Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is the latest version of the Azure cloud platform. It was renamed in April 2014.
Although Microsoft Azure began as a Windows Server-based cloud platform, it has since grown to become a very flexible cloud platform that enables developers to use any language, framework, or tool to build, deploy and manage applications. According to Microsoft, Azure features and services are exposed using open REST protocols and the Azure client libraries, which are available for multiple programming languages, are released under an open source license and hosted on GitHub.
The newest version of the cloud platform includes a new portal that combines all cloud application components into a single place for customers, as well as integrated billing. Microsoft Azure includes a number of improvements to Visual Studio Online, including Team Projects for managing application lifecycles and a lightweight editor codenamed "Monaco" that allows developers to modify and commit code changes without leaving Microsoft Azure. Other improvements include an analytics option called Application Insights and a new management feature for automating deployment.