Azure Service Fabric enters public beta for Linux workloads

It's designed to help companies create microservice-driven applications

Developers who want help running Linux- and Java-based microservice applications will have a new Microsoft service to take for a spin. 

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it's launching the public beta of Service Fabric support for running applications on the popular open source operating system with the popular programming language. It's an expansion of Service Fabric's capabilities, at a time when Microsoft is spending more effort to support Linux in addition to platforms it controls.

Service Fabric on Linux was first announced at the company's Build developer conference in San Francisco earlier this year, and the public beta will be made available on Sept. 26, during Microsoft's Ignite conference.

Service Fabric is designed to simplify the process of making and managing applications that use microservice architecture. Microservices are what they sound like -- small, purpose-built services that can then be put together into a larger application. Microsoft's service helps simplify the complexity of operating microservice-based applications by managing things like health monitoring of services, continuous deployment, and container orchestration. 

Supporting Java and Linux in Service Fabric opens it up to a new set of programmers and companies, at a time when more businesses are looking into using microservices. Building applications on top of microservice architecture brings significant benefits for helping applications scale and evolve quickly. 

Microsoft has been using microservice architecture for a decade now, according to Corey Sanders, Azure's director of program management. Service Fabric is descended from internal tools that the tech giant built to run mission-critical workloads, and the service is used to operate products like Cortana and Skype for Business. 

Sanders explained that uptake of Service Fabric is going to be slower than some other cloud services because it's really built for building and running new applications, rather than converting existing apps to use microservice architecture. But it's built to support projects built by both novices and experts when creating those applications. 

Microsoft is also working to make it possible for companies to deploy Service Fabric in multi-cloud, hybrid cloud and private cloud scenarios. The company already offers a standalone installer for spinning up a Service Fabric cluster for Windows and .NET outside of Azure and plans to release a similar installer for Linux in the future. 

In the future, Service Fabric for Linux will also support .NET Core in addition to Java, but the team is focusing on one operating system/language combination at a time right now, Sanders said.

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