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What is Workflow Manager 1.0?


Updated: January 11, 2013

Workflow Manager 1.0 is a new server which introduces new capabilities for authoring, hosting and managing workflows. These workflows will run at high scale and density, and will support execution in a multi-tenant environment. The service builds on the successful programming model, runtime and activity library that was introduced with Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) in .NET Framework 4.

Over time, we intend to provide both a Azure service capability, as well as a user-installed service capability, thereby providing user flexibility and symmetry across on-premises and Azure offerings. Initially, the capability is being made available publically as a user-installed service (for on-premises installation or installation on Azure Virtual Machines).

In addition, Workflow Manager 1.0 is used by SharePoint 2013 to run SharePoint workflows, and will be an inherent part of most Office 365 subscriptions.

Workflow Manager 1.0 Key Capabilities

Workflow Manager 1.0 builds on the continuum of hosting options that the .NET framework provides today with WorkflowApplication and WorkflowServiceHost, to provide a new, managed host for executing and managing workflows. The cloud provides a great opportunity for us to provide an "always on" environment for running, monitoring and managing workflows. We have developed Workflow Manager with a long-term Azure focus, while also making the capabilities available immediately on-premises. With this offering, organizations can focus more of their energies on the design of the workflow logic itself - and integration with their applications - instead of spending time on building infrastructure. Workflow Manager 1.0 will take care of many of the challenges customers have today in managing their workflow artifacts, building out their hosting environment, configuring it for scale and high availability, managing a farm of machines running their applications, and so on. The service also provides new capabilities for SaaS ISVs to provide user extensibility to their applications in an efficient, secure, multi-tenant way.

Workflow Manager 1.0 is focused on delivering these key capabilities:

  • High Density & Multi-tenancy

  • Elastic Scale

  • Activity / Workflow Artifact Management

  • Tracking and Monitoring

  • Instance Management

  • Fully Declarative Authoring

  • REST and Service Bus Messaging

The multi-tenant hosting capabilities provide for safe, high efficiency and high performance execution of workflow instances, as well as the ability to organize and manage tenants of the service.

The service also introduces new capabilities for managing your activities and workflows in the system. Clients can upload their activity and workflow definitions via a REST API or client library, and the service stores the artifacts in a scaled out, reliable repository. The service also manages the relationships among activity and workflow definitions and their versions, providing flexible artifact management capabilities for updating definitions, while ensuring the process integrity of running instances.

We also continue to build out new capabilities for monitoring and managing running workflow instances via the REST API, client library and portal. These capabilities give customers visibility to the service health, their custom configuration and the status of their running business processes, while providing developers and administrators with the necessary tools to manage their artifacts and processes.

In addition to the advances in hosting and management, the service also brings new capabilities for workflow authoring. This includes fully declarative authoring of workflows via an expanded activity library, expression translation and a new declarative data modeling feature. New, integrated messaging capabilities are also provided for the prominent Azure messaging models of REST web services and the Service Bus. These messaging capabilities are integrated with the hosting runtime to ensure that inbound and outbound messages are coordinated with workflow persistence to guarantee the reliability and integrity of your processes.

The topics in this section illustrate the new workflow capabilities for authoring, hosting and managing your business processes which make it easier than ever to build and run flexible, high performance, and reliable workflows that scale with the needs of your business.

See Also

Installing and Configuring
Working with complex data in a workflow
Inbound Messaging
Dynamic Value
Trusted Surface
Adding a New Version of a Workflow or Custom Activity
Troubleshooting Management and Execution