MS has been updating Azure and people can now opt into the new management console and new services and let me be the first to say, its impressive and super simple.
With the new interface, you can also opt into new features. MS now allows 10 free "sites" which are easy applications installed from the new console wizard or using the webmatrix installer - i had a new wordpress blog up and running in 10 seconds and was happy with how simple it is. Try it out, you can't really go wrong with 10 free sites.
The other major new feature is full blown virtual machines. I installed a Centos 6.2 OS and was up and running with SSH keys in about 60 seconds flat from wizard walkthrough to bootup. Performance seems really good and i'm impressed with how simple it was - if you don't pre-assign storage or zones it lets you select defaults and just builds a vm for what you need - very intuitive and once again, super easy to get up and running.
Give it a shot, if you have MSDN, BizSpark or Website Spark you get tons of free time that you can use for VM's in lieu of application instances.