Windows Azure - AppFabric Introduction

In this article I would like to introduce AppFabric which is another important component in the Windows Azure arena.

What is AppFabric?

AppFabric is a set of hosted services and acts as middleware between Azure applications. The definition from the Windows Azure website defines AppFabric as:

"Windows Azure AppFabric provides a comprehensive cloud middleware platform for developing, deploying and managing applications on the Windows Azure Platform. It delivers additional developer productivity adding in higher-level Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities on top of the familiar Windows Azure application model. It also enables bridging your existing applications to the cloud through secure connectivity across network and geographic boundaries, and by providing a consistent development model for both Windows Azure and Windows Server"

The important services of AppFabric are:

  1. Service Bus
  2. Access Control
  3. Caching
  4. Integration
  5. Composite Application
Windows-zure AppFabric

Service Bus Service

The Service Bus service provides the functionality for secured connectivity and messaging between disconnected applications.

Access Control Service

The Access Control service provides identity and access control to web applications and services. The support included for identity providers like Windows Live ID, Google, Yahoo, Facebook etc.

The flexibilities provided by decoupling of authorization rules and the application. The authorization rules can be deployed in the Access Control. Thus our application will be clean and focusing on just the business needs.

Caching Service

The Caching service provides a distributed, in-memory, highly available caching services. The service provides advantages like no installation and instance management and scalability based on requirement.

Integration Service

The Integration service provides BizTalk Server integration capabilities, integration patterns to ease development. It also provides Business Activity Monitoring and Rules as well as trading partner portal and enabling business to business pipelines.

Composite Application Service

The Composite Application Service eases the deployment of applications that use different Windows Azure services. It contains .NET Framework extensions and Visual Studio integration components to support the features.

These services will be explored in the upcoming articles.

Software Development Kit (SDK) Download

You need to download the AppFabric SDK to start the learning. The download can be done using the url.


The first two downloads are source code samples in C# and Visual Basic language. The last two downloads represent the SDK for 64 bit and 32 bit installations.

Download the SDK based on your processor architecture.


Now run the downloaded executable and you can see the dialog as below.


Click the Next button to continue.

AppFabric in Windows-zure

In the appearing screen above click the Install button to do the installation.


In this article we have seen about AppFabric, various services inside it and the installation of AppFabric SDK.