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New Version Of Microsoft Managed Services Engine Released

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Microsoft Released the May 2009 CTP of the Managed Services Engine (MSE) with source code that is available at Codeplex. The CTP is minor update to the February Beta release. According to the product description available at the website…

MSE is one approach to facilitating Enterprise SOA through service virtualization. [The product is built] upon the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and the Microsoft Server Platform. The MSE fully enables service virtualization through a Service Repository, which helps organizations deploy services faster, coordinate change management, and maximize the reuse of various service elements. In doing so, the MSE provides the ability to support versioning, abstraction, management, routing, and runtime policy enforcement for Services.

According this executive summary, on what service virtualization is and why it matters, Aaron Skonnard, a Microsoft MVP and co-founder of Pluralsight, says “large SOA initiatives remain inherently complex and you must determine how you’ll manage that complexity as the entire service ecosystem continues to grow and evolve over time”. He says

Service virtualization is an emerging trend in the SOA landscape that [tries to solve this problem and] focuses on providing a common infrastructure for building and managing a complex service ecosystem while addressing the difficult challenges highlighted in the previous section.

Aaron comments on Microsoft’s approach to service virtualization saying that it …

[…] is based on a common architecture and a centralized runtime that provides the service plumbing required by all services and their consumers throughout an entire service ecosystem. The runtime provides the core capabilities all services within the ecosystem will need such as versioning, protocol mapping, monitoring, routing, and run-time policy enforcement. Services are plugged into the runtime to leverage these capabilities by exposing a virtual service to consumers. You describe virtual services using models, which are essentially expressions on top of the original service metadata. The models are translated into service behaviors that are interpreted by the runtime to provide the aforementioned capabilities without requiring any changes to the service code. The models become valuable communication rendezvous points that are actually executed by the runtime layer to maintain complete fidelity.

The manifestation of this approach is the latest release of the The Managed Services Engine (MSE); the update itself doesn't support an automatic upgrade from previous versions as cautioned in the release notes. The release comes with a techinical guide, a security guide as well as videos that go over different aspects of the product. The product is advertised to offer the following benefits

  • Reduced time-to-market for new services.
  • Advanced service versioning.
  • Service Policy enforcement.
  • Service Enablement of legