Scott Hanselman

Windows Server and Azure AppFabric virtual launch May 20th

May 19, 2010 Comment on this post [9] Posted in AppFabric
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Windows Server AppFabric I spent 7 years at a large e-Finance company working on an Application Server for Windows with a team of very smart folks. When we'd go and sell our application server/component container to banks, we'd have to say things like "Windows doesn't really have an actual App Server like jBoss or WebSphere, so we wrote our own." However, remember that we were in banking, not in appserver-writing, so I always thought this was cheesy. As Microsoft came out with different subsystems that did stuff we'd already done, we'd evaluate them and "refactor via subtraction," removing our stuff and moving over to the MS stuff when appropriate. Still, the lack of an AppServer was an irritant.

AppFabric is the Windows Application Server. For web applications, AppFabric gets you caching (remember "Velocity?") for scale as well as high-availability of in-memory data. That means replicated, in-memory distributed hashtables, effectively, with PowerShell administration. I showed this at TechEd in Dubai, it's pretty cool.

For composite apps, on the business tier, AppFabic gets you services to support Windows Workflow and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) apps. That means, workflows and web services get supporting services for scale. (remember "Dublin?"). For all apps, you get nice instrumentation in MMC that will live alongside your IIS7 management snapins, so you don't have to run around in multiple places to manage apps.

Most of these links, training and sample, show Beta 2 today, but will be updated soon to the final bits, I hear. There's lot more coming, and I'll do my best to collect the info in as clear a way as possible.

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If you're building BIG stuff of scale, as I did for 15+ years, AppFabric should prove pretty useful. I'm going to spend some time digging into it and I'll try to get the inside scoop from the team in the coming months. I'm also going to look into how well this all plays with Open Source libraries and subsystems.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 19, 2010 3:00
How is "AppFabric is the app server both for Windows and the Cloud" when there is absolutely no feature parity between the two? Windows Server AppFabric provides service hosting and caching, while Azure AppFabric provides Service Bus and Access Control. The two are "AppFabric" in name only.
May 19, 2010 3:07

Have you tried to setup a appfabric (velocity) instance ? I suggest you try & even do a blog post, maybe under the scenario of using it like a memcache for dasblog. I would love to know how to setup it up, it's crazy hard for what it is.

May 19, 2010 3:16
@Matt - The product name is AppFabric. Both the server and cloud offerings deliver services that enable developers to build/manage composite applications more easily. You are right that the current offerings for server and cloud differ now, but you should see some merging of concepts over time.
May 19, 2010 3:19
Aaron - Good idea. I setup Velocity in about 10 minutes in Dubai. I'll do a post. It's a lot easier now.
May 19, 2010 3:33
@Scott - so thats my problem, I haven't tried to setup in Dubai :)

awesome, I cant wait for your post.
May 19, 2010 12:50

I second the 'request' for Velocity setup instructions.

In fact, if I may suggest that you add a bit more information about the whole thing. A couple of days ago it took me quite a while to find out which bloody component is Velocity today :) All those "AppFabric" and cloud articles only confused me - are we supposed to/able to install Velocity locally for our own apps/needs? For me, the documentation (MSDN and other 'official') is not clear. Everything seems to be lumped under the cloud umbrella.

So if you could spend a couple words on that (what's cloud, what isn't) as an introduction, that'd be great (in the context of Velocity, not for everything in the "AppFabric" brand).

Thanks in advance.
May 20, 2010 15:36
Not a promising start for AppFabric. The site is down. It was down when I first read your post, although it was working last night.
May 25, 2010 22:18

Any idea if this product will be integrated with Entlib / as a provider for Cache component?
Will microsoft charge for this product??
December 05, 2010 23:26

Great example. I used it for a windows server 2008 r2 impelmentation and it worked great.

I wanted to test it against an 2008 R2 NLB cluster and could not get NLB working. So, I settled with 2008. 2008 NLB is working, and AppFabric isn't. I keep getting identity issues and configurations issues. Rather than posting the problems one by one here, Is there a simple step by step scenario with setup instructions anywhere supporting this product. The installation manual Microsoft provides for AppFabric is less than adequate.

Many Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.