Windows Azure is a service based operating environment (cloud computing program) by the software giant, Microsoft. It was introduced in 2008. It allows developers to build and host services on Microsoft's infrastructure. It offers a wide range of cloud services for computing, storage, networking, and analytics.
It is an open platform that lends support to Microsoft and non-Microsoft environments and languages. It lets users choose from the services offered to develop and scale new applications or run the existing ones in the public cloud.
Many users considered it both an IaaS and PaaS offering. Some organizations use Windows Azure for disaster recovery and data backup, while some use it as an alternative resource apart from their own data center. In this, instead of putting money into buying or renting local servers and storage, they run some or, at times, all business applications through Azure.
It was rebranded as Microsoft Azure in 2014. For ensure availability and ease, Microsoft has Windows Azure data centers all over the globe, in 22 regions.
Just like other public cloud providers, Azure follows a pay-as-you-go model, where the user pays for what they use.