Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server Ends Support 4/2/2016

**UPDATE** AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server Support Lifecycle has been changed to 4/11/2017, please see new blog post for more information

Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server will end Microsoft Support one year from today’s announcement, which dates April 2, 2016.

AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server provides hosting, management and caching capabilities for Web applications and middle-tier services. This tool makes it easier to build, scale and manage applications, in particular those built using ASP.NET, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF).

Microsoft recommends all applications currently using AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server to migrate off this technology by April 2, 2016, following the below suggestions.

Application Cache:

Microsoft Azure Redis Cache is based on the popular open source Redis Cache. It gives you access to a secure, dedicated Redis cache, managed and fully supported by Microsoft, so you can focus on your application rather than the infrastructure. We recommend all Microsoft AppFabric customers using Cache to move to Microsoft Azure Redis Cache.

For those who require on premise caching solution, Redis on Windows is available from MSOpen Tech. Microsoft Azure Redis Cache is built off this Windows port, which will continue to be updated alongside improvements for the service.

For migration to Redis, customers should review the following guide: Migrate from Managed Cache Service to Azure Redis Cache

For hosting Redis yourself, while most customers are very satisfied with the level of support provided from open source community, if you require an official support channel for your caching technology, we recommend to look into NCache or any other Caching solution.


The hosting functionality provided by Microsoft AppFabric for Windows Server is an additional layer built on top of Internet Information Services (IIS) to help simplify the management of services and hosting services on IIS. Customers can choose to manually host these services on Internet Information Services (IIS).

Management/Monitoring of Services and Workflows:

The monitoring feature in Microsoft AppFabric for Windows Server gives users an administrative UI built into the IIS Manager to configure, control and monitor applications. For applications utilizing the management and monitoring functionality of AppFabric, custom solutions can be built which will produce the same results. These custom solutions can best monitor the information from a specific application or service.

Comments (38)

  1. Jeff Murr says:

    Any talk on how this impacts related MSFT products built on this technology namely SharePoint 2013?  Sounds like there's some time but understanding their road map would be great.  Thanks Erica.

  2. Dr Tone says:

    No hosting workflows replacement.  Not very cool!

  3. Scott Brickey says:

    Ironic, given that SharePoint 2013 uses it somewhat heavily.

    A shame, too… it may not have quite had the adoption, but I've liked it from its early start as xVelocity

  4. John Anderson. says:

    Very insightful and helpful. Thank you!

  5. @JeffMurr- Sharepoint functionality (including the Distributed Cache feature) will be supported under the Microsoft Support lifecycle for Sharepoint 2013.

  6. Andreas Erben says:

    @Jeff Murr: For Workflows: SharePoint 2013 leverages Workflow Manager and an internal workflow hosting for legacy workflows. The support cadence for SharePoint 2013 should be unaffected as far as I understand it..

  7. msdev says:

    Custom solutions can be built to monitor and manage services and workflows? Really? Wasn't it meant to make IIS more a kind of application server? I am just waiting for the when the open source guys completely take over and discontinue IIS and advice everybody to switch over to Apache.

  8. That is going to tell me that the version of SharePoint 2016 has to integrate with Azure Redis. I'm not sure if for enterprises that don't expose Internet access, the integration is feasible.

  9. FlaviuC says:

    What about SharePoint 2016? Any info on that? Would be interesting to see if SP continues with DistCache use…

  10. Andreas says:

    Will the software still be available from Microsoft, or are we allowed to redistribute it?

  11. Eric-D says:

    I've been wrestling with AppFabric cache for so long it caused me to write my own very simple, persistent, key value pair cache service independent of all the built-in .NET caching. I mostly use it to store serialized objects. Message me if you want more information and perhaps a Zip of the code. I use it for completely caching the data structure of my ecommerce catalogs. Plus it would be nice to have someone else look at the code and make suggestions. It needs a small database for configuration as it stands and a folder to persist itself when shutdown.

  12. Workflow Manager? says:

    We have some very serious concerns about the lack of guidance here. Specifically:

    Will Workflow Manager

    1) be discontinued,

    2) become an exclusive SharePoint component

    3) be spinned off from AppFabric and become a separate (and supported) component

    If we have built a solution around WF Manager, is that covered by this advice to migrate off AppFabric?

  13. Rajesh_A_Kumar says:

    Is there any specific reason for the retirement? Are there any other alternative tools that provides monitor, reinitialize work flow etc?

  14. petegoo says:

    Seriously Eric-D? Just stick it on github man.

  15. Stef says:

    There is no real guidance here for those who have invested heavily in Microsoft Workflow and need the AppFabric workflow management service to support scaling out long running processes.

    Will Microsoft release Windows Server AppFabric 1.1 as Open Source, in line with other dropped technologies such as WCF Data Services?

