Introduction to Microsoft Codename Dublin

I’m am currently working on a project to evaluate the new Microsoft server product Dublin, often referred to as the new “Microsoft Application Server”. Here is a little introduction and a handful of useful resources.

1. What is Dublin?

Dublin is a piece of Software which will be integrated into Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). Dublin supports deployment, configuration, management and scalability of applications developed with Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). The official Microsoft whitepaper about Dublin gives a good overview about their intentions. Go to the official Dublin website (http://www.microsoft.com/net/dublin.aspx) and take a glance at the Dublin Overview Whitepaper.

2. Why do we need Dublin?

Microsoft claims that lots of today’s applications run in a highly distributed environment. In the age of Service Orientation (SOA) these applications can be referred to as “Composite Applications”.

Therefore, the above mentioned task of deployment, configuration, management and scalability become very complex, taking into account that most of these applications run on several computer in geographically distributed locations.

Dublin’s goal is to facilitate these tasks and support handling of Distributed Workflows and Services.

3. Dublin Features

Dublin will simplify working with WF Workflow and WCF Services in the following areas:

  • Deployment: Dublin will allow you to directly package and deploy your software from VS2010.
  • Hosting
  • Service Visibility and Configuration: Dublin provides a graphical UI for WCF Service Configuration
  • Monitoring: Dublin provides access to all the monitoring features of WF/WCF including improvements coming in .NET 4.0
  • Workflow Instance Management: A major feature of Dublin and WF 4.0 are improvements in the hosting of long-running workflows. Long-running referring to weeks or months. This includes persisting of such workflows.

4. Look and Feel

Check out Microsoft’s Chris Chraft’s blog post to see some screenshots: http://blogs.technet.com/chriscraft/archive/2008/11/09/a-quick-look-at-the-iis-manager-tooling-experience.aspx

5. How does it work under the hood?

As mentioned before, Dublin is an extension to IIS and will therefore be accessed using the IIS Manager. Dublin is planned to be included in the Microsoft Server product family. Regarding the hosting capabilities, Dublin uses Windows Activation Service (WAS). The development team aims at making Dublin/WAS hosting for WCF Services the number one choice as opposed to self-hosting, Windows NT Service hosting or IIS hosting (for HTTP Services).

6. When will Dublin be released?

Dublin relies on WCF 4.0 and WF 4.0. So far, Dublin has been released as an early CTP at the PDC in 2008. Future releases will follow the releases of .NET 4.0 by a couple of months. The next CTP is scheduled for August/September this year, Beta1 for 2010 Q1, RTM for 2010 Q10 (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/dublin/thread/deffd565-8530-48a7-b043-cc1aee77de9e).

7.  Dublin and BizTalk

Certain functionality in Dublin (Hosting of Workflows) can be found as well in the Microsoft BizTalk products. It is important to note that Dublin will NOT replace BizTalk. Microsoft predicts scenarios where Dublin and BizTalk will work hand-in-hand. Dublin will act as application server and BizTalk will take care of the integration and communication issues.

8. Dublin and Oslo and Geneva

Microsoft Codename Oslo, Microsoft’s general purpose modeling platform will be able to target multiple environments. Dublin will be one of them. Meaning that Oslo will support modeling of applications that will be deployed to the Dublin application server (As opposed to applications that will be deployed to Windows Azure, for example).

Microsoft Codename Geneva, Microsoft’s new Identity and Access Management Platform will provide security features to WCF-Services. Therefore, I expect Geneva to support Dublin, as well. However, up to today I could not find very much information about how Dublin and Geneva will work together.

9. Resources:

Dublin Portal http://www.microsoft.com/net/dublin.aspx
Dublin MSDN Forum http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/dublin/threads
Oslo Portal http://www.microsoft.com/soa/products/oslo.aspx
Oslo MSDN Forum http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/oslo/threads
Geneva Portal http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/geneva/en/us/default.aspx
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