This paper provides guidance about the benefits of Windows Azure Virtual Machines and explains how to deploy SharePoint Server 2010 on Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Windows Azure Virtual Machines mitigate the need for hardware, so organizations can turn attention from handling high upfront cost and complexity to building and managing infrastructure at scale. This means that they can innovate, experiment, and iterate in hours—as opposed to days and weeks with traditional deployments. The paper demonstrates deployments for several scenarios.
You can download the whitepaper from the following location:
The whitepaper was truly mind-popping to read. I remember the days when every deployment was a nightmare of servers and installs. This makes it as easy as checkout on Amazon!
By the way, I checked, and MS still offers a free trial on Azure.