Orleans: A Framework for Cloud Computing

Sergey Bykov, Alan Geller, Gabriel Kliot, Jim Larus, Ravi Pandya, Jorgen Thelin

MSR-TR-2010-159 |

Superseded by SOCC '12 publication. Please read and cite that publication.

Client + cloud computing is a disruptive, new computing platform, combining diverse client devices – PCs, smartphones, sensors, and single-function and embedded devices – with the unlimited, on-demand computation and data storage offered by cloud computing services such as Amazon’s AWS or Microsoft’s Windows Azure. As with every advance in computing, programming is a fundamental challenge as client + cloud computing combines many difficult aspects of software development.

Orleans is a software framework for building client + cloud applications. Orleans encourages use of simple concurrency patterns that are easy to understand and implement correctly, building on an actor-like model with declarative specification of persistence, replication, and consistency and using lightweight transactions to support the development of reliable and scalable client + cloud software.

Orleans: A Framework for Scalable Client+Cloud Computing

Orleans is a Microsoft Research (MSR) project and managed (.NET) software framework for building client + cloud applications. As outlined in the recently released paper on the topic: Orleans defines an actor-like model of isolated grains that communicate through asynchronous messages and manage asynchronous computations with promises. The isolated state and constrained execution model of grains allows the Orleans runtime to persist, migrate, replicate, and reconcile grain state without programmer intervention. Orleans also provides lightweight, optimistic, distributed transactions that provide predictable consistency and failure handling for distributed operations across multiple grains.