On my last post I’ve said that the Toad tools from Quest lack the option to configure Dialog Security for Service Broker. I stand corrected, as they actualy do. Not only that, but they support both full security and anonymous security, and the configuration is also done through a wizard. The Dialog Security Configuration Wizard is launched from the context menu of a service.
The wizard is explicit for security and does not combine security and routing, like the Service Listing Manager does. So to fully configure a pair of services you have to run the Service Broker Application Wizard first and then to follow up with the Dialog Security Configuration Wizard.
The Dialog Security Wizard will guide you through the steps of creating the certificates, set up a database master key, create the users needed, exchange the certificates and set up the remote service binding.
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Technically Service Broker can offer a huge value over any other comparable technology, but every project faces in the early stages the same barrier: the extremely steep learning curve faced by developers and dba in order deploy a Service Broker solution. As the adopters try to set up a simple scenario to ‘play’ with the technology before making a decision they are facing an apparently insurmountable challenge: set up the configuration for that very first message to get through. Not only services, queue, contracts and message types have to be correctly configured, but also the transport security (endpoints and certificates, logins and endpoint connect permissions), service routing and last but not least service security (remote service bindings, again certificates, users without login and service send permission). These are all new concepts, not trivial ones, and they all have to be correct. And I haven’t even mentioned database master keys! So one is faced with the task of configuring more than ten new object types, never encountered before, just to test his first message. No wonder some feel frustrated and may abandon the technology before even seeing what is capable of.
Tools are the biggest missing piece of this puzzle. A wizard that would walk the new developer or dba through the maze of new concepts and objects to help him get that very first test scenario to work would be tremendous help. Unfortunately the set of tools that ship with SQL Server is in dire need of such wonder. For years my recommendation was to give a try to the Service Listing Manager tool. This tool, specially the command line version, takes all the headake out and can do all the work for you, configuring everything needed for two services to be able to exchange messages. But this tool is not an officially supported Microsoft release, and therefore many organizations cannot afford to use it in their environment.
Recently I have learned that 3rd party vendors stepped up to the challenge and have come up with a set of tools designed for Service Broker. Quest Software’s Toad is a well known toolset, and on Oracle environment is the toolset, the one everybody uses. And now it contains the Service Broker Manager, a set of tools that covers everything related to Service Broker in SQL Server 2005. Organizations that are looking for a set of tools for Service Broker deployment, maintenance and administration have now a commercially supported alternative.
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