Microsoft Azure grows up
Microsoft's Azure cloud started slow. It was announced in October 2008 and launched in 2009, but its appeal was limited by focus on cloud services rather than familiar Windows infrastructure, combined with awkward management tools. In 2012 Azure improved, adding a true IaaS solution based on persistent virtual machines and a user-friendly Web management portal. Then in April 2013, IaaS features including the new VM and virtual network features moved from preview to general availability.
Azure is now growing fast, and since the TechEd conference in April 2014 has added numerous new features intended to let Microsoft shops easily migrate all or part of their server infrastructure and applications to Microsoft's cloud.