Azure now provides infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), which Hilf said allows a business to move a virtual machine into the Microsoft cloud. It allows users to run Windows Server 2008 virtual machines, the beta of Windows Server 2012, SQL Server, SharePoint, Active Directory, Ubuntu and SuSE.
"Our strategy is to provide an open platform for any developer, whether they are in open source or a commercial software developer," he said.
Traditionally, Microsoft has offered Azure as a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud.
"Platform-as-a-service represents high-level APIs," said Hilf. "Developers want choices, from the highest level of a platform service, to taking full control of the operating system."
He claimed Microsoft's approach is about giving developers choice so they can understand the economics of cloud computing.