Azure is a public cloud service provided by Microsoft that allows users to use hardware, networks, storage (e.g. disks), server operating system (e.g. Windows Server and Linux), middleware (e.g. web servers and RDBMS), groupware and server applications, and application runtime environments (.Net Framework, etc.) on demand through network.

Azure enables a user to easily create, deploy and manage server applications over the Internet in Microsoft-managed data centers around the world. It allows you to use computing resources such as memory and disks when you need them without having to own servers or infrastructure. The pricing is different by resource and is based on an hourly pay-as-you-go system. The web browser-based management portal allows users to operate intuitively.

Azure offers services in four forms:

  • Virtual Machines (VMs)
  • Websites
  • Mobile Services
  • Cloud Services