Cloud computing relies on leveraging multiple integrated services. Using multiple services required a unique set of technologies and capabilities, and F# excels in this domain. With the recent rise of cloud solutions, it is becoming increasingly easy to deploy multiple services “in the cloud”, expanding what is possible both by storing large amounts of data and running heavy computations distributed across clusters of machines.

The combination of built in support for asynchronous workflows, data processing capabilities, computation expressions, extensible syntax, composability, expressiveness for numeric code and more make F# uniquely suited to develop scalable cloud solutions efficiently.

This guide is an overview of the packages and tools for scalable compute, messaging, storage, and data processing with F#, particularly for taking advantage of cloud-computing resources.

For cloud-hosted web programming and services, refer to the Web Programming Guide.

This guide includes resources related to cloud programming with F#. To contribute to this guide, log on to GitHub, edit this page and send a pull request.


Note that the resources listed below are provided only for educational purposes related to the F# programming language. The F# Software Foundation does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. Therefore, mention of commercial products, processes, or services should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation.

Resources for Cloud Programming

Cloud Platforms

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure provides access to Microsoft’s worldwide datacenters through services including virtual machines, geo-redundant storage, database clusters, website deployment and other services.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide a large array of on-demand and managed computing and hosting services. AWS include on-demand and reserved virtual machine instances, a variety of storage options, a content delivery network (CDN), DNS capabilities, and many others. Amazon offers services from multiple data centers around the world.

Amazon offers a .NET SDK for managing the AWS services, described here. This SDK provides facilities for managing storage, compute instances, and other Amazon services.

Some additional resources for using F# and .NET on Amazon’s AWS service:

Containers

Docker

Docker automates the deployment of applications inside software containers, by providing an additional layer of abstraction and automation of operating system–level virtualization on Linux.

F# is available by default in the Docker official images for Mono. There is also an official Docker image for F#, source.

Scalable Distributed Programming and Messaging

Distributed compute problems require a wide range of communication capabilities, ranging from simple command line argument passing to heavily optimized, low-latency interprocess communications. This section lists a wide range of communication libraries available to F#.

FSharp.CloudAgent and F# Mailbox Processor

The F# Mailbox Processor provides an Agent pattern for inter-thread communication directly within the core F# libraries.

FSharp.CloudAgent is a simple-to-use framework that allows the easy creation of distributable pools of workers or agents using F#’s native MailboxProcessor agent framework, using Azure Service Bus to provide a cheap and reliable message bus.

Akka.NET

The Akka.NET framework is an open source toolkit and runtime for building highly concurrent, distributed, and fault-tolerant event-driven applications on .NET and Mono. It is used in production systems by its own contributors.

MBrace

The MBrace framework is an open-source programming model and distributed runtime that enables scalable, fault-tolerant computation and data processing for the .NET/mono frameworks.

Orleans

The Orleans framework provides a straightforward approach to building distributed high-scale computing applications, without the need to learn and apply complex concurrency or other scaling patterns. It was designed for use in the cloud, and has been used extensively in Microsoft Azure. A simple ‘Hello World’ F# sample also available.

Kafka

ZeroMQ

MPI

Ractor.CLR

Ractor.CLR is a Redis-based distributed actors system.

Scalable Data Programming and NoSQL Databases

F# can be used with many scalable data-storage systems. Some are accessible via the Cloud SDKs outlined above. Some further resources for specific systems are:

Hadoop

Hadoop supports data-intensive distributed applications running on large clusters of commodity hardware. Hadoop derives from Google’s MapReduce and Google File System papers.

Storm

Storm is platform for realtime analytics, online machine learning, continuous computation, distributed RPC, ETL, and more. Capable of running on the same infrastructure as Hadoop clusters, it is scalable, fault-tolerant, guarantees your data will be processed, and is easy to set up and operate.

Riak

Riak is a NoSQL database implementing the principles from Amazon’s Dynamo paper:

Cassandra

Cassandra is a distributed database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure.

RavenDB

RavenDB is a scalable document-oriented database.

MongoDB

MongoDB is a cross-platform document-oriented NoSQL database system.

Neo4j

Neo4j is an embedded, disk-based, fully transactional persistence engine that stores data structured in graphs rather than in tables.