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Getting the Message


Getting the Message

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Phil Factor
Phil Factor
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Getting the Message


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
rwatson-830107
rwatson-830107
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Maybe the reason that "Service Broker " isnt so popular is that no one much has heard of it ? (Like me - building smaller SQL databases for the last 10 years)

If its anything like most of Microsofts products its complex, hard to understand, has inane examples on their websites, confusing upgrade processes amd lots of "gotchas" that blow product development out of the water.

For example, if I have a question about SQL, I get 3 or 4 more relevant, better explained articles with real life examples with a search on Google, than SQL books online, Microsoft "help" pages and (tada) the UI for the product combined. Hey, thats why we subscribe to 3rd party SQL Forums.

Its not enough for a feature to be great, it has to be explained !
futura
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I think you ask an interesting question because I have researched Service Broker as an applicable solution to issues I've faced on the job.

Why haven't we chosen it and looked at exploring other options?

Service Broker most certainly stands on top of solid core technology, is robust and transactional, and can handle our load - and we need the reliability, etc. but -

1. The configuration one needs to go through to even get it going - permissions, message contracts, queues, schema, etc. are too complicated (too many/too heavyweight).

2. There is no MSMQ "dump" to easily pass messages to other tiers - at least not natively and easily.

Our primary need has been to emit "events" from SQL related operations that could essentially be broadcast to other tiers/applications/components that are not SQL, and everything we end up working through goes back to polling the server.



stevemc
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I could not agree more with rwatson's reply above. In additional, I'll add that, in my case, I've spent time understanding it with my DBAs. But there is an anti-MSFT, not-invented-here bias among my more influential *nix technology colleagues who roll their eyes at turn key 'dbms-specific', MSFT solutions like this.
Phil Factor
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Yes. I was wondering if the complexity of getting started with it, and the ridiculously bad training materials, was the reason. The product seems very solid and efficient. Adam Machanic did a lot to help improve things in 2007 with a really good couple of practical workbench articles on Simple-Talk http://www.simple-talk.com/sql/learn-sql-server/service-broker-foundations-workbench/ and http://www.simple-talk.com/sql/learn-sql-server/service-broker-advanced-basics-workbench/ I found these a great help.


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
LutzM
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I agree with rwatson and, partially, with futura.

However, we managed to use ServiceBroker to replace a job that repeated every minute to check if new data are available... It took quite a while to get it up and running, especially since it involved cross-server-communication.

If you compare the effort required to transfer incoming data from a "transfer server" to a second server and start a procedure to process the data on the target server it's done much easier with a job running frequently than with ServiceBroker. Not to mention the effort to troubleshoot.

So, since there are alternatives that are easier to manage, ServiceBroker might be the second best solution for most of the tasks (assuming the downsides of the "job-solution" like being "pseudo-real-time", running most of the time just to figure that there are no data and the like will be acceptable...).

@futura: You can start external apps when using External Activator (at least that what I've read, e.g. at blogs.msdn.com . I guess it's worth a try...



Lutz
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jdurandt
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We are getting ready to go live with an (expected) large volume public facing site for the very large retail company where I work.

I had to select a queuing technology, and ended up with SQL Service broker, mainly because you can do point-in-time recovery along with your databases, which is very handy, and also because we have a clustered SQL Server, so we get clustered queues for free. And its ability to have conversations makes it very handy to have items in a conversation processed sequentially while other conversations are processed by other threads in my processing application.

We use it to queue logging messages, as well as delayed writes and all sorts of workflow related messages.

It is a complex product to implement, and there are very few resources on it, although with a bit of digging I did find enough info and tools to get my development done. And it is very solid.

My main gripe with the product is that it disables the queue after 5 consecutive rolled back reads. Also, the requirement to manually close conversations is onerous. It would be nice if conversations could be automatically closed as an option, when the last message in a conversation has been read.
futura
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Unfortunately, the External Activator is only in 2008. I am stuck with 2005 until our vendors support migration to 2008. We're running vendor LOB's and have to wait for their approval process. Always fun.
Thanks, I will keep an eye on it for the future.



reb01501-665815
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I know that everyone "hates" (or at least frowns on the use of) GUIs, but I can't help but think that Service Broker acceptance would benefit from some sort of UI or wizard to help the novice through the initial stages of creating a queue. He could then look at the generated scripts to see what was going on and learn from them.
Andy Warren
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I think the perceived complexity has hurt it, as is that it falls in the crack between developer and DBA. I suspect few DBA's recommend it, and few developers know it is there. I haven't seen - though there may be - good prescriptive guidance on when to using queuing in general, and when SB is a good fit. For me the win might be the ability to easily spin up multiple threads to process the queue without manually partitioning the workload.

A start would be to make it a lot more visible. A SB task in SSIS for example.

Andy
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