Azure Service Fabric: What you need to know

Microsoft has open-sourced one of Azure’s foundational services. But what is Service Fabric and how can you use it?

Cloud services like Azure are at heart massive distributed systems, hosting all manner of services. Some of them are hosted infrastructure, some of them are containers and microservices, some are development platforms, and some take advantage of serverless patterns.

They all need one thing: a management and orchestration platform. General-purpose cross-cloud tools like Kubernetes offer one road to delivering a managed container environment, but there’s also a place for custom environments that focus on the needs of a specific cloud platform. For Azure, that’s handled by a tool that’s been there since the earliest days of Microsoft’s public cloud: Azure Service Fabric.

Introducing Azure Service Fabric

Hidden away in the foundations of Azure, Service Fabric can be hard to describe. But we see it all the time, in the tools we’re using to build our own cloud-native software. It’s at the heart of Azure’s Event Hubs and IoT platform, its SQL and Cosmos DB databases, and many of the enterprise and consumer services we use every day. With Azure Service Fabric, you get access to the same tools that Microsoft uses to run and manage its own services, building them into your own code.

The intent of Azure Service Fabric is to make it easy to deploy and manage microservices, handling both stateful and stateless operations across a PaaS Azure instance. It’s not only for Azure, because the local development tool is a complete version of Azure Service Fabric, which means it’ll run on any Windows system. A Linux version makes it portable across multiple clouds as well, handling existing and custom code.

Azure Service Fabric manages your application life cycle, with APIs that give additional platform access beyond purely standalone code. It also supports its own actor/message microservices as well as hosting ASP.Net Core code. Services can run natively as processes, or you can host them in containers, giving you the option of quickly bringing existing code to Azure’s PaaS. Containers mix with other Azure Service Fabric application models, letting you quickly include existing functionality via lift-and-shift or by including specific packaged applications.

To continue reading this article register now