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Microsoft has recently announced their Azure Relay Hybrid Connections service has reached General Availability. Microsoft Azure Relay Hybrid Connections service, which is Web Socket based, complements the existing Azure Service Bus Relay offering which is now being referred to as WCF Relays. WCF Relay is functionally similar, to Hybrid Connections, but continues to have a dependency on Windows Communication Foundation.
Azure relay capability of is to enable hybrid connectivity for customers. This service enable you to securely expose services that reside within a corporate enterprise network to the public cloud, without having to open a firewall connection, or require intrusive changes to a corporate network infrastructure. Relay supports a variety of different transport protocols and web services standards.
It works by creating a bi-directional socket for communication tied to a rendezvous address within Azure. A client will then submit data to this rendezvous address and the data will be sent down the socket to the listener within the on-premises environment. Using this architecture is an alternative to network-level integration technologies like VPN which traditionally require a lot of static configuration between endpoints important feature of the new Hybrid Connections service is its use of the Web Socket open standard protocol. This unlocks cross-platform development and allows the service to be used on Windows, Linux or any other platform supporting Web Sockets. Also, Hybrid Connections support additional programming languages such as .NET, Java etc
Microsoft has provided the following guidance for developers when choosing which of the Relay Services to use while a common gateway is used between the services, they are being metered differently from a pricing perspective. Hybrid Connections have a charge per listener and include 5GB of data transfer per month. Additional data transfer charges exist when more than 5GB has been transferred. Azure Relay pricing is based upon Relay hours that that listener is enabled and a charge per ten thousand messages exchanged.