Since the 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer and the executive team in Redmond have been touting the move to the cloud. I think by now we get it because we've all been bombarded with the concept. But I didn't always see the relevance of Microsoft Azure in the SMB space.
What is Azure? I still probably don't have the best handle on it myself, but the easiest comparison for the non-IT engineer is that Azure and SQL Azure are the guts of a server residing in the "cloud." All the computational and storage transactions go into this fabric over the Internet rather than residing on-site.
Now that I've hopelessly confused you (and myself!), how does this even matter to the SMB space? For those who are calculating inordinate amounts of data or storing hundreds of terabytes, leveraging some of that in a shared platform that allows you to pay as you go might make some sense. As we have seen the last in the Northeast of the storm clouds wrought by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, the data cloud is much more desirable to talk about!