Azure AppFabric Overview

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

Microsoft's Azure Services Platform is a "platform as a service" which provides the base of delivering a variety of hosted services, such as web applications, SQL, virtual machines, and other services.  In this post we'll be discussing Azure AppFabric, in an attempt to provide clarity to its intention and use.
What is Azure AppFabric?

Azure AppFabric is a cloud middleware platform for delivering applications within Microsoft Azure.  It includes services for bridging on premise and cloud applications, as well as other application as a service components.  AppFabric is built on several pre-built middleware services, as well as a .NET application hosting environment.  The Azure AppFabric platform includes:

Service Bus

The Azure AppFabric Service Bus provides a secure messaging framework for inter / intra application communication within the Azure cloud, as well as between Azure applications and on-premise systems.  It enables the developers to use standardized, pre-built patterns and practices for integrating applications and bridging applications to the cloud.

The following diagram shows the Azure AppFabric Service Bus:

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="628" caption="Azure AppFabric Service Bus"]Azure AppFabric Service Bus[/caption]

 

Access Control

The Azure AppFabric Access Control service provides a platform for managing identity within Azure applications in relation to identity sources like Active Directory, Facebook, or Live ID. The service uses "claims authentication", which is a capability already found in other Microsoft applications, such as SharePoint and Office365. I consider this capability to be a critical deliverable of Azure, as single sign-on has long been a differentiator in great and pool application or SAS platforms.The essential of this service is that a user can login to an Active Directory connected resource, with Active Directory credentials, and achieve single sign-on to an Azure application.

 

The following diagram shows the Azure AppFabric Access Control Service:

 

 

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="628" caption="Azure AppFabric Access Control"]Azure AppFabric Access Control[/caption]  
Caching
  The Azure AppFabric Caching service provides a capability to accelerate and distribute the delivery of content for ASP.NET applications and SQL Azure databases.  It substantially increases the capability for an application to quickly serve users with high capacity demand, or distributed user communities.  It can be dynamically increased or reduced as desired for the application.  It also provides a common development interface between Azure and on-premise options.  The caching service is distributed and entirely maintained in memory, reducing the load on database or other content stores.  The coding model is identical to the Windows AppFabric caching services.  When do you use what?  If your application is in Azure, use the Azure Cache.  If your application is on premise, use the on premise AppFabric Caching Service. The following diagram shows the Azure AppFabric Caching Service
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="543" caption="Azure AppFabric Caching"]Azure AppFabric Caching[/caption]  
Here is more information about the Azure AppFabric Caching Service:
Installation and Configuration
Integration The Azure AppFabric Integration service provides an Azure based Biztalk-like integration capabilities.   This provides a manner of receiving, transforming, and delivering data inside of the Azure platform.  Similarly to Biztalk, it can be used to integrate other third party applications and provide data interchange using pre-constructed integration patterns. The following diagram shows the Azure AppFabric Integration Service: Azure AppFabric Integration Services The Azure Services Platform is super exciting and has immediate benefits to the target applications serviced by the AppFabric services. Happy Virtualizing! Nathan Lasnoski
Author

Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer