Try MBrace hassle-free with MBrace Minimal

I have been spending quite a bit of time lately with MBrace, a wonderful library that allows you to scale data processing or run heavy work-loads on a cloud cluster, using simple F# scripts. The library is very nicely documented, and comes with a Starter Kit project that contains all you need to provision a cluster, together with many scripts illustrating various use cases.

This is great, but… if you just want to play with the library and get a sense for what it does, it might be a bit initimidating. Furthermore, not everyone has an Azure subscription ready, which creates a bit of friction. So I figured, let’s try to create the smallest possible project that would allow someone to try out MBrace, without any Azure subscription needed.

Below is a quick demo (under 2 minutes) of the result, demonstrating how to get setup, start a local cluster and send computations to it. This is definitely not an Oscar-worthy video, but it should give you a sense for what to expect :)

You can find the corresponding project, mbrace-minimal, here on GitHub. Basically, I just took the Starter Kit, removed everything I could, keeping only the dependencies required to run MBrace, and relying on Thespian to run a locally simulated cluster. Download it, go first to the .paket folder and run paket-bootstrapper.exe and paket install to download the dependencies, and head to the QuickStart.fsx script, which starts the local cluster, and illustrates some of MBrace functionality on a couple of very simple examples.

That’s it - I hope you find it useful, and that it motivates you to head to the Starter Kit project for more in-depth examples! And if you have suggestions on how to make this better… please let me know :)

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