Microsoft recently announced the release of Microsoft Azure Service Fabric, a platform that supports the development of applications created using an assemblage of independent microservices as exemplified by the concept of Docker containers, for example. While Azure will be supporting Docker in a subsequent release of Windows Server, its support for microservices by means of the Microsoft Azure Service Fabric allows developers to enjoy the benefits of an architecture that uses Microsoft Azure’s indigenous microservices technology to create discrete application components that collectively enable enhanced scalability and the design of low latency, computationally intensive applications. Not surprisingly, Microsoft Azure Service Fabric features the ability to orchestrate and automate microservices in conjunction with application lifecycle management functionality for the distributed systems that are typically characteristic of applications composed of microservices. The platform also supports Visual Studio tools such as designers, editors and debuggers that facilitate the development, deployment and ongoing management of applications across a variety of operating systems, environments and devices. In the same way that Amazon Web Services recently rendered available the same machine learning and data science platform used by its own data scientists in the form of Amazon Machine Learning, the Microsoft Azure Service Fabric delivers the same core technology that Microsoft Azure has thus far used for Skype for Business, DocumentDB and Bing Cortana.
The platform’s deep experience with enterprise-grade applications that serve millions of users and files means that it “intrinsically understands the available infrastructure resources and needs of applications, enabling automatically updating, self-healing behavior that is essential to delivering highly available and durable services at hyper-scale.” As a result of its ability to understand the interplay between infrastructure, applications and distributed systems, the Microsoft Azure Service Fabric delivers a platform for development based on microservices designed to accommodate the needs of hyperscale applications. As such, Microsoft Azure Service Fabric constitutes a pre-packaged response and counterweight to the increasing traction of Docker technology by presenting Azure customers with a production-grade platform that supports stateless and stateful microservices while additionally featuring micro-services orchestration and automation, even though Microsoft plans to support Docker containers on its Azure platform in the future. In a nutshell, the Microsoft Azure Service Fabric gives developers much of the functionality of Docker and an attendant Docker management platform with the added feather in its cap that the platform has been used for years in production-grade environments for household name products such as Skype and Bing, while concurrently paving the way for streamlined usage of Docker containers on the Azure platform as well.