Windows Azure provides a variety of interoperability surfaces that developers can use to move data in and out of Azure Storage, SQL Azure, Windows Azure Marketplace, or Azure Active Directory. These interoperability surfaces are enabled through a combination of standards support and documented APIs and protocols.
Here are examples of Windows Azure interoperability surfaces that enable data portability:
Windows Azure Storage Services provide persistent, redundant storage in the cloud, including blob storage, table storage, and queue storage. The Windows Azure Storage Services REST API provides developers with an interoperability surface for access to these services from any operating system, programming language, or framework that supports RESTful web services.
Windows Azure SQL Database is a relational database service that makes it easy to provision and deploy relational database solutions that take advantage of Windows Azure’s manageability, high availability, and scalability. Windows Azure SQL Database provides the same TDS (tabular data stream) interface as SQL Server, enabling the use of familiar tools, libraries, and frameworks. Developers and administrators can also import or export databases to migrate data to or from Windows Azure SQL Database via a logical backup (BACPAC) file as described here.
Windows Azure Marketplace is an information and application marketplace that simplifies publishing and consuming data of all types, enabling developers and information workers to easily discover, purchase, and manage data subscriptions. The Windows Azure Marketplace publishes your data as an OData feed so the ISV can concentrate on using your data rather than coding to a different data format for each dataset.
Windows Azure Data Management Services provide persistent, redundant storage in the cloud. These services include massively scalable Tables, SQL Database for relational storage, and Blob storage for unstructured data. These services are accessible via REST APIs that can be used from any programming language, and they can be accessed from within a service running in Windows Azure or directly over the Internet from any application that can send and receive HTTP or HTTPS requests and responses. This provides data portability and allows users to easily move data in and out of Windows Azure storage.