When Microsoft’s cloud platform, then known as Windows Azure, was first launched, it was strictly a Platform-as-a-Service offering. Apps written for Azure were deployed onto Windows and used Azure’s services such as storage, queues, and SQL databases. But management of the operating system and configuration of the virtual hardware beneath it was strictly Microsoft’s concern. In 2012, Azure added a VM role providing Infrastructure-as-a-Service capabilities in addition to the existing PaaS services.
Azure CTO Mark Russinovich announced today a new iteration the Azure PaaS offering, with Azure Service Fabric. Service Fabric provides a set of tools to do things such as offer smarter deployment with rolling upgrades to new application versions, health monitoring, automated rollbacks to earlier versions, scaling, and load balancing.
Service Fabric is built for “microservices,” where the functional parts that make up a service are split into small units that can be individually deployed, updated, distributed, and scaled. These smaller units are run in containers rather than directly on VMs. Service Fabric can handle the management and scaling of these containers, with potentially hundreds of containerized microservices running on a single VM.
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