Windows Azure – All your needs at one place!

Do You Need

Managed Services –Yes

Virtual Machines – Yes

Host WebSites – Yes

Databases – Yes

And much more….

I had always been little reluctant to push myself and explore the cloud computing world until recently, when I made up mind to enable the 90-day free trail membership that Microsoft offers on Windows Azure.

I have been working on Preview mode and so far, I am absolutely amazed by how easy it is create/delete the Virtual machines with the preferred pre-set images. If ever you need to scale, you can achieve it dynamically.

I deployed my own website to test the power of the Azure tools and so far, there has been no bottle necks.

With the current pricing, I believe it is a good news for the start-ups out there to begin using it and eventually scale as the need arises.


Learning AppFabric

Interested in learning Windows Server AppFabric? I hope so. It will be the backbone of the on-premise version of BizTalk in the coming years and based on news out of the PDC it looks like it will be moving to Azure (in some form) as well.

There are many resources out there for learning Windows Server AppFabric. However, not all of them are equal and you can spend a lot of time meandering through material without making a lot of progress.

Below is my suggested path for coming up to speed on it with the least amount of effort. First, you need to be familiar with some foundation items:

  • There are new features in WCF 4.0. This whitepaper is a great way to become familiar with it:
    • One thing to keep in mind is that not all of the concepts are that relevant to Windows Server AppFabric. Focus on the new configuration features if you don’t have a lot of time.
  • Also note that both of the whitepapers mentioned above have sections on Workflow Services. Workflow Services existed in .NET 3.5 but have been improved in .NET 4.0.
  • You must also understand IIS 7.0/7.5. If you are not familiar with it, head on over to You’ll need to be familiar with things like Sites, ApplicationPools, Applications, AutoStart, Bindings, MSDeploy, hierarchical configuration with web.configs, etc.

Now you have the foundation you need to start learning about Windows Server AppFabric. This foundation is very important because if you don’t have it, you won’t be able to understand what Windows Server AppFabric is bringing to the table. It will also be more difficult to troubleshoot with out this foundation.

After you have the foundation items covered move on to learning about AppFabric itself:

That’s a lot of material. You will not be an expert after this but you should have a solid understanding of Windows Server AppFabric and be able to use it.

Microsoft Application Infrastructure Technologies.

Being a BizTalk Evangelist, It makes me happy to se BizTalk Server is standing audaciously alongside “Server AppFabric” and “Azure AppFabric”.


Click here to know what I am talking about!

Click here to read more about Middleware from Microsoft



Pricing and Licensing

BizTalk Server

Enterprise : $44,228

Standard : $10,138


Volla No Cost?

Windows Server AppFabric is free, so there’s no licensing ‘cost’ involved – it’s treated as an add-on to Windows/the .NET framework. The Azure AppFabric SDK does come with a license which states what you can redistribute, but the licence screen in the Windows Server AppFabric installer refers you to the Windows license.

However, while AppFabric has no cost implications in and of itself, if you want to use the high availability features in an AppFabric cache, all cache hosts must be running Windows Server Enterprise Edition. There are more details on this here (para. 3), this also refers you to the installation guide (although having just read through the installation guide again I couldn’t see this restriction mentioned anywhere).

Download it here


How to configure AppFabric?

Install AppFabric using the link

See the below video for AppFabric configuration steps

Video details the AppFabric Configuration Steps



For additional learning use:-