One of the topics that I'm covering in one of my sessions this year at TechEd Australia is around SQL Database and SQL Server in Azure VMs for DBAs. In that session, I'm planning to spend a while on hybrid on-premises / cloud scenarios.
Availability groups were introduced in SQL Server 2012 and while it's unlikely that you'd use a synchronous replica in an Azure VM (unless the primary was also in an Azure VM), hosting an asynchronous replica in an Azure VM makes a lot of sense for disaster recovery scenarios where latency isn't an issue.
Availability group listeners provide a method for client applications to be transparently redirected during failover occurrences. The challenge with hosting an availability group replica in an Azure VM has been that an availability group listener required an additional IP address which was not available. So, previously, you could only configure SQL Server in an Azure VM as a database mirroring type of replica.
Amongst a raft of other great enhancements in the announcement from Scott Guthrie today is really welcome news that the missing link for this scenario has now been provided. Availability group listeners are fully supported when using SQL Server hosted in an Azure VM. This is great news.