Azure Cloud CLI PowerShell Bash AZ RM… what? :-)

Can you imagine your job without the seemingly never ending stream of new buzz words, terms and abbreviations?
I can, easily. :-)

Regarding Azure command line administration and automation there are a few important terms, which can be easily confused and therefore can make things seem more complicated than they really are or simply mess up conversations.
So here is a little guide to help you find your way through the Azure command line jungle:

Azure Cloud Shell or Azure Shell or Cloud Shell

  • Is a browser-based console for administrating Azure
  • Comes in two flavors: PowerShell and Linux Bash
  • Access and configuration see here
  • Can be integrated in Visual Studio Code via an extension

Azure PowerShell

  • Is the PowerShell variant of the Azure Cloud Shell
  • Contains all commands of the Azure PowerShell AZ module (see below) and a subset of the locally in PowerShell available commands (about 400)
  • Is sometimes also used to describe anything regarding the use of PowerShell scripts or commands to manage Azure :/

Azure CLI

  • Is a set of commands to manage Azure resources
  • Can be used inside the PowerShell or the Bash version of Azure Cloud Shell
    • Type the command “AZ” into Azure PowerShell or Bash (more details see here)
    • Not to be confused with the PowerShell AZ module (I know…)
  • Can be downloaded and locally installed on Windows and Linux
    • can be used (depending on OS) via PowerShell, Bash and CMD for remote administration

Azure PowerShell AZ or AZ module

  • Is the name of a PowerShell module
  • Is the replacement for the retired AzureRM module (see below)
  • Contains 46 sub-modules with a total of 2353 commands
  • Is available inside Azure PowerShell
  • Can be downloaded and installed locally to manage Azure remotely
  • Local installation is supported on
    • PowerShell 5.1 – Windows
    • PowerShell Core 6.0 – Windows, Mac OS, Linux
    • PowerShell Core 6.1 – Windows, Mac OS, Linux


  • Is the name of a soon to be retired PowerShell module
  • Not to be confused with the Azure Resource Manager, which is the web UI to manage Azure and is also sometimes shortened as Azure RM or more often as ARM
  • Is the predecessor of the Azure PowerShell AZ module
  • Should not be used anymore
  • Commands are still supported as aliases in the AZ module
  • A migration guide for scripts and snippets from AzureRM to PowerShell AZ is available here


Hopefully that clears things up a little.
If your are getting started with Azure automation, check out the  Azure Automation Snippet Pack.

Have a nice day,

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