What is Windows Azure? Tell me like I am a three year old!

What is Windows Azure? Tell me like I am a three year old!


I wanted to do a blog post on “Windows Azure” explaining it from bottom-up. This is first of the “tell me like I am a three year old series”- by tell me like I am three year old I mean, 3 year old in IT space. You should have spent at least have 2 to 3 years in IT.

What is Windows Azure? (T3 view)

Any app you would have written would at minimum look like this:


Windows Azure is a “cloud platform” offered by Microsoft.

Fast forward into the Windows Azure world, you use the word “roles” as vocabulary to represent few of the tier(s) above.

In the Windows Azure world:


One of the important aspects that an architect thinks about is costing. In our original architecture diagram above, how would you go about costing?

Of course, you would first do some sort of capacity estimation. Number of users, locations from where they access your application, the throughput you want to meet etc. In essence you always pay for (paid for) the following:

  1. RAM
  2. Bandwidth
  3. Storage
  4. OS license/ Software license
  5. IT maintenance engineer cost (patching, health monitoring, availability etc)
  6. Location of the servers
  7. The power supply (24X7)
  8. Network

And all the above points are upfront cost.

Fast forward to Windows Azure:

There is practically no upfront cost. All you have to focus on is the app that you are building, be a bit aware/ sensible about the costing model and design your system accordingly. In Windows Azure you basically pay for the following:


So, even without doing any major capacity planning from a procurement point of view, you can still get started really small. Design for scale and availability. Pay as you go!

To Summarize:

Cloud model is about economies of scale, shared infrastructure like public transport- railways or bus transport where you pay based on the distance travelled and since you share it, you end up paying less. And there is a bit of vocabulary here like web role, worker role, storage etc, few of them are explained above. And that’s about it; you should now know what “Windows Azure is” from “tell me like I am a three year old” point of view or from 80K feet.

In the next blog post I will talk about Azure billing- tell me like I am a three year old!

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One Comment

  1. siva valluru October 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    nice article sir.waiting for the next one.

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