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InfoQ Homepage News Azure Service Fabric Reaches General Availability

Azure Service Fabric Reaches General Availability

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At Microsoft’s recent Build conference in San Francisco, the company announced the general availability (GA) of Azure Service Fabric. InfoQ has previously covered Azure Service Fabric so this article will focus on the recent updates and customer use cases unveiled at Build.

In the Day 2 Keynote presentation, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president cloud and enterprise, describes Azure Service Fabric as a “higher level container based programming model” that sits on top of two Azure other services including Azure Container Service and VM Scale Sets.

Image Source: screenshot from

More specifically, Azure Service Fabric provides the following capabilities:

  • A prescriptive microservice platform.
  • Automatic provisioning of stateful and stateless microservices in Docker containers.
  • .Net and Java APIs that allows the platform to run on Windows and Linux.
  • A microservice platform that can run on Azure, Azure Stack, VMware, OpenStack and AWS.

While the Azure Service Fabric service is now GA, Service Fabric for Windows Server is now in Public preview. Service Fabric for Windows Server allows customers to run Service Fabric in their own data center or in other public clouds.  During a subsequent build session, Mark Fussell and Jeffrey Richter, from the Service Fabric team at Microsoft, demonstrated the ability to run Service Fabric in the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud. Currently Amazon does not have a competing offering in this space.

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In addition to these two announcements, Microsoft also announced the Private preview of Service Fabric on Linux, which includes support for Java stateless and actor services. Microsoft is currently looking for additional private preview candidates and interested organizations can nominate themselves.

During the Day 2 Keynote presentation, Microsoft also discussed two use cases where customers are using Azure Service Fabric.

The first customer was BMW who is building an Open Mobility Cloud.  Thom Brenner, vice president of digital life services and engineering at BMW, described their customer digital service in the following way: “Mobility starts before they enter the car and does not stop when they leave the car.  The car and BMW will become the ultimate smart device.” In order for BMW to achieve a higher level of customer engagement, their strategy extends beyond a simple mobile app as Brenner explains: “You can't just build an app anymore. We are thinking about cross touch points, using a highly flexible service architecture that includes Big Data services, Analytics and Machine Learning.”

BMW is calling this initiative BMW Connected, and is targeting the following scenarios:

  • Estimate your drive time on your phone and BMW dashboard.
  • The service will learn about your routine routes and notify you of upcoming issues as you travel along those routes.
  • BMW Connected will understand your calendar and advise you when you need to leave in order to avoid being late.
  • Notify family and friends of your expected arrival.
  • Provide remote lock/unlock functions for your BMW.

 BMW is heavily using Azure Services and Azure Service Fabric in order to deliver these capabilities.  The entire stack they are using is illustrated in the following image.

Image Source: screenshot from

Another customer that was showcased in the Day 2 Keynote was Illyriad Games, makers of a massive online multi-player game called Age of Ascent. Ben Adams, CTO at Illyriad Games describes some of the reasons why they chose Azure Service Fabric as their underlying platform: “We wanted to create a game of such massive scale that’s never been created before. We really wanted to run it naturally in the browsers. We were building a system that could cope with huge demand and huge concurrency. Huge Availability. Around about the same time, Service Fabric came about. Our microservices in Azure Service Fabric will automatically scale up, begin unfolding space and seamlessly distribute the load across all the nodes in the system.”

For Illyriad Games they have tested up to 50 000 concurrent players within the same battle arena.  During this time they were handling 267 million application messages per second.

Within Azure Service Fabric they have built their microservices using ASP.Net Core which has proved to be 6 times faster than Node.js for them.

In addition to a runtime platform, Azure Service Fabric provides a management experience, through Service Fabric Explorer, where the health and performance of the Service Fabric Cluster can be monitored as illustrated in the following image.

Image Source: screenshot from

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