From Scott Guthrie’s blog comes a summary of the onslaught of new features being added to Windows Azure today. From gorgeous dashboard controls, simple website deployments, to easy cloud to on-premise conversions.
We use the same VHD format that is supported with Windows virtualization today (and which we’ve released as an open spec), which enables you to easily migrate existing workloads you might already have virtualized into Windows Azure. We also make it easy to download VHDs from Windows Azure, which also provides the flexibility to easily migrate cloud-based VM workloads to an on-premise environment. All you need to do is download the VHD file and boot it up locally, no import/export steps required.
Microsoft has often been ridiculed for their choice of brand names, but Azure is definitely establishing its reputation, and well on its way to becoming the preferred PaaS and someday may even become your preferred IaaS provider.