Microsoft Lures Tech Startups With Azure Service Fabric

Microsoft will soon offer fledgling tech companies and ISVs an enterprise-grade cloud services platform that borrows from its own production of Azure technology.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Fabric

Startups, developers and independent software vendors (ISV) will soon be able to exploit Microsoft's expertise in the cloud to deliver scalable, reliable and high-performance apps.

Today, Microsoft took the wraps off its latest cloud offering, called Azure Service Fabric. The cloud service, which will be released as a developer preview during this year's Build conference in San Francisco (April 29 – May 1), essentially enables technology startups and application developers to take advantage of the Redmond, Wash.-based software provider's own experiences in building cloud-scale applications.

Azure Service Fabric "provides a high control platform that enables developers and ISVs to build cloud services with a high degree of scalability and customization," Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure, said in a statement. "Service Fabric was born from our years of experience delivering mission-critical cloud services and has been in production for more than five years."

Based on the foundational elements used to run Microsoft's Azure core infrastructure, Azure Service Fabric technology powers several of the company's own business and consumer-facing cloud services, including Cortana, Skype for Business (formerly Lync), InTune mobile device management (MDM) and the DocumentDB NoSQL document database. In Azure SQL Database, the technology helps maintain more than 1.4 million customer databases, revealed Russinovich.

Startup software developers and other hopefuls will soon have access to the capabilities that keep those cloud applications and services running.

Azure Service Fabric "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," said Russinovich. "We're now making this battle-hardened technology available for everyone [to] use—not a version of what we use, but the exact technology we use ourselves."

According to Russinovich, the offering provides support for both stateless and stateful microservices, "an architectural approach where complex applications are composed of small, independently versioned services." This enables the service to handle "the most complex, low-latency, data-intensive scenarios and scale them into the cloud." Additionally, Azure Service Fabric provides microservices orchestration and automation along with application lifecycle management capabilities, the latter of which enabled developers to scale their applications without re-architecting them.

Finally, in keeping with the developer-friendly spirit of the Build conference, the solution integrates with the integrated development environment (IDE) of choice for many Windows developers.

Azure Service Fabric includes "Visual Studio tooling as well as command line support, which enables developers to quickly and easily build, test, debug, deploy and update their Service Fabric applications on single-box deployments, test deployments and production deployments," said Russinovich. The initial release of Azure Service Fabric will target Windows exclusively, but Linux support is in the works, he said.

While Windows developers will have to wait several days to take Azure Service Fabric for a test drive, OSIsoft is already employing the technology to boost its Internet of things (IoT) processing capabilities. "The OSIsoft solution leveraging Service Fabric enables new customer-driven insights by durably processing data from hundreds of millions of meters every few seconds—shattering previous on-premises records," according to Russinovich.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...