Why is Azure called Azure? With Microsoft's portfolio containing products like PowerPoint and PowerShell, calling it PowerCloud should have been a no-brainer. I don't know why they went for the often-mispronounced Azure (heck, even Homer Simpson knew that Max Power would be the much better choice of a name for him). But I'll tell you why PowerCloud would have been a perfect fit for me. And I'll tell you how to pronounce Azure correctly. More about that below the fold.
Why PowerCloud Would Have Been the Better Name for Azure
I don't work for Microsoft and I don't get paid by them in any way. But in my job at the Dynatrace Innovation Lab, my buddies and I are researching the latest cloud technologies all the time. This is how I was able to get a decent insight into Azure's features. And — in my humble opinion — there's some power (AKA features) to Azure that makes it unique.
Virtual machines are built on base images. Usually, you tailor your base-image according to your needs. So, you'll have one for each of your services, one for each of your databases, etc. And most of them are probably built on the same OS. That makes up for a whole lot of storage space, as you have a full OS-image for everything you'll want to run.
VM extensions allow you to dynamically extend base images. So, you'll have a single OS base-image, which is usually provided by Azure, ready-to-use. On top of that, you'll just have to add the extensions and everything is taken care of automatically.
Extensions are also available for PaaS deployments, i.e. Azure App Services (which includes web apps, API apps, and mobile apps). And that is probably even bigger than the VM extensions because you can add features that are available as site extensions to your web app on-the-fly, when already running in production. Azure Site Extensions can modify files, add new files and make configuration changes, which provides great flexibility.
A good example for Site Extensions is probably phpMyAdmin. When you add that Site Extension, you'll have phpMyAdmin available via
That's really powerful, right?
Azure Stack (Power Stack)
Microsoft's cloud is currently only available as a publically hosted offering. But, besides that, there's also an on-premise flavor called Azure Stack (Power Stack, in my world). With Azure being available on-premise and in public clouds, you can build the perfect hybrid environment without taking care of different deployment or scaling approaches: use public cloud instances for high availability of your frontends, for example, and deploy your highly sensitive data to Azure Stack in your private datacenter.
Service Fabric is described as third-generation PaaS by Microsoft. It not only allows you to deploy your services, it also provides the necessary interfaces on a code level to make persistence and scaling of data as easy as possible. For the developers among you, that means that you can write your data to a dedicated object that's similar to a Dictionary/HashMap object. Service Fabric then takes care of automatically persisting and scaling that data. This even removes the need for ORM-mappers. If you want to Bing that, search for StatefulService and Service Fabric.
So, third-generation PaaS finally starts to include the coder's perspective.
The good thing about Service Fabric is that you can deploy it anywhere you want, not just in Azure. But the good thing about Azure is that it offers a readily available Service Fabric package that can be configured and launched with a few clicks.
Microsoft itself offers lots of services and images on Azure. Chances are, most of you will find a package available for most things you intend to do.
The great thing about PowerCloud is that ISVs (independent software vendors) can also offer their services on Azure. So, I'm pretty sure that you'll find anything you need on Azure Marketplace.
There's so Much More
There's more than what I just mentioned. If you're curious about what that might be, there's a free Azure trial available. (It's not an affiliate link — nobody will ever know that you came from this blog post, I'm not earning any money with that).
So, to come back to the original intention of this post: I'm deeply convinced that today Microsoft Azure is the most complete cloud offering.
How to Pronounce Azure?
Ah, right. That's the most important question, apparently.
Don't worry about whether you're pronouncing it correctly. There's hardly a week without coming across a new flavor, including Microsoft employees who I get to talk to regularly. So, feel free to say "Azure" the way you feel most comfortable with.
For those who want to at least try: Azure is pronounced similar to how you would pronounce "Measure", just without the M.