I mentioned in the previous post that one of our key investments has been supporting the new workflow model in SharePoint 2013, which is now available in Preview form.  To accomplish this, we have been developing the “Workflow Manager”.  As the name implies Workflow Manager provides a hosting and management solution for workflows, built on the Windows Workflow Foundation in .NET 4.5.  Workflow Manager will be a general purpose technology, but the schedule and features for the first release have been driven by the SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 requirements.  We are, however, making the bits public for all customers, and we will continue to build out the capabilities and supported scenarios in future releases.

With Workflow Manager, we are focused on addressing some of the key challenges that our customers face today.   Specifically, we’ve looked at the common architectural patterns that customers have built around Windows Workflow Foundation and worked to provide more of those capabilities to you as a product.  This will allow you to invest less time in architectural infrastructure and more in the overall solution and business logic. 

More specifically, we’ve taken on some of the challenges that our ISVs customers are facing as they design their applications for the cloud.   Building multi-tenant applications presents some significant challenges in terms of isolation, scale and resource management.   A driving scenario for us in this work has been supporting the ISVs who are building their SaaS (Software as a Service) applications on Azure, including multi-tenant support and a “cloud scale” architecture.  The multi-tenant support includes not only the runtime isolation mechanisms and resource utilization throttles, but also the ability to store - in isolated fashion - the activities and workflows for various tenants of the system. 

For more information on Workflow Manager, please see our documentation here (including our samples).  The easiest way to install the Workflow Manager 1.0 Beta is via the Web Platform Installer (search on “workflow beta” and install “Workflow Beta 1.0”). 

Finally, we’ve also created a new MSDN forum for the Workflow Manager Beta.