How can Microsoft Azure Service Fabric help your business

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Dec
06
2016
  • Author:
  • Sahana Rajan

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Primarily a distributed systems platform, Microsoft Azure Service Fabric allows you to organize, assemble, install and manage micro-services in a reliable manner. With Service Fabric, you also receive consistent aid for problems you might face during the development and management of the cloud applications. Without distraction of dealing with complicated infrastructure issues, administrators and developers can concentrate on implementation of project-critical workloads which are dependable, scalable and controllable. Azure Service Fabric marks the movement into next-Gen middleware platform which focuses on building and regulating the tier-1, cloud-scale and enterprise-standard applications. This article will provide an overview of the features of Microsoft Azure Service Fabric.

Build applications with micro-services

Service Fabric provides you the space to construct and manage reliable applications which are made of micro-services. These services operate at high-density on a common set of machines (known as clusters). With the refined runtime, you can “build distributed, scalable, stateless and stateful microservices”. You will also observe a toolbox of options to upgrade, provision, monitor, deploy and remove the applications.

How do micro-services benefit your application? According to the needs of your application, you can scale its different regions. Greater agility can be expected from the development teams as they introduce changes and offer features to clients regularly. Starting out just with a small number of machines depending on the requirement of your application, Service Fabric designs cloud-native services to develop corresponding to the app.

Azure IoT Hub, Microsoft Power BI, Azure SQL Database, Azure DocumentDB, Azure Event Hubs, Microsoft InTune and Cortana are among the Microsoft services functioning under Service Fabric today.

Microsoft Azure Service Fabric is home to tools and solutions required for the comprehensive care of applications composed of micro-services. This includes the major runtime and lifecycle management capacities. Apart from hosting micro-service within containers which are set up and activated throughout the Service Fabric cluster, an order-of-magnitude increase in the density is also made possible when one moved from virtual machines to containers. You can also stimulate an order-of-magnitude in the density by moving from containers to micro-services. Consider a cluster for Azure SQL Database which consists of hundreds of machines hosting a sum of over hundreds of thousands of database. Every database is a Service Fabric stateful micro-service. When the containers supply high density, the micro-services will deliver hyper-scalability.

Deploy and orchestrate containers

Service Fabric is an orchestrator of micro-services throughout a cluster of machines. An orchestrator is roughly a software that aids administrators to regulate environments containing thousands of machines with different kinds of services. The Service Fabric Cluster Resource Manager works to enforce rules, optimize the environment and to assist other processes. Most importantly, it is possible to fuse both services in processes and services in containers within the same application. Those who are looking to deploy regular container images through a cluster of machines will find Service Fabric to be an ideal companion.

Dynamic Cluster-Creation

Clusters for Service Fabric can be generated in a variety of environments, including Azure, Windows Server, on-premises and on Linux. You will not need any emulators, as the development environment is similar in SDK to the production environment. Thus, whatever is running on your local development cluster will be deployed to the same cluster in the other environments.

Micro-services for Service Fabric: State-less or State-ful

There are broadly two types of micro-services that are available within Service Fabric: stateless and stateful. “Stateless microservices (such as protocol gateways and web proxies) do not maintain a mutable state outside a request and its response from the service”. For instance, consider the Azure Cloud Services worker role.  On the other hand, stateful micro-services hold a reliable and mutable state well across the request and response to it. The applications we use today are mostly a fusion of both stateless and stateful micro-services.

One of the common queries is whether stateful micro-services are necessary along with stateless ones. There are two main purposes of including stateful micro-services: With stateful micro-services, a single machine can be home to codes and data which will allow fail-tolerant, high-capacity and low-dormancy online transaction processing (OLTP) services. Consider Internet of Things (IoT) systems, credit card processing, fraud detection machines and trading systems. Stateful services make designing of applications a simple process by removing the extra caches and queues. In stateless applications, these are needed to account for latency and availability requirements. Since stateful services are inherently low-latency and high-availability, there is almost negligible need to move parts for managing the whole app.

Managing Application Lifecycle

The lifecycle of all your cloud apps are managed thoroughly at Service Fabric. This will begin with development up till deployment and includes daily regulation and management as well as ultimate decommissioning. IT operators and app administrators can manage their apps through the simple workflows of Service Fabric. These workflows lower the pressure on IT operators to make the applications frequently available.

Majority of applications are a combination of stateful and stateless micro-services accompanied by runtimes and executables. Service Fabric opens the possibility of deploying many app instances by containing strong-kinds on the apps and packaged micro-services. Every instance is regulated and upgraded independently. More importantly, you can deploy absolutely any executable or runtime with Service Fabric and make it reliable. 

Main Features

Service Fabric allows you to produce highly scalable applications which are self-sufficient, containing micro-services. You can also put up guest executables and other app-frameworks which you desire. Apart from the ability to deploy and orchestrate containers, Service Fabric also simplifies application design by use of stateful micro-services (instead of queues and caches). The deployment of any app can be done within seconds to on-the-premise datacenters (running Linux or Windows) or to Azure without any change to the codes (that is, once you have written the code, you can deploy the app anywhere to Service Fabric cluster). Every machine can hold over thousands of applications, that is, at a density higher than virtual machines. Applications management is also strengthened with almost-no downtime and by use of Java (Linux), .NET APIs, PowerShell and REST interface. The self-sufficiency of apps is also upheld by setting up automatic repair policies through Service Fabric.

Apart from deploying and orchestrating containers, you can also manage lifecycles of applications using Azure Service Fabric. Comment on this.

If you are looking to migrate from your legacy on-premise or cloud application to Azure cloud, we would be more than happy to help you. Check out our tips on Azure cloud migration. For any Azure related enquiries, please send a mail to services@suyati.com.

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