Configuring Service Applications
Now that you understand the architecture behind the service application framework, let’s take a look at how services are configured using the SharePoint user interface. We’ll start by configuring a service application.
On the Service Applications page, notice that in the list of services, most services have an entry for the service application followed by a second entry for the service application proxy. For example, at the top of the list you may see a service of type Access Service Web Service Application, followed by a proxy of type Access Service Web Service Application Proxy. These two entries are represented in the object model by an SPServiceApplication object and a SPServiceApplicationProxy object, respectively.
A new service of type Managed Metadata Service will be added to the list as well as a proxy of type Managed Metadata Service Connection. Although the farm contains only one service of type Managed Metadata Service, you can create many instances, each with a different configuration, or, in the case of the Managed Metadata Service, a different datastore.
Connecting to Remote Applications
As you’ve seen, both client and server elements of a service are commonly configured within a single farm. However, you can connect to services hosted on another farm and alsoto make services hosted on a farm available for consumption by other farms. Here’s how to connect to a remote application:
One of the things you may have noticed in the preceding example is that when connecting to or publishing a remote service, the Published URL references a service named Topology .svc. Although I won’t cover the service in depth, I will briefly explain what it does and why. Although the WCF service name is Topology.svc, within the SharePoint user interface, the service is referred to as the Application Discovery and Load Balancer Service Application and can be found in the list of service applications. For brevity, I’ll continue to refer to it as the “topology service.”
When a service application is published on a farm, the topology service maintains a list of the service applications that have been published and are available for consumption; in this respect, it provides application discovery functionality. As well as maintaining a list of the SPServiceApplications that are available, the service also maintains a list of the individual SPServiceInstances that are available for each SPServiceApplication. Using this information, the service is able to load balance incoming requests between available servers in the farm. For load balancing to work effectively, information on which servers are available must be passed to the client so that a connection can be made to the next available service instance. On the consuming farm side, the topology service periodically receives this information from the publishing farm and makes use of it when creating SPServiceApplicationProxy objects for the published services.
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