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Differences between On-Premises AppFabric 1.1 Caching and Azure Managed Cache Service

Updated: August 31, 2013

In most cases, Managed Cache Service features map to the features provided by the on-premises caching solution of Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. For more information about Windows Server AppFabric caching features, see Windows Server AppFabric Caching Concepts. Because of this, you can sometimes understand the architecture and behavior of Managed Cache Service by referencing the on-premises caching documentation. But there are differences. This topic attempts to provide an overview of where Managed Cache Service differs from the on-premise caching solution.

Cache Provisioning and Administration

With the on-premises solution of Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server, you have to obtain machines, install AppFabric Server on each machine, and then create and manage the cache cluster across those machines.

In the cloud solution, Microsoft Azure handles most of the administration tasks for setting up the cache. With Managed Cache Service you provision your cache in the Microsoft Azure Management Portal, and that provides you with the connection and security information required to use the cache. With Managed Cache Service, monitoring the health and performance of your cache is also done in the Management Portal, and because Managed Cache Service is a managed service, any problems with the cache service are proactively identified and fixed for you. For more information, see Configure a Cache for Azure Cache Service and Monitor Azure Managed Cache Service.

Unlike Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server, Windows PowerShell is not used to manage the provisioned caches or the cache cluster. With Microsoft Azure, these tasks are done for you. Also, with the on-premise solution, you can grant access to the cache cluster to specific Windows identities, such as a domain account. But with Managed Cache Service, the security model is based on access keys. For more information, see Security Model for Azure Managed Cache Service.

ASP.NET Caching

Managed Cache Service provides both a session state provider and an output cache provider. These providers are very similar to the ones provided as part of Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server, and should be able to be migrated with minimal changes. For more information, see ASP.NET 4 Cache Providers for Azure Managed Cache Service.

Comparison of On-Premises AppFabric and Cache Service Caching Features

In most cases, Managed Cache Service features map to the features provided by the on-premises caching solution of Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. The following list describes some of these differences.

Cache Offerings

Managed Cache Service is available in the following three offerings.

  • Basic - Cache in sizes from 128MB to 1GB in 128MB increments, with one default named cache

  • Standard - Cache in sizes from 1GB to 10GB in 1GB increments, with support for notifications and up to ten named caches

  • Premium - Cache in sizes from 5GB to 150GB in 5GB increments, with support for notifications, high availability, and up to ten named caches

noteNote
Each offering differs in terms of pricing and features. For more information see Cache Service Pricing FAQ. Additional details are also provided in the following Configure the Cache section in this migration guide.

Most of the cache features of Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server are available in Managed Cache Service (with the exception of read-through and write-behind), but not all Managed Cache Service features are available in all Managed Cache Service cache offerings. If your application uses notifications then you should choose the either the Standard or Premium cache offering. If your cache has high availability enabled then you should choose the Premium cache offering.

If you are migrating a solution from Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server Caching to Managed Cache Service, see Migrate from AppFabric Caching to Azure Managed Cache Service.

Notifications

Notifications work the same between Managed Cache Service and Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. In Managed Cache Service, Notifications are only supported in the Standard and Premium cache offerings. For more information, see Notifications for Azure Managed Cache Service.

Expiration and Eviction

Expiration and eviction work the same with Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server and Managed Cache Service with one exception. Managed Cache Service introduces a sliding expiration policy that renews the expiration time for an item on each access. This is different than the absolute expiration policy. Users now have the option of specifying either policy.

For more information, see Expiration and Eviction for Azure Managed Cache Service.

High Availability

High availability works the same between Managed Cache Service and Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server. High availability is only available in the Premium cache offering, and is not available in the Basic or Standard cache offerings. For more information, see Cache Offerings for Azure Managed Cache Service and High Availability for Azure Managed Cache Service.

Regions and Tags

Regions and tagging are the same between Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server and Managed Cache Service. For more information, see Regions and Tagging for Azure Managed Cache Service

API Support

In most cases, you can use the same APIs to write cache clients that use Managed Cache Service or Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server, with the exception of read-through and write-behind, which are not supported in Managed Cache Service.

See Also

Concepts

Cache

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