Microsoft improves scaling and speed within Azure


Microsoft has upped its cloud game through two announcements that bring a higher level of scalability and customization to Azure developers, as well as faster storage.

Azure Service Fabric, which was announced today, is a platform for developers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to build highly-scalable cloud services whereas the Azure Premium Storage product that has reached general availability gives more storage options for enterprises.

Service Fabric equips developers with the tools to build cloud apps without having to worry at a later date about scaling or having to completely redesign their architecture to cope with changes further along the line.

Microsoft's intent

Microsoft states the platform "intrinsically understands the available infrastructure resources and needs of applications, enabling automatically updating, self-healing behavior that is essential to delivering highly available and durable services at hyper-scale."

Among the benefits it brings are support for stateless and stateful micro-services, orchestration and automation for micro-services through new app awareness and insights, and it is able to solve hard distributed system problems like state management. It also includes visual studio and command line support to let developers work quickly and easily in the building, testing, debug, deploy and update stages of an app's development.

It has been in production for over five years and already provides the foundational technology for Azure core infrastructure and powers various services such as Skype for Business, InTune, Azure SQL Database, Bing Cortana, and DocumentDB.

One early example of Service Fabric in action is at San Francisco-based software firm OSIsoft where it is used to enhance an on-premise PI real-time data system to allow it to handle data from the Internet of Things. A developer preview of Service Fabric will debut at Build 2015 next week where we can expect to learn more.

Speedy storage

Microsoft also announced the launch of SSD-based Premium Storage to allow enterprises to move demanding applications into the cloud including big data, data warehousing, and online transation processing on SQL Server, MongoDB and Cassandra.

The storage offering uses SSDs instead of hard-disk drives (HDDs) and has been available in preview since December. From June 1 it will cost $17.92 (around £12.02, or AU$25.53) per month for 128GB of storage and 500 IOPS per disk with more storage carrying a heftier price tag.