My coworker, Patrick Butler Monterde, has posted a really good overview of the Windows Azure billing components in use today, that may be of interest to those of you using Windows Azure today, or in the future.
These posts should help customers understand how to strategize the best utilization/pricing model to meet their needs.
Additionally, customers should be able to see the platform service status online at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/support/status/servicedashboard.aspx
Microsoft also offers no-fee support for issues such as outages, service disruptions, and Watson ID errors. You can avail of this support by creating a service request at https://support.microsoft.com/oas/default.aspx?prid=13185&st=1