The Microsoft Azure platform AppFabric provides secure connectivity as a service to help developers bridge cloud, on-premises, and hosted deployments. You can use AppFabric Service Bus and AppFabric Access Control to build distributed and federated applications as well as services that work across network and organizational boundaries. From simple eventing scenarios to complex protocol tunneling, AppFabric Service Bus gives developers the flexibility to choose how their applications communicate, and to address the challenges presented by firewalls, NATs, dynamic IP, and disparate identity systems. AppFabric Access Control enables simple, secure authorization for RESTful web services that federate with a variety of identity providers.
Microsoft Azure platform AppFabric brings to the table two services, the AppFabric Access Control and AppFabric Service Bus. The Windows Azure platform AppFabric “SDK includes API libraries and samples for building connected applications with the .NET platform. It spans the entire spectrum of today’s Internet applications – from rich connected applications with advanced connectivity requirements to Web-style applications that use simple protocols such as HTTP to communicate with the broadest possible range of clients,” Microsoft stated.
AppFabric Access Control Service takes the pain of authentication and authorization out of your web applications and services. A simple and familiar programming model keeps your code clean and allows you to transition to the declarative model of rules and claims. These rules can be easily configured to meet your applications’current and future access control needs. AppFabric Access Control is based on a claims-based authorization model, which alleviates the need to develop and support a variety of identity providers and architectures.
AppFabric Service Bus alleviates the pain to expose application’s or service’s functionality across a variety of network-related constraints. Once AppFabric Service Bus has established connectivity among applications, it provides flexibility on how applications can communicate with each other. Developers are enabled to build solutions with various communication patterns such as relayed, buffered, bidirectional, publish-subscribe, multicast, streaming and direct-connect. AppFabric Service Bus provides each service a stable Internet-accessible Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that can be accessed by any authorized client application. Powered by AppFabric Access Control, AppFabric Service Bus is able to control services accessibility with heterogeneous identity systems.
“The Windows Azure platform AppFabric April Release is now live. In addition to improvements in stability, scale, and performance, this release addresses two previously communicated issues in the March billing preview release. We recommend that you re-check your usage previews for April 7th or later per the instruction in the March Billing Preview announcement to ensure that you sign up for the appropriate pricing plan in preparation for AppFabric billing that will start after April 9,” a member of the Windows Azure platform AppFabric team revealed.
Service Bus is available at $3.99 per Connection-month, while Access Control comes with a price tag of $1.99 per 100,000 Transactions. However, costs could vary, since AppFabric is fully SLA (service level agreement)-supported. As accounts will begin to accrue charges come April 9th, 2010, customers could pay less if Microsoft’s Cloud platform suffers from downtime. The Redmond company offers a 10% credit if Service Bus and Access Control connectivity respectively goes below 99.95%, and a 25% credit if it’s lower than 99%.
Windows Azure platform AppFabric SDK V1.0 is available for download here