What the heck is orleans and why your business should care

John Kattenhorn
January 18, 2024
 min read
Call to action background - pink, purple, blue

(Spoiler Alert: It saves you a great deal of money!)

(Note: No software developers were harmed in making this article)


In today’s technology-driven economy, software is consuming the planet. In fact, I doubt there are many firms left in the world that aren’t impacted by software in some way shape or form.

In an increasingly competitive environment, businesses frequently turn to software to help them compete in their market.

This, in turn, drives the need for ever more complicated capabilities, squeezing every last drop of competitive advantage from an organisation.

Where does all of this end up? On the backlogs and whiteboards of software building companies throughout the world, in need of that most scarce of resources to bring it to life – the highly skilled software engineer.

No matter what kind of applications you’re building, there’s one thing they all have in common: they need highly skilled software engineers to make them happen. And finding those engineers can be tough!

Applications today require complex code, a variety of queues, caches, and computer clusters running on distant machines in something known as the cloud. Add the requirement for maximum system availability due to a business market that never sleeps, and you quickly find yourself in a complex and expensive situation.

But what if there was a technology available which simplifies all of this?

What if I told you, it is as old as the cloud itself and if you have played on an XBOX, searched the web with BING or entered your expenses in Dynamics you have already used it.

Meet Orleans … from Microsoft (Pssst. It is used by Microsoft competitors too)

What the heck is Microsoft Orleans?

Orleans started as Project Orleans and was conceived as a Microsoft research project at the outset of the cloud computing era.

Developers familiar with single-server application development can easily transition to building resilient, scalable cloud-native services and other distributed applications using Orleans.

If you have .NET developers in your organisation today, they can already build systems that grow with your business needs with Orleans.

This is a novel approach to building a new generation of distributed applications for the cloud era.

Orleans tames the complexity inherent to highly parallel distributed applications without restricting capabilities or imposing constraints on your developers.

Why should your business care?

I could talk about the Actor model and how it came from the 1970s or heterogenous clusters … but here is the bottom line.

  1. Orleans saves you money … period.
  2. It saves you money because it runs everywhere and can start on the small single server and scale only when your business needs to.
  3. It saves you money because it is quicker to develop reliable software which works.
  4. It saves you money as no need for costly code changes or refactoring when your business grows.
  5. It saves you money because you can use simple, dirt-cheap, disaster-proof Azure Table Storage instead of expensive SQL Server instances that are the opposite.


Finally, one of the Cloud’s best kept secrets has stepped into the light and on to the main stage.

Microsoft has made Orleans 7 a part of its core web development technology, after many years in which Orleans has matured and proven itself in highly scaled applications – both inside and outside of Microsoft. Orleans is now built on .NET 7, which gives you tremendous performance improvements – meaning lower cloud bills.

If you build software and want the cheapest, most performant way to build scale-proof application today, then Orleans is for you.

Get started with Orleans today…before your competition does.

John Kattenhorn

Founder & CEO