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Hey, have you heard of the new Azure services: Elasticville, StorageWart and API Gatesian? Of course not, I just made those up.

Just like we'd previously made up but then eventually explained a bunch of Amazon's Web Services in Plain English. We're back to help explain Microsoft's Azure ecosystem.

Learn more about Azure without feeling dumb. Get our free plain english guides to Azure services.

Web + Apps Developer Services

If you're setting up a web app, these are mostly what you'd end up using.

Service Fabric

Should have been called
Azure Microservice
Use this to
Have a class in your code? Make it a Microservice! Deploy it to the Service Fabric! Ask for a raise.
It's like
AWS Lambda, AWS API Gateway

App Service > Web Apps

Should have been called
Azure PAAS, Used to be "Azure Websites"
Use this to
Run stuff but don't worry about the sysadmin'ing - we got you dawg. This is where you can deploy the marketing website with the 200MB video that the designer wants to "pop" on your homepage.
It's like
Heroku, Modulus, AWS ElasticBeanstalk, CloudFoundry

Cloud Services

Should have been called
Azure IAAS
Use this to
Sysadmin when they make you.
It's like
AWS EC2

Virtual Machines

Should have been called
You can't believe its not a real server
Use this to
Brag to your Devops friends that you'd recommend baremetal if you had your way, but the new CTO says you have to get all "cloudy"
It's like
Linode, Rackspace VPS

SQL Database

Should have been called
SPOT ON NAMING
Use this to
Save all the app data you'll collect into tables and set them up to have not in the biblical sense "relations".
It's like
Heroku Postgres

Document DB

Should have been called
Don't change a thing. I love you just as you are.
Use this to
Store store JSON NoSQL structured data. Don't believe the lame rhymes of SQL Database who lies, drops ACID and relationsizes.
It's like
DynamoDB, MongoDB

Redis Cache

Should have been called
Sweet Product Manager of my dreams
Use this to
Store frequently used data in convenient structures. It's like Memcached but without the legacy of LiveJournal clutched around it.
It's like
Redis2Go, RedisGreen

Storage

Should have been called
Cloud File Storage
Use this to
Put uploaded images, log files, pirated bollywood films or whatever your app calls for in an infinite hard drive.
It's like
AWS S3, Rackspace Cloud Files

StorSimple

Should have been called
The more complex version of 'Storage'
Use this to
It's like 'Storage' but moves files up and down from Azure according to rules you set. It makes it seem like Azure Storage is part of your local network.
It's like
AWS Storage Gateway

Search

Should have been called
The only way they could have made this name shorter is if it was "Find"
Use this to
Do full text search of file, web or whatever other text based objects you have around.
It's like
AWS CloudSearch, ElasticSearch

Visual Studio Team Services

Should have been called
Source Control CI
Use this to
Build apps with other people: shared source control and continuous integration
It's like
Github, Jenkins, CodeShip, BitBucket, AWS CodeCommit

DevTest Labs

Should have been called
QA Virtual Machines
Use this to
Spin up Virtual Machines according to a recipe you set for testing.
It's like
Dockerish, Chef or Puppetish

Application Insights

Should have been called
Crash, Burn and Report
Use this to
Monitor performance and exceptions happening in ASP.NET or J2EE apps. Get notified of errors, get logs.
It's like
Honeybadger, Exception.io

Scheduler

Should have been called
Cron the Barbarian
Use this to
Run small jobs that must be repeated at set intervals. Helpful to not have to keep a VM running all the time just for scheduling recurring tasks.
It's like
Heroku Background Jobs, Cron

Automation

Should have been called
Cloud Shell
Use this to
Automate Azure services with Powershell - the langage of the Windows Server Gods.
It's like
AWS Cloudformation

Operational Insights

Should have been called
Log Reader
Use this to
Collect, combine and search logs for issues or troubleshooting.
It's like
Splunk

KeyVault

Should have been called
Hardware Security Module
Use this to
Keep dirty hackers away from the precious. The precious being your Encryption keys.
It's like
AWS KMS

Security Center

Should have been called
Policy Enforcer
Use this to
Establish policies for Azure services and alert and report when they aren't met.

Mobile App Developer Services

These are the services that only work for mobile developers.

App Service > Mobile Apps

Should have been called
Everything but Blackberry
Use this to
Cross compile a mobile app for iOS, Android or Windows Mobile. Ha ha Blackberry you go sit at the smelly kids table.
It's like
PhoneGap, Titanium, React Native

App Service > API Apps

Should have been called
Azure API Proxy
Use this to
Build an API to Azure services and a SDK for multiple client languages (PHP, Node, Java, ASP.NET)
It's like
AWS API Gateway

API Management

Should have been called
API Big Boss
Use this to
Control the traffic and limits of what is passed through an API.
It's like
AWS API Gateway

Notification Hubs

Should have been called
Azure Push Notifications
Use this to
Send push notifications to iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle. Ok, now I just feel bad for making fun of Blackberry.
It's like
AWS SNS, UrbanAirship

Mobile Engagement

Should have been called
Mobile Analytics (which unfortunately AWS scooped up first)
Use this to
Get real time analytics of what gets people to buy coin-doubler bonuses in your mobile panda bowling game.
It's like
AWS Mobile Analytics, Flurry

Media and CDN Services

Deliver content faster, and make videos playable on different devices.

Encoding

Should have been called
It's a good name, but wish they had called it 'VHS' just to mess with people.
Use this to
Encode videos into formats useful for things like viewing on mobile, web, 4K HomeTheater demos, etc.
It's like
AWS ElasticTranscoder

Media Player

Should have been called
RealPlayer(TM)
Use this to
Actually embed the videos without you having to figure out which player and encodings work for each client platform.

