Windows® Azure is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Web applications on the Internet through Microsoft® data centers.
To build these applications and services, developers can use their existing Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2008 expertise. In addition, Windows Azure supports popular standards and protocols including SOAP, REST, and XML. Windows Azure is an open platform that will support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft languages and environments.
其实 Azure 就是微软云计算的所有的基础，从 Live 服务，到数据服务，到提供 SharePoint 和 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 的空间服务。
- Ability to run Microsoft ASP.NET Web applications or .NET code in the cloud
- Service hosting environment that includes Internet Information Services 7.0 and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
- Security supported by flexible Code Access Security policies
- Small runtime API that supports logging and local scratch storage
- Web portal that helps you deploy, scale, and upgrade your services quickly and easily
Simple data storage services
- Blobs, tables, and queues hosted in the cloud, close to your computation
- Authenticated access and triple replication to help keep your data safe
- Easy access to data with simple REST interfaces, available remotely and from the data center
- Complete offline development environment, including computation and storage services
- Complete command-line SDK tools and samples
- Visual Studio add-in that enables local debugging
微软希望通过这一平台扩展他们的桌面和服务产品线，微软表示：Windows Azure 支持的标准和协议 SOAP，REST 和 XML，Windows Azure 也欢迎第三方工具和语言如 Eclipse, Ruby, PHP 和 Python 等。另外微软也支持 OpenID，这一举措 4 亿多的 Live ID可以作为 OpenID，微软也朝着开放的路线前进。