Azure Service Fabric is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering from Azure that is designed to facilitate development, deployment and management of scalable and customizable applications which are targeted for the Microsoft Azure cloud platform alone.
Fabric in this context tends to mean a Framework, hence Azure Service Fabric becomes Azure Service Framework.
Azure Service Fabric can be well understood as a distributed systems platform which aims at ease of use during packaging, deploying and managing scalable and reliable micro-services and containers. Azure Service Fabric allows individuals to build and run always-on, hyper-scale services using the exact same technology that powers Microsoft’s Cloud offerings.
Azure’s Service Fabric aims at representing the next-generation platform to build and manage enterprise-class tier-1 cloud scale applications that will run on containers.
Azure Service Fabric can be described as a layer that imbibes all the features and understands the binding between micro-services and the infrastructure that stands to underlie on which the micro-services run on.
Since the micro-services existence is modular in nature, this makes it very possible for the scalability of each of these components of the application separately. The whole idea of micro-services is completely different from the orthodox and traditional architecture where modules of the program are independent and hence makes it inevitable to address the whole program as such for any small change.
Azure Service Fabric forms the core of any of the Azure’s core infrastructure. Azure’s Service Fabric currently runs Microsoft’s own products that include Azure SQL database, Azure DocumentDB, Azure InternetOfThings, Cortana, Power BI, Microsoft Intune and Skype for Business.
Azure Service Fabric for Linux, Windows servers and also for the Java APIs preview versions are made available for either the deployments on-premises or the other cloud environments. These environments always include these options namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), OpenStack and VMWare.
Azure Service Fabric is designed to provide extensible support to full application lifecycle and also at the same time for the CI / CD of cloud applications that includes containers as well.
The lifecycle of an application on Azure Service Fabric can be thought of development, deployment, daily management and finally maintenance leading the decommissioning.
The abilities and capabilities of Service Fabric’s application lifecycle management enable application administrators, IT operators to engage with its simple, workflows to provision, deploy, patch and finally to monitor their applications.
The built-in support features like the workflows reduce the overhead on the IT operators in keeping the applications highly available.
Many of the applications that are designed and developed with Azure’s Service Fabrice contains a unique combination of stateless and stateful micro-services and containers (along with other executables which are put together along with all these artefacts).
Azure Service Fabric allows the deployments of applications as multiple instances. Each of the instances thus deployed can be managed and upgraded independently without any dependencies.
Basically, the main importance of deploying applications through Azure’s Service Fabric allows them to be done in containers to make them highly reliable.
Any of the .NET, ASP.NET Core, Node.js, Windows / Linux containers, Java Virtual Machines, Scripts, Angular JS and for that case any other thing that can possibly make your application can be deployed by Azure’s Service Fabric.
CI / CD tool as like Visual Studio Team Services, Jenkins, Octopus Deploy are all integrated with Azure’s Service Fabric, which enables it to be used with any other popular CI / CD tool.
The following are the capabilities that Azure Service Fabric comes along with its own package. So let us take a close look at each and every one of these points to understand the capabilities precisely:
With Azure Service Fabric we deploy applications to Azure Cloud or to on-premises datacenters which run on either Windows or Linux with absolutely no code changes. This is called “Write once, deploy anywhere on any Service Fabric cluster
We can develop scalable applications constituting micro-services using Service Fabric programming models or containers or any other code in specific too.
We can develop very reliable state-less or stateful micro-services (with which you can simplify the design of your micro-services altogether)
Cloud objects with self-contained code and state can be created with the usage of novel ‘reliable actors’ programming model.
We can deploy and also orchestrate containers including both Windows and Linux containers. Azure Service Fabric is completely a data-aware, stateful and also a container orchestrator.
Application deployments are quicker than ever and the deployments can be done with numerous applications or containers per single machine
Versions of the same application can be run, both on the same Azure Service Fabric cloud and you can upgrade these applications independently without even the other application knowing about its existence.
Managing the lifecycle of the applications with 0 downtimes can be achieved with Azure Service Fabric deployments, which includes both breaking and non-breaking upgrades.
We can scale-out or scale-in the number nodes that constitute a cluster, thereby letting your application scale along with the number of nodes used in the cluster
The health of the applications that are deployed can be easily monitored and diagnosed with a set of policies that perform the automatic repairs of your applications.
Azure Service Fabric has the ability and capability to recover from a failure and also optimize the distribution of available resources with the utmost ease.
In this article, we have tried to understand what Azure’s Service Fabric is all about and also we have tried to understand the features that are provided with the Azure Service Fabric as such. We even have taken a step ahead to understand how this framework can better your application development/deployment activities and also the smart ways of managing it with the use of Azure Service Fabric.
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