Media Indexer

Should have been called
Closed Captioner
Use this to
Auto generate text from audio and video files. Search this text or use it for auto generated captions. "Anyone can wreck a nice beach"

Content Protection

Should have been called
Azure DRM
Use this to
Protect your cat videos from copyright infrigners and piraters.

Live and On Demand Streaming

Should have been called
McStreamey
Use this to
Handle mass live playback of video along with making sure only the right people are watching and that they've hopefully already paid you.

Content Delivery Network

Should have been called
Azkami
Use this to
Speed delivery of your sites, files, videos to the people requesting them.
It's like
Cloudfront, MaxCDN

Networking Services

Depending on what you're doing you might use these to improve performance or security.

Virtual Network

Should have been called
Network Expander
Use this to
Make it seem like new Azure services just happened to show up on your internal company network. Bring your own IP address.
It's like
AWS VPC

Express Route

Should have been called
Pretty good
Use this to
Push TBs a day up to Azure without overloading your mom's cable modem? Get a dedicated line into Azure.
It's like
AWS Direct Connect

Traffic Manager

Should have been called
Geo Load Balancer
Use this to
Improve performance by putting traffic to datacenters closer to requests and smart failover when a DC catches on fire.
It's like
AWS ELB

Load Balancer

Should have been called
Local Load Balancer
Use this to
Split traffic between multiple servers/services
It's like
AWS ELB

Application Gateway

Should have been called
Web Load Balancer
Use this to
Load balance web servers. comes packed with all the HTTP optimized load balancing goodies: SSL terminating, Cookie Affiity setting a growing developer needs.
It's like
AWS ELB

DNS

Should have been called
Yuuuuuuuup it's DNS
Use this to
Make a joke about a guy named John CNAMEa!
It's like
DNSimple, Route 53, GoDaddy

VPN Gateway

Should have been called
Can't afford Express Route
Use this to
Setup a VPN between your datacenter and Azure to put traffic over.
It's like
OpenVPN

Site Recovery

Should have been called
Plan B
Use this to
Keep a replicated version of your critical network apps on standby in Azure.
It's like
AWS CloudConfig

Enterprise / Corporate Services

Services for business and networks.

RemoteApp

Should have been called
Apps on Cloud
Use this to
Put an app on Azure and give users a RDP session to it.
It's like
Citrix

BizTalk

Should have been called
App Communicator
Use this to
Connect both Azure Enteprise apps (like SAS or Peoplesoft) together. That sounds like fun.

Service Bus

Should have been called
Network Message Queue
Use this to
Dump commands and data into queuing service that lets you connect lots of devices, servers or client together for better and smoother processing.
It's like
RabbitMQ, AWS SQS

Backup

Should have been called
Better'n Tape
Use this to
Keep a data center disaster from wiping out all your backups. Sick of swapping tapes, keeping them offsite and accidently recording hot mixes over the incremental accounting backups?
It's like
Glacier, Backblaze

Active Directory

Should have been called
Hybridactive Directory
Use this to
Setup an Active Directory As A Service that can sync to your Enterprise AD or replace it entirely

Big Data Services

Services to ingest, manipulate and massage data to do your will.

Batch

Should have been called
Bunch-of-VMs.bat
Use this to
Do lots of stuff at once on a bunch of systems, but not all the time. Also, use the word parallel more than a middle school geometry teacher.
It's like
AWS Elastic Map Reduce

App Service > Logic Apps

Should have been called
SAASalytics
Use this to
Push together the data from all your social, business and marketing services to figure out that you make the most CandyCrush money from "whales" in Topeka.
It's like
Segment Warehouse, Redshift

SQL Data Warehouse

Should have been called
That'll do SQL Data Warehouse that'll do.
Use this to
Load up data into the giant SQL Server of your dreams and query it six ways from Sunday (which I guess would be Saturday?)
It's like
AWS Redshift

Data Lake Analytics

Should have been called
UberSQL Data Warehouse
Use this to
Hold Exabytes of Data (don't worry how much that is, if you had that much data you'd know).

Data Lake Store

Should have been called
ETL Query
Use this to
Extract, Transform and Load all your Datawarehouse data with Hadoop.
It's like
AWS ElasticMap Reduce

HDInsight

Should have been called
Apache Apps
Use this to
Assure your boss that the names: Pig, Hive, HBase, Storm, Spark are not the new Avengers Movie superhero lineup.

Machine Learning

Should have been called
Cortana AI Edition
Use this to
Figure out what non-gamers think of all the Cortana branding: "Whatasa cortada - some kind of hot chocolate mexican drink?" Also use this to get on an AI's good side before the Singularity.
It's like
AWS Machine Learning

Stream Analytics

Should have been called
Real Time Analytics
Use this to
Collect thousands of analytics streams simultaneously.
It's like
AWS Kinesis

Data Factory

Should have been called
Data Pipeline
Use this to
Schedule when and how data is moved between services.
It's like
AWS DataPipeline

Data Catalog

Should have been called
Data Sharing
Use this to
Let anybody in your organization get to some of the data you put into the other Data Services. It's like a SQL View for cross service data.
It's like
Chartio

IoT Services

Lots of devices scattered around your house that need patched.

IoT Hub

Should have been called
Pretty good name and it's not like some SOC will know what to call it anyway.
Use this to
Central system for managing how many smart egg monitors are connected to your new smart-egg-monitor.com service. Handles authorization, updates and communications in a central way.
It's like
AWS IOT

Learn more about Azure without feeling dumb. Get our free plain english guides to Azure services.