I did some Googling and couldn't find an answer to this question more recent than a few years ago, so I thought I'd ask. Oracle's RAC feature offers load-balancing for both read and write transactions, as well as scale-out and high-availability without downtime (at least, as I understand it - we're about to deploy our first databases that use RAC, so we'll see how it goes).
Is there any SQL Server feature set (or third party component you could install on top) that delivers equivalent functionality? We've always used Windows clustering, where a failover event causes about 20-30 seconds of SQL downtime - always tolerable, but not ideal. Now, with AlwaysOn in SQL 2012, SQL Server shrinks that to about 15 seconds and adds the concept of read-only-secondary databases, but they still require that write transactions are choked through a single connection point (much improved, since many transactions are just read, but still not really load balancing), and in the case of a node failure or the need to patch, there's still downtime.
I suppose it's just more curiosity - I feel like this is the only area that SQL Server falls behind Oracle (at least among the features I've personally seen used). I wanted to see if there are any options out there to close that gap and possibly improve our own SQL Server deployment while we wait for Microsoft's equivalent feature to be added - maybe in SQL 2014/2015?