Services, a different approach

A Server is a computer (or a group of them) that offers services.

Such services could be a webmarket, a website, a game server and so on.

These services tend all to be implemented quite differently, hardly interacting at all. All these services require a different approach, a different way to manage them. This creates both overhead and chaos.

I`m working on a small framework intented to host services which is very flexible.

Framework
A service isn’t a single process as it usualy is, although it could be put in its own seperate process. A service is rather just an instance of its servervice type in the framework somewhere, meaning you can have multiple instances of one service with different configurations scattered accross processes and even machines as you like.

You can edit the settings and manage the services using the same API (and likely the same configuration tool).

A service isn’t aware where it is hosted, from its perspective it is just in a framework with other services and service modules with which it can interact in always the same way.

You as administrator however are aware of the services and its allocation. You can allocate a service (even runtime) to different locations which haven’t neccessarily got to be processes, but also can be lightweight processes found in .net like appdomains or on different machine’s processes.

Having different processes for each service decreases performance but increases stability, and visa versa.

Interaction
Services shouldn’t be restricted to their own process but should also be able to interact with other services by using their exposed interfaces.

An example could be a webserver-service which you provide with the name of the logger-service you want to be used for that webserver. The webserver could just interact by casting an object in the public interface dictionary of the logger to an log interface. The framework takes care of the required underlying communication like the remoting in case they are hosted on different processes or even different machines.

A more tighter type of interaction would be modules. A module of a webserver could be a webmarker. The webmarket would just access the object of the webserver which handles hooking to certain URI, add the hooks and await a visit. Other services could do the same but a module is specificly bound to the service it attached to.

Futhermore modules would be an easier way for administrators to manage extra functionality which is more module like than filling in the instance paths to use in the settings of a certain service.

Portability
I`m still in doubt whether I should make it cross-language. It would be a good thing but it would certainly create havoc to make everything run smooth and alike on all languages. Not even to mention the overhead to load each languages’ runtime.

2 thoughts on “Services, a different approach”

  1. “a webmarket, a website, a game server and so on.”

    Everything that you would let a computer serve.. (provide as a service)

    I could add a few more to that list:

    CVS Server; Streaming music server; Rsync server

    I just gave a webserver and webmarket as an example.

    Basicly the difference would be the way the services are implemented and managed as explained above.

    I guess I should be more carefull when writing, making sure everyone would understand it the first time..

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