In many cases, Trek's workloads vary through certain times of the day. Many bicycle shops close on Sundays, with business picking up around holidays and falling off in the winter.
"If a load is more or less over time, you can scale back or scale up on Azure," Novoselac said.
Stand-up times are also faster.
"If I call up the colo and say I need 100 servers tomorrow, they would tell me I'm crazy. If I go to Azure, I tell my [operations] guy, he runs a PowerShell script, and we have it," Novoselac said. "There's no way a hosting provider can compete with that."
Blackbaud, a technology provider for educational and nonprofit institutions, has been another early Azure user.
The company used Windows Azure for the mobile version of its Raiser's Edge donor management software. Azure provides the connection from the mobile client to the on-premises back-end support software.
"A pretty good chunk of our technology stack is Microsoft, so it is very easy for us to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft's version of the cloud," said Mary Beth Westmoreland, Blackbaud vice president of engineering.
Windows Azure offers a level of reliability and security that are rarely matched in the enterprise, said Microsoft's Martin. But Azure has had its share of hiccups, he admitted.
Last October, the service went down due to a DNS (Domain Name Server) issue, and a year ago, the service was bumped offline by an expired certificate.
"That is not a technology issue we had. That was a human-process issue," Martin said of the latter outage. Microsoft designed Windows Azure from the start not to have any single point of failure, he said. It is now trying to replicate this practice for human-led management processes as well -- such as those around renewing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates.
"We're building a culture that it is OK to communicate something that is not going quite right. It's OK to communicate failure," Martin said. "The faster someone says we have a problem, the better off we are."
In 2012, Azure remained in operation even as Hurricane Sandy tore through the U.S. East Coast. "When Hurricane Sandy hit, despite the fact it hit very close to our data centers on the East Coast and did massive destruction, we had no customer downtime," Martin said.
All data and workloads that are run on Azure are also mirrored in a backup location at least 500 miles away.
Azure also has the full support of the engineers and developers who created its technology, Martin said, taking a jab at AWS.
"That is something that makes us very much different than Amazon. Amazon's approach is that of a retailer. It's got technology that they license from third parties that it sells. It's got shelf space in the form of naked servers and it uses those servers to provide capacity back against technology they license from other people," Martin said.
As a result, Martin argued, Amazon engineers may not have as much expertise in the Microsoft software they run as Microsoft's engineers do.
"No one will do a better job at supporting the Microsoft stack better than we do. If something goes wrong, we're not going to say, 'It looks like the fabric is OK, it must be the virtual machine, so it is your problem,'" Martin said.