Microsoft open sources its Service Fabric microservices platform

Microsoft is opening Service Fabric under an MIT license and moving its development to GitHub, while still maintaining control of the product (for now, at least).
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has been open sourcing a lot of its software, services and even its documentation as of late. But some of the pieces the company is releasing this way are more noteworthy and surprising than others.


Yesterday, March 14, officials blogged that the company is open sourcing Service Fabric. Service Fabric is going open source under the MIT license and "over the coming months" will transition to an open development process on GitHub, the team said.

A quick refresher: Service Fabric (first known as "Windows Fabric" is Microsoft's Azure platform-as-a-service 2.0 microservices platform. Service Fabric also competes to some degree with Kubernetes, as both platforms can act as orchestrators, packaging, deploying and maintaining applications and containers.

Microsoft officials have referred to Service Fabric as its "secret sauce," and use it internally to run pieces of the Azure core, Skype for Business, Intune, Event Hubs, Azure SQL DB Cosmos DB, Cortana and more. Microsoft has made available Service Fabric for Windows and Service Fabric for Linux, as well as Service Fabric on Windows Server and on Linux in Azure. Officials have said in the past plan to make Service Fabric available on non-Microsoft clouds.

As of yesterday, the Linux version of the Service Fabric repo and related build and test tools are available on on GitHub, allowing interested parties to run basic tests, open issues and submit pull requests. Microsoft is working on getting the Windows version migrated to GitHub, according to its blog post.

Over the past year, Microsoft open sourced various pieces of Service Fabric, including Reliable Services, Reliable Actors and its ASP.NET Core integration libraries. Microsoft's plan is to open source the entire Service Fabric runtime, plus a build environment for Linux and Windows. The company will continue to support all Service Fabric products -- Service Fabric in Azure and all standalone offerings -- even once Service Fabric is on GitHub.

Microsoft plans to continue to maintain control over Service Fabric even as it is open sourced, at least for the time being. From the company's blog post:

"Microsoft owns the project and the Service Fabric team will be the governing body that decides the direction of the project. As the governing body, it will be our responsibility to follow the guidance of the community. That said, we're not ruling out the possibility of donating it to a foundation in the future."

Speaking of containers and tigers and bears, Microsoft recently made a change to its documentation around its new dedicated Azure Container Service for Kubernetes. Instead of continuing to offer two different services both called Azure Container Service (with the other supporting Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesosphere DC/OS), Microsoft is planning to phase out support of the original ACS.

The original ACS is being deprecated and retired, officials recently confirmed in Microsoft documentation. (Thanks to Directions on Microsoft's Jim Gaynor for the find.) The plan is to start deprecating ACS "around the time" the Kubernetes version of the service is generally available -- something for which Microsoft has not provided a date. Developers will have 12 months to migrate from the original ACS to the Kubernetes container service, according to the documentation.

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