Azure Charts

Azure Charts is a site that a lot of people should know about but don’t. Alexey Polkovnikov came up with and developed the site, and I highly recommend checking it out for a few reasons.

Solution Explorer

One of the trickiest parts about Azure is the mess of products available. There are so many that it’s nearly impossible to know them all. The Azure Solution Explorer gives us a set of services which act as a starting point.

But wait, there’s more!

One nice thing about this is that you can select an “anchor service” and see which services integrate well with it. For example, if I select Azure Maps, I can see the types of products which connect to it, including certain databases, certain storage technologies, and even things like IoT Edge and IoT Hub.

Direct integrations with Azure Maps.

Timelines and Roadmaps

Another common problem with cloud services is that with so many, you get blindsided by updates. But you can see a heatmap of updates and get a better feel for what’s changed lately. For example, here’s a screenshot of services with updates in the last 7 days.

Time to get reading…

Select one of the blocks and it will take you to the RSS feed for that service, where you can read about the updates.

But Can You Prove It?

Microsoft has a variety of case studies for companies in different regions and industries, as well as different sizes. The Evidence Map lets you filter by region, company size, and industry, letting you see which services are involved in different case studies. For example, here is the result for media and entertainment companies in Africa:

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

Selecting one of these loads up the Story Explorer, from which you can select case studies from a drop-down list.

Having Fun

There are several other ways of slicing Azure services on this site, and I’ll touch on the options in the Fun menu. First, the Azure Menu, which treats services by maturity as if you were in a restaurant. This breaks services into Starters (IaaS and core services), Main Courses (PaaS and managed services), and Desserts (advanced workloads and non-native services).

Next up, there’s the Azure Quiz, where you get one-sentence descriptions of a service and have to link them to the service names.

This is trickier than it looks.

Finally, the Night Sky mode has services brighten up based on case studies, learning paths, service names, and more. Sitting back and watching these gives you a feeling for how things fit together.

Conclusion

Azure has so many services available that it can make your head spin. I think this site does a better job than Microsoft’s official documentation of making it clear what does what. The funny thing is that so much of it simply relies on Microsoft’s RSS feeds, so there’s not really all that much unique information here.

Anyhow, give it a go. If you like it or have feedback, there’s a form where you can submit feedback. If you like it or find it useful, let them know—especially if you’re outside of Microsoft. This is the type of thing I absolutely want to see thrive and not hide somewhere internal to the company.