Enter Azure SQL Database
"Azure SQL Database is a relational database-as-a-service using the Microsoft SQL Server Engine. SQL Database is a high-performance, reliable, and secure database you can use to build data-driven applications and websites in the programming language of your choice, without needing to manage infrastructure." - Azure SQL Documentation
Azure SQL DB supports connections via Node.js and has a mature (but actively developed) driver through Tedious.
Side note: Azure SQL DB has built-in functionality for ingesting and returning JSON data; meaning it is unnecessary to write client or server-side code to reformat results from tables to JSON. A win for Azure SQL DB. : )
The architecture behind Azure SQL DB is fascinating but extends beyond the scope of this article. If you're interested though, I'd recommend beginning with "What is the Azure SQL database service?".
I've been spoiled by the simplicity of setting up and using other types of databases like MongoDB and Firebase, so I came into my testing of Azure SQL Database with pretty high expectations. I expect to be able to just "switch on" a product, and by all means – Azure SQL DB does not disappoint. My experience with Azure SQL DB so far has shown that nearly all of the setup and database administration is abstracted away and simply not a concern. Setting up Azure SQL DB via the Azure Portal takes only minutes, but there are a couple other methods available to deploy it programmatically – such as via Azure CLI or PowerShell. And of course – we can't turn down the opportunity to do something programmatically.
Another side note: Check out "Build an app using SQL Server" to get a walkthrough of setting up SQL Server 2016 Developer on your local machine. The process is incredibly simple.
Next up: Setting up Azure SQL Database...