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Microsoft Azure: Everything you need to know about Redmond's cloud service

January 03, 2019 / Ed Bott

Microsoft Azure is a broad, ever-expanding set of cloud-based computing services that are available to businesses, developers, government agencies, and anyone who wants to build an app or run an enterprise on the internet without having to manage hardware. It has been the fastest-growing business segment for Microsoft in recent years and will probably overtake Windows in terms of revenue within two or three years. Azure is a strong second among cloud providers, well behind Amazon Web Services but well ahead of any other competition. Microsoft announced Azure in 2008. It made its public debut two years later, in February 2010, as Windows Azure and was rebranded as Microsoft Azure in 2014. The name change wasn't just a branding move, however. Instead, it was a reflection that the scope of Azure cloud services had gone far beyond just Windows-based offerings. By late 2017, in fact, Microsoft reported that 40 percent of all virtual machines in Azure were running Linux, up from less tha...