Windows Server AppFabric extends Windows Server to provide enhanced hosting, management, and caching capabilities for Web applications and middle-tier services.
AppFabric adds as an extension to your IIS, WAS to Host and Monitor the Windows Workflow (WF) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) based services.
The Key features provided by AppFabric are:
- Hosting Feature
- Caching Feature
App Fabric Hosting Feature:
The AppFabric hosting features add service management extensions to Internet Information Services (IIS), Windows Process Activation Service (WAS), and the .NET Framework 4. This includes Hosting Services and Hosting Administration tools that make it easier to deploy, configure, and manage Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) based services.
Windows Server AppFabric hosting features enhance the hosting of .NET Framework version 4 Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) services in the Windows Process Activation Service (WAS) by providing the following capabilities:
- Simplified deployment and management of WCF and WF services hosted in WAS
- Simplified configuration of persistence for durable workflows
- Customizable tracking profiles that allow you to capture only the data you need
- Dedicated, queryable storage for tracked data
- Windows PowerShell cmdlets that allow you to create custom management scripts
- Customizable monitoring of hosted services
- Supports Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) through Windows IPv6 stack
- Automatically starting applications to minimize service latency
Note: This feature requires Windows Server 2008 R2 or later or Windows 7 or later
AppFabric hosting features rely on WAS to provide the hosting environment for WCF and WF services, and extends the IIS Management console to provide management and configuration tools for WAS-hosted services.
Key Capabilities under the AppFabric Hosting Feature:
- Application Deployment
The IIS Web deployment tool, MSDeploy, provides simple package-based deployment functionality that can be used from a command line, the IIS Management Console, or Visual Studio 2010
- Application Configuration
AppFabric provides the following functionality for configuration of hosted applications and services
- Simplified application configuration
- WCF configuration options provided through the IIS Management console
- WF persistence configuration
- Windows PowerShell cmdlets
- Application Monitoring
AppFabric Hosting Services also makes it easier to monitor your applications by capturing tracing information emitted at runtime and storing it in the monitoring database
- Application Hosting
AppFabric Hosting Services works with WAS to provide a robust hosting environment for middle-tier WCF and WF applications
AppFabric Caching Feature
The AppFabric caching features add a distributed, in-memory object cache to Windows Server that makes it easier to scale out high-performance .NET applications, especially ASP.NET applications.
AppFabric caching features provide a distributed in-memory cache platform for developing scalable, available, and highly-performant applications. The following are the key features of the AppFabric caching features are:
- Caches any serializable CLR object and provides access through simple cache APIs
- Supports enterprise scale: tens to hundreds of computers
- Configurable to run as a service accessed over the network
- Supports common cache configurations
- Supports dynamic scaling by adding new nodes
- A high availability feature which supports continuous availability of your cached data by storing copies of that data on separate cache hosts
- Automatic load balancing
- Integration with administration and monitoring tools such as Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) and System Center.
- Provides tight integration with ASP.NET to be able to cache ASP.NET session data in the cache without having to write it to source databases. It can also be used as a cache for application data to be able to cache application data across the entire Web farm.
AppFabric Caching Services fuses memory across multiple computers to give a single unified cache view to applications. Applications can store any serializable CLR object without worrying about where the object gets stored. Scalability can be achieved by simply adding more computers on demand. AppFabric Caching Services also allows for copies of data to be stored across the cluster, thus protecting data against failures. AppFabric Caching Services includes an ASP.NET session provider object that enables ASP.NET session objects to be stored in the distributed cache without having to write to databases. This increases the performance and scalability of ASP.NET applications