What is Azure? In short, it's Microsoft's cloud platform: a growing collection of integrated services - compute, storage, data, networking and app - that help you move faster, do more and save money. But that's just scratching the surface. Here's what else Azure is...
It's IaaS + PaaS
Azure is the only major cloud platform ranked by Gartner as an industry leader for both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This powerful combination of managed and unmanaged services lets you build, deploy and manage applications any way you like for unmatched productivity.
Some cloud providers make you choose between your data centre and the public cloud. Not Azure. Its enterprise-proven hybrid cloud solutions give you the best of both worlds, expanding your IT options without added complexity. With Azure, data storage, backup and recovery become more efficient and economical. It's also easier to build applications that span both on-premises and the cloud.
It's open and flexible
Azure supports any operating system, language, tool and framework - from Windows to Linux, SQL Server to Oracle, C# to Java. It puts the best of Windows and Linux ecosystems at your fingertips, so you can build great applications and services that work with every device.
It's always up, always on
You'll share the same enterprise-tested platform that powers Skype, Office 365, Bing and Xbox. Azure offers a 99.95% availability SLA, 24/7 tech support and round-the-clock service health monitoring. That's why more than 57% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure today. From live-streaming Olympic events to online multiplayer online games, our customers are doing some amazing things.
It's economical and scalable
Azure can quickly scale up or down to match demand, so you only pay for what you use. Per-minute billing and a commitment to match competitor prices for popular infrastructure services such as compute, storage and bandwidth mean you're always getting unbeatable price for performance.
Azure runs on a growing global network of Microsoft-managed data centres across 19 regions, giving you a wide range of options for running applications and ensuring that your customers always get great performance. Azure is the first multinational cloud provider in mainland China and is continuing to expand to new regions around the globe.
Provision Windows and Linux Virtual Machines and applications in minutes. Use the same virtual machines and management tools in Azure that you use on-premises.
Build and deploy a wide variety of modern applications for Android, iOS and Windows that take full advantage of the cloud - including web, mobile, media and line-of-business solutions. Automatically scale up and down to meet any need.
Azure provides managed SQL and NoSQL data services and built-in support for gaining insights from your data. Leverage the full power of SQL Server in the cloud and use HDInsight to build Hadoop clusters to analyse data.
Manage user accounts, synchronise with existing on-premises directories and get single sign-on across Azure, Office 365 and hundreds of popular software-as-a-service applications including Salesforce, DocuSign, Google Apps, Box, Dropbox and more.