Starting today Microsoft released improvements to Windows Azure that permit additional changes to the service model without the need to delete and redeploy. You can now perform in-place updates for:
- changing of the VM size (increase or decrease the VM size)
- increase local storage
- add or remove roles
- change endpoints
Be sure to check out the full announcement at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2011/10/19/announcing-improved-in-place-updates.aspx. There you will find a summary table of all the new features, as well as guidance on when you may want to use an in-place update vs. VIP swap vs. redeploying the service.