Microsoft to expand AppFabric toolset

The company plans to offer the ability to build multi-tier applications directly from an AppFabric console

Microsoft next month will release a set of new components to its Azure AppFabric suite of middleware cloud services that should make it easier for administrators to create and manage cloud applications.

The June release of the Azure AppFabric CTP (Community Technology Preview) will introduce a set of capabilities for building and managing multitier applications from a single console, said Microsoft manager Seetharaman Harikrishnan, Microsoft general manager in the application server group.

Harikrishnan introduced the new technologies during a session at the Microsoft TechEd conference, being held this week in Atlanta.

AppFabric is Microsoft's next-generation middleware platform, designed to allow organizations manage a set of applications that can be run either in-house or on an external implementation of the Microsoft Azure cloud service.

Harikrishnan presented AppFabric as a way to simplify the management of multitier applications. In particular, administrators have had a difficult time managing the middle tier of the classic three-tier applications, Harikrishnan said.

Many organizations have standardized the front end of their applications, usually by using a Web server-based browser interface, he explained. And they have standardized on the back-end databases. But the middle tier remains a management headache. This layer, which Microsoft refers to as middleware, is where the application logic exists, as well as the connecting supporting tools such as user authentication, workflow and the messaging services.

"This middle tier has a left lot to be desired. Each of these [components] has a unique way in which it is bought, developed, deployed, configured, monitored and managed ... This is the problem we call the problem of the silos," Harikrishnan said.

Azure AppFabric could radically simplify this middle tier, he said, namely by offering a set of services that are pre-configured to work together, allowing developers to compose applications merely by choosing the appropriate services.

The Azure AppFabric, part of the Azure platform, already consists of a number of different products, including an access control service, a service bus, a caching mechanism and an integration service, the last of which leverages many of the capabilities in Microsoft Biztalk Server.

The new set of capabilities helps simplify the procedure of cobbling together these other services to form applications. "It should be as easy for you to discover these capabilities and just use them," Harikrishnan said.

The new components include AppFabric Developer Tools and AppFabric Application Manager. The developer tools come in the form of an add-on to the Visual Studio. It will allow developers to compose applications by pulling together different services on a palette. The AppFabric Application Manager is the runtime component, which can monitor the operation and performance of each applications, as well as the base services it uses.

Also necessary to this setup is a new set of .NET Framework extensions, called the Composition Model, which provides the means to describe and stitch together the components in an application.

During TechEd, Microsoft also announced that the company had released a new preview version of the AppFabric service bus as part of the May CTP. The version will allow connectivity through REST (Representational State Transfer) or HTTP APIs (application programming interfaces). Java and PHP-based applications, for instance, could communicate with AppFabric applications through these APIs.

The company expects to formally release AppFabric in 2012, though it has been releasing CTPs over the past few years to help IT professionals learn the new technology.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Enterprise service bussesTECH EDMicrosoftmiddlewaresoftwareEnterprise application integrationdata integration

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?