I found that the Azure tools and documentation were quite nice but far from perfect. Microsoft brings a polish that's rare in the world of experiment where Node.js began. It clearly wants to capture Node users with the Azure cloud. Still, I found strange glitches that I couldn't get around. The local emulator would keep popping up alert windows at times, and they made it hard to debug.
Microsoft's investment in Azure is already substantial, and the decision to include Node shows that the tool is drawing plenty of interest in the corporate world. I think the technology holds a great deal of promise in the world of shared virtual servers because it's designed to minimize how much RAM is consumed, a premium in this realm. It would be fascinating to see a thorough study on whether Node is dramatically cheaper for Azure owners based on the consumption of resources.
In theory, you should be able to do more with Azure's smaller servers when running Node.js. The test versions start off using "extra small" instances, which are only 4 cents per minute. The longer you can hold off consuming larger machines, the cheaper your jobs become.
Node.js tools: NodejitsuThe cloud services from Nodejitsu aren't available for users yet because they're still in private beta. However, Nodejitsu is already releasing its tools under a generous open source license, so it's possible to poke around and see what the company is building.
The major tools simplify the process of creating and deploying Node applications to the cloud. The core piece is Jitsu, a command-line tool for juggling Node applications that's similar to Microsoft's Azure tools. You type one command and a new application is created. Type another command and the application starts up for testing. Type yet another and the application will be pushed to the Nodejitsu cloud (coming soon).
If you want to build your own cloud, you can use Haibu, a local application server that allows Node applications to capture as much of the CPU as they might need. Haibu will wrap your application with a layer of code called a "carapace" and turn them into "drones" -- Nodejitsu's term for the copies floating around the cloud.
Nodejitsu is pushing the Node community forward with these tools, and the open source license makes them attractive for companies that want to experiment without being locked into the Nodejitsu cloud.