Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is a new flavor of Azure SQL Database that is a game changer. It offers near-complete SQL Server compatibility and network isolation to easily lift and shift databases to Azure (you can literally backup an on-premise database and restore it into an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance). Think of it as an enhancement to Azure SQL Database that is built on the same PaaS infrastructure and maintains all it’s features (i.e. active geo-replication, high availability, automatic backups, database advisor, threat detection, intelligent insights, vulnerability assessment, etc) but adds support for databases up to 35TB, VNET, SQL Agent, cross-database querying, replication, etc. So, you can migrate your databases from on-prem to Azure with very little migration effort which is a big improvement from the current Singleton or Elastic Pool flavors which can require substantial changes.
Azure SQL Database Managed Instance is in private preview, and will be in public preview this calendar year and it will be generally available next calendar year.
There was also a presentation at Ignite called “What’s new with Azure SQL Database: Focus on your business, not on the database (BRK2230)” on the new features in SQL Database (Adaptive Query Processing, SQL Graph, Automatic Tuning, Intelligent Insights, Vulnerability Assessment, Service Endpoint) as well details on Azure Data Sync and an introduction to Managed Instances.