  16. Steve Channell says:

    Does this man that managed cache within Azure (or azure pack for windows) is also being depricated

  17. PaulG says:

    This is a disappointing announcement.  I am most concerned about the functionality in the "AppFabric Workflow Management Service" Windows Service whose Windows Service description reads: "Manages the execution of instance control commands, the recovery of workflow service hosts, and the resumption of instances in the event of expired timers. "

    Without this service, what is the guidance for a solution that must ensure the resumption of instances in the event of expired timers?  I understand that the .Net Framework WF primitives have operations that support building this higher level management functionality around, but it is nice to have a turnkey robust implementation from Microsoft to wrap up that low level complexity, and for my solutions the AppFabric Server Workflow Management Service saved me and my team time from having to implement effectively a clone of that service by hand.  Am I to understand your guidance that I now need to go back and make that time investment which at best will just be our own attempt to mimic the functionality in the Workflow Management Service?  Implementing a system that deals with WF delay activities in workflows that go idle and get unloaded and persisted  (and thus can't rely on in-memory Windows timers) is fairly arcane using the WF functions in the framework, and the AppFabric Workflow Management Service was a really slick implementation that took care of those arcane details.  Please consider that at least in that component of AppFabric Server there is some real value for your customers perhaps overshadowed by the diminished value of caching that overtime saw perhaps better implementations.  Please don't throw out the Workflow WCF Hosting features with the Caching bath water.

    This announcement is disappointing given the enthusiastic introduction of AppFabric server less than 5 years ago by S. Somasegar here,…/windows-server-appfabric-better-faster-cheaper.aspx

  18. @Steve, Managed Cache is support. You can read more…/managed-cache and so is Azure Pack.

  19. C W says:

    We have an enterprise application that relies heavily on Microsoft Workflow and need AppFabric workflow management service to support  long running workflows. While I can write my own, migration now in mid stream is not an exciting proposition.  Any thing MS?

  20. Colin Meade says:

    There needs to be more guidance and engagement from Microsoft on this retirement.

    "For applications utilizing the management and monitoring functionality of AppFabric, custom solutions can be built which will produce the same results."

    I find that unacceptable given that a big part of the AppFabric sell was to provide developers with the plumbing allowing them to concentrate on providing functionality to business users. Advising them to build custom solutions is a step backwards.

  21. Hal Diggs says:

    dang it…

    "monitoring functionality of AppFabric, custom solutions can be built which will produce the same results"

    now I'm supposed to spin up another project for my team? Yup, this is going to go over great in my meeting next week. I love the WCF info this thing kicks out.

  22. Przemek Wasylko says:

    Put it on GiHub, people using it will maintain it.

    Financial, Pharma sector does not like cloud solutions, they want to have their data along with them. Now it seems marketing (cloud, cloud everywhere!) is responsible for such idiotic decision.

  23. Recardo says:

    I wonder if an alternative solution can be found using RESX?

  24. AppFabric User says:

    I was wondering why don't MS make it part of a feature in Windows Server. It is a very useful add-on.

    If not, do it like what the others had suggested, open source it and let the community maintain it.

    It seems like MS nowadays is just focused on ASP.NET and all the open source stuff. They seemed to have forgotten about their Enterprise customers. Look at the recent enhancements to the WCF and WF stack. It is almost non-existent.

  25. Suneet says:

    Ehhh, I used it in my previous engagement heavily for low latency requirements, they will now have to change it.

  26. WOW! says:

    Please why can't you simply bake it into IIS directly via a Windows Update instead of discontinuing it? Many Enterprise applications still rely on the hosting and activation features it offers on top of IIS.

  27. Vote for Open Source availability says:

    If not replaced by another application server, why not provide the code as an Open Source so community can extend support and even add functionalities at least for WCF/WF hosting, WAS AutoStart activation, automatic tracking and logging of them and monitoring console.

    Cache has a suggested replacement but all the other functionalities have not.

  28. aramacciotti says:

    Vote for Open Source release

    I don't see a replacement for hosting WCF/WF services and automatic tracking, nor for WAS AutoStart and monitoring console. Why don't leave community to maintain the code and provide the support at least for those services?

  29. Dam says:

    A one year "notification" might seem long from your perspective, it is actually very short to adequately plan and deliver the changes you suggest in an enterprise context. The fact those changes are purely technical and not adding any business value or feature makes implementing those a pure cost and that is a hard sell internally.

    Also, I am nor sure the line of reasoning that "recommend to look into NCache or any other Caching solution." is what one would expect from Microsoft. Will you soon "recommend to look into MySQL or any other RDBMS solution, OpenERP or any other ERP solution and Nginx or any other Web solution"? Maybe I missed the blog post…

    Make it 2 years at least, or keep it as part of DataCentre only and recognize revenue on it, because it is out there being used and that announcement is just not up to that.

