New Microsoft .NET Core Changes Many Application Responsibilities

My company is devoted to the Microsoft .NET platform and the Azure cloud services.  Cloud services are not simple even though the hype seems to indicate such.  Cloud applications are different (or should be) to take advantage of cloud services.  Writing cloud applications is not an extension of yesterday’s coding methods.  Supporting and release management of cloud applications is also different from prior systems.

Intact Partners produces software application platform services and development automation software called PowerLine with Compose. The major advantage of PowerLine platform is performance and cost enhancements at development and with on-going application maintenance.  PowerLine can reduce development coding effort by as much as 80% through its robotics.  Below I hope to show you why PowerLine with Compose is a sound decision.

It seems to me many people like the “New Microsoft” and its new open source .NET model for application development.  The old .NET Framework is now 15 years old and still tied directly to Windows OS’s.  The new .NET Core is a ground up rewrite that separates .NET from Windows making a cross platform development environment for other competing OS’s such as iOS and Linux and other languages such as Node, PHP, Java and more.  That is generally great news to the non-Microsoft community.  I happen to agree even though I am a .NET/C# developer.

IMPACT

So things have changed and .NET Core is now the shining light as the centerpiece of the .NET development effort at Microsoft.  If you are a developer or a business person with applications written with the .NET Framework you should take heed.  Your job is changing.

Lets quickly review Microsoft official position, CEO Satya Nadella continues to declare “Mobile First, Cloud First World”.  This simply means that Microsoft is committed to Azure and Windows 10 with its money.  Azure is Microsoft’s “open cloud platform” meaning Azure will run other operating systems non-Windows.  Microsoft wants apps to run on Azure supporting Windows 10 regardless of the OS.  Solution: create a single code base supporting Microsoft’s goals.  This code base is .NET Core.

Even though the company promised over a year ago support for .NET Framework 4.6.2 in Azure it still is not available.  Now, the older Azure services supporting .NET Framework are listed as “classic”.  One likely should conclude, Microsoft is not “innovating” with .NET Framework anymore (no investment in new features).

Read this 12/2014 quote from Microsoft , “The .NET Framework is still the platform of choice for building rich desktop and .NET Core does not change that” [emphasis added].  This same statement was repeated in 7/2015.  A discerning developer should quickly see that mobile, server, web, and cloud were not mentioned in the statement.  If you are a Windows desktop developer only then you are OK with .NET Framework.  The rest of us should be developing .NET Core.

AREAS of CONCERN

I will not cover .NET Core in detail, ample coverage is being done by Microsoft on MSDN and the community at large.  What I want to impress upon you is the shift in responsibilities occurring with .NET Core implementations.  There are many structural changes in .NET Core.  Development is similar but it is different significantly enough that old development habits will have to be broken.  Update and release patterns are significantly altered.  The alterations are subtle if you are not tuned-in to Microsoft’s release pattern changes.

Microsoft release pattern changes. All operating system updates are now only released as cumulative updates.  Immediately this affects all applications impacted by system patches which also includes security and compliance patches.  In the past where applications were dedicated to Windows servers the patches were generally applied by the server administrators. Microsoft fixed a real issue with this method where .NET Framework updates broke existing applications in 2010.  The .NET Framework 4.0 release allowed side-by-side installs of the framework on the same machine.  The problem is not the .NET Framework.  The issues going forward for applications is .NET Core does not depend at all on Windows Server and any of the installed frameworks.  In fact .NET Core does not depend on Windows OS of any kind and .NET Core does not need .NET Framework installed on the server as in the past.

What this means.  The responsibility to update/patch your application shifted from the server administrator to the developers or vendors.

With no framework how does this update stuff work?  Simply put you need PowerLine with Compose.  PowerLine is a managed set of cloud services that are maintained as part of the system services powering your application.  Compose is a development and maintenance tool.  Running your application in Compose regularly automatically imports updates and security patches from Microsoft and tests those as part of its operation.

The tide is out, the ballgame is over, cat is out of the bag – however you like to describe things you really can’t control; the fact is every application including most desktop ones are now legacy.  It is not a matter of if you adopt, it is when will you.  A person in my office asked me, “What are they [application owners] going to do?  There are too many applications at risk now.”  I hope you get started with PowerLine with Compose quickly.

Cloud Business and Florida Hurricane Hermine

Eleven (11) years since the last hurricane hits Florida!  My company, Intact Partners, is an “all-in” cloud business.  Office 365 Enterprise, Microsoft Azure, and Visual Studio Online (TFS) its business as usual, almost.  The “almost” is just related to the fact that employees are working from their homes using Skype for Business.  All of our work, applications, and files are safely stored away on the cloud.  We haven’t missed a beat!

So last night hurricane Hermine rolled into Tallahassee, Florida.  We lost power at our house at 1:32 AM. No electrical power, no cable, and no Internet. (No Internet is caused by the wide area power outage taking down backbone services.)  No worries here.  The backup generator is powering the house, Windows Phone is providing Internet service and my Surface Pro 3 is providing all my normal services.  Business as usual for Intact Partners.

When you think you business continuity is better in your local datacenter, my experience says you are wrong!  This in not the first time I have experienced Microsoft Azure coming through in a hurricane.  When I was CIO at Florida Department of State during the 2012 presidential election I had moved the election system to Azure.  Hurricane Sandy rolled over Virginia where one of the Azure datacenters is located.  It happened on the first day of early voting in Florida that year.  To prove the disaster recovery ability of the system we constructed on Azure I “failed-over” our service from the San Antonio Azure center to the Virginia center just after Sandy.  Florida’s election 2012 was run on our Azure disaster site and was a total success.

This morning as I compose this blog, I am at home with my family as are my employees are with theirs, not worried about business interruptions for my company and more importantly I am not fretting about my customers.  Their services are safely and securely operating in Azure.  The people I am praying for this morning are the more than 100 thousand people without power and the crews working hard to restore power and save lives.  I will continue to pray for those who are still in the path of Hermine as it rolls on north up the east coast today.

Larry Aultman, CEO
Intact Partners