testing?  Thus far, this hasn't been the case for us :-)

2) Load - The second thing we're trying to understand how many people that we send invite codes to are actually using the service (thereby increasing the load on the system).  People consume resources in the system which, ultimately, there is a finite amount of.  Therefore, this needs to be monitored carefully. 

So far, we're looking good in these departments but my bet, if folks are like me, that we will see an increase in both of these things this weekend as people get more play time with the service.

Now, for those of you presently using the service.  The team would love to hear any feedback that you have on the primary service as well as the Portal experiences.  If you like you can comment here or better yet on the forums.  All feedback is appreciated and important for us as we figure out where we need to improve things in the service.  So, if you have 1 big grip (or several) please do drop a message.  It will be looked at.

Finally, for those of you who haven't yet received a code.  Please hang in there.  We are picking up the pace that we're sending these things out.  I know it's tough to wait (trust me) but we're getting out as fast as we can.

--Jeff--