  30. Customer and partner guidance? says:

    Its hard to understand why the workflow monitoring funcionatlity is not being baked into IIS or SCOM, or a feature in Windows. How about the partners that created solutions fully relying on WF Monitoring servisse and now will have extra cost with the cumbersome task of building a "custom solution". And most of these customers are enterprise customers with big applications and big MS Support contracts.

  31. Pierre says:

    Many of my enterprise applications heavily rely on AppFabric Cache and no, you can't easily switch to Redis, which doesn't offer official support and therefore is not relevant.

    Please, open source AppFabric, both components (cache and workflow management), so my company can offer official support to our customers.

    On May 6th, at Ignite conference, Bill Baer announced AppFabric Cache will still be supported by the SharePoint team as part of SharePoint 2016.

    His exact words are: "We'll continue to support it with SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 so that doesn't affect our technologies".

    That means only SP customers will benefit from support, in the context of how AF Cache is used by SP.

    Currently, SharePoint 2013 makes use of the cluster capability of AF Cache, but it doesn't leverage the high availability features (data is NOT replicated between cache hosts during normal operation), therefore support through SP won't even be a partial solution.

    AF Cache is a nice and efficient piece of software, it needs to live its life out in the free world, not to be burried by internal MS strategic decisions.

  32. Wes Nur says:

    Interestingly, Microsoft’s proposed AppFabric replacement, Azure Redis Cache, is a cloud-based managed cache service. The on-premises version of Redis is not supported by Microsoft. And, using it as a managed cache service will result in no control over the cache and you are restricted to a simpler version of the client-side API.

    NCache Open Source gives the .NET developer community unrestricted access to the industry’s oldest and most popular distributed cache. Due to its Open Source nature .NET developers have access to a truly elastic .NET distributed cache that fits in nicely with their application’s .NET stack.…/NCache

  33. Interestingly, Microsoft’s proposed AppFabric replacement, Azure Redis Cache, is a cloud-based managed cache service. On-premises version of Redis is not supported by Microsoft and using Azure Redis Cache as a managed cache service restricts to a simpler version of the client-side API and lose fine grain control over cache.

    NCache is a .NET open source distributed cache which is both open source and elastic and it nicely fits in with their application’s .NET stack.

    Check it out on GitHub:…/NCache

  34. csrowell says:

    And what does this mean for Service Bus for Windows Server (On-Premise Service Bus) which uses it??

  35. Chris Villinger says:

    Full disclosure: I work for ScaleOut Software.

    As a certified Microsoft Solution Provider, we’d like to offer some additional assistance to the community. For those of you looking for a commercially supported, on-premise or cloud alternative to Windows Server AppFabric (WSAF) Cache and Microsoft Azure Redis Cache, we would like to offer a migration option to ScaleOut StateServer [1] or ScaleOut SessionServer [2]. We put together a simple migration guide and architectural comparison [3] to help folks struggling with the AppFabric end-of-life. This will allow customers to continue using their application caching setup in both cloud and on-premise situations.

    For those who don’t want to have to completely rewrite their application code from the ground up, we also created a WSAF Caching Compatibility Library [4][5] for applications that make use of the Azure-compliant subset of Windows Server AppFabric (WSAF) Caching APIs. We use the same class definitions, so you only need to change the references and recompile. Give it a try to see if it works for your application. Do note however, this is a bare-minimum approach and does not expose all the additional functionality that the platform provides; for example, there is a cool object browser you can use to easily visualize your object store for validation.

    Please have a look at our AppFabric migration resources at for the detailed migration guide and the compatibility library for common DataCache methods.

    Let us know what you think. Is this useful?






  36. Chris Villinger says:

    We would also like to invite you to a Tweet Chat we are hosting on this topic on Thursday May 28 @ 9AM PDT (12PM EDT).   RSVP:   #ScaleOutChat

  37. AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server Support Lifecycle has been updated to 4/11/2017, please see this blog post for more information:…/appfabric-1-1-for-windows-server-support-lifecycle-extension-4-11-2017.aspx

  38. Keith Doyle says:

    It's just this sort of thing which sours me on considering adopting new Microsoft technologies.   We've used the Always On feature of App Fabric to essentially, create Windows services that are always running (or potentially are) and have a web interface, without actually making it a windows service.   Is that what is referred to as "hosting" here?  That's not at all clear.   We previously had done our own web listener process within a Windows service, rolling our own URL parsing, listening and connection thread handling.   It's looking like we should go back to that in the future.   When the press release here refers to "manually host", I have no idea what they are referring to there.  Sounds to me that means going back to our own home-grown web server logic like we did before…