Service Applications in SharePoint 2010

In this article I am describing one of the new Service applications in SharePoint 2010. In SharePoint 2010 there is an architectural change from SharePoint 2007 with the new concept called "Service Applications". I am sharing with you the details about which services should run in WFE and application servers.

This new architecture has extremely extensive and deep imports for SharePoint lovers. I have searched the internet to get a clearer idea of Service Applications and didn't find a good article that explained it correctly. In this article I am trying to provide some basic information about the Service application. As you know there are many service applications. They are listed in the "services on server" section which clearly explains all the services running on your server. The only one that's required to run on the web front end is the SharePoint Foundation Web Application.  The inbound email is another common example of a service that usually is configured on a front end. That Foundation Web Application is actually a requirement to run on all WFE. If this service is stopped then that should have a significant impact on WFE. Service Applications can now be built by third parties and are available in both SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server. Service Applications significantly impact Farm Topologies so we should be very careful when dealing with Service applications.

Service Applications are richer in terms of new features, scalability and flexibility. This is the logical container of the service, which is exposed through Managed Service Applications. It includes the management aspects of the service and configuration. When creating a Service application the associated databases and configuration will also be created.

A common question you may ask is why it is changed to be a service application in SharePoint 2010 with SSP. SSPs were pretty handy in Office SharePoint Server 2007. SSP helps to create a configuration of profiles, audiences, Excel Services, BDC and search that we could share between Web applications. If we wanted one Web application to simply use the same search configuration in one SSP but have a totally different profile / BDC configuration? The only option was to create a new SSP and target the search configuration. But these two SSPs were totally independent.

Services needed in web front end Servers

  • SharePoint Foundation Web Application
  • Inbound email

Services needed in App servers

You can decide which services should run in each app Server. But you should make sure SharePoint Foundation Web Application service should be stopped in App Server.

The Service Application Model also allows us to deploy more than one instance of the same Service Application. We can publish our service application into other farms. Simply install the service application's proxy in the other farm and point it to a specific URL provided by Central Administration when we publish the service application. This is a great feature that enables us to have dedicated service farms that can be specially configured based on the services that are provided. We can share these service offerings with other SharePoint farms or even with customer farms.