Welcome .NET! Native Windows Server Support in Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.10 Plus More Azure Goodness

April 5, 2017 John Allwright

When it comes to choice of programming languages, most large companies are actually “Polyglot”; using a range of technologies and languages including both Java and .NET to build enterprise applications. How they arrived at this state, the ratio of the two and their function, is as varied and unique as your fingerprint. However, this mixed mode is the reality for most enterprises. Stack Overflow’s latest insight survey reports both Java and .NET enjoy usage by 30-40% of developers. Stack Overflow also reported that Microsoft Visual Studio continues to be the most popular IDE among all developers. So it makes sense that, having chosen Pivotal Cloud Foundry as their cloud-native platform, organizations want to consolidate all applications on a single platform, regardless of language, tools, operating system or cloud.

Pivotal’s vision is to provide first-class support for all developers, whether Java, .NET, Windows Server or Linux. And, working with Microsoft, our vision has transformed into reality, providing comprehensive support for the thriving .NET, Windows Server and Azure ecosystem in Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.10. And, while the .NET world has undergone something of a revolution with the introduction of the cross-platform subset .NET core on Linux, Pivotal Cloud Foundry also now supports the full .NET framework in the 1.10 release. Here’s a helpful summary of when you should use each.NET version.

This release of Pivotal Cloud Foundry comes with a grab-bag of goodies for Microsoft developers working with .NET, operations teams managing Windows Server instances and both when deploying to Microsoft Azure. Let’s take a peek inside!


1. New “PCF Runtime for Windows” Operations Manager Tile

Operations Manager and BOSH are the peanut butter and jelly in your distributed application provisioning sandwich. Operations Manager’s Tile-based UX makes it easy to manage, deploy and monitor while under the covers BOSH does the heavy lifting of provisioning resources from the IaaS, configuring servers based on stemcell images, and keeping VMs and processes running.

Building on our previously released beta of BOSH for Windows, PCF 1.10 includes a new “PCF Runtime for Windows” Operations Manager tile.

This tile automates the provisioning of Diego cells running on BOSH-managed Windows Server VMs running side-by-side with PCF’s Elastic Runtime. Once created, the Windows Diego Cells (and running applications) are treated the same as those running on Linux hosts.

Windows Server VM or process died? BOSH will restart just the same as for Linux.

With this setup, developers simply “cf push” their app to Windows Server or Linux and PCF does the routing to ensure their code runs in a container, on the right OS. For .NET developers this means full PCF support pushing full, native .NET applications onto Windows.

Windows Server images are stored as stemcells with the BOSH agent pre-installed. You'll find Windows Server 2012R2 stemcells already available and we’ll be adding future support for Windows Server 2016 and OpenStack.

As a bonus and to aid migration, we’ll also make the “PCF Runtime for Windows” Tile available for PCF 1.9 with a subset of features available in the 1.10 version.

To get started, download the “PCF Runtime for Windows” tile from PivNet, and grab a Windows Server stemcell from your cloud provider. On-premises you can build & distribute your own stemcells using the Builder under the terms of your Microsoft license agreement.


2. Hosted Web Core Buildpack - run IIS apps without IIS!

Buildpacks provide framework and runtime support for your applications, building on the base OS image in a stemcell. When you “cf push” an application, Cloud Foundry automatically detects which buildpack is required and installs it on the Diego cell or Droplet Execution Agent (DEA) where the application needs to run. With support for Windows Server specific buildpacks in Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.10, first out of the gate is the IIS Hostable Web Core buildpack. This enables you to run any IIS application and core IIS functionality within your own process or container. Get started with the HWC buildpack on GitHub.


3. .NET Microservices and Netflix technology in production - Steeltoe goes GA!

A microservices architecture promises more agility for your business, but at a cost of greater complexity. These systems are far from trivial and have complex interaction patterns that require a new way of thinking. Netflix was a trailblazer in this space, and they’ve constructed an impressive array of tools to deliver reliable, distributed microservices at scale.

Pivotal worked with Netflix to take the best of their open source projects and bake them into Spring Cloud. Java developers now have an enviable collection of tools for building microservice- based apps at their disposal, consumable through a simple code annotation. We thought that .NET developers should get in on some of this action and so we built Steeltoe. This open source effort is all about bringing Spring Cloud compatibility to .NET teams. With the GA of Steeltoe, Pivotal Cloud Foundry customers are now fully entitled to support and maintenance for this .NET microservices toolkit.

Steeltoe already includes 3 key .NET extensions: service discovery (based on Netflix Eureka), configuration store and cloud connectors. These are critical components of a microservices architecture, and .NET developers need access to the best implementations available. Check out our team members being interviewed about the project on Microsoft’s “On .NET” show.

Get started with Steeltoe today!


4. Azure Blob Storage - simple can be better

PCF’s multi-cloud capability means you can shop around cloud providers for the best fit for your business. But when you’ve made that choice you often want to make the most of the native services provided by that cloud. That’s why we’ve provided the option to use Azure’s Blob Storage service for the Cloud Foundry Cloud Controller, providing greater availability, scalability and eliminating the need for an additional NFS server in your Cloud Foundry footprint.

The Cloud Controller Blobstore contains critical components including buildpacks, droplets, packages, and the resource pool.

Check out the Cloud Foundry documentation for background and configuration instructions. The BOSH deployment template (multi-node) is updated, using Azure Blob storage by default.


5. Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Microsoft Azure - best practice reference architectures

PCF on Azure is a popular choice - we’ve discussed ‘why’ a few times before. Unsurprisingly, customers have asked for our advice and experience on how to best deploy PCF atop Azure.

Ask and ye shall receive!  We teamed up with our friends from Microsoft to catalog our collective learnings and best practices. The end result: a new whitepaper with practical details on how to best get PCF up and running on Azure.

Download the paper here, and we’ll you show you:

  • Why Pivotal Cloud Foundry on Azure helps your organization develop software faster and run more securely.

  • How to best deploy PCF on Microsoft Azure and hybrid deployments with on-premises datacenters.

  • Developing using Microservice and event-driven architectures including a sample application architecture.

This paper is a must-read as you plan your Pivotal Cloud Foundry deployment on Azure!

Read about .NET development with Pivotal Cloud Foundry in this blog post

Learn more about Pivotal Cloud Foundry 1.10 in the GA announcement


About the Author

John Allwright

John works on the Spring product team at VMware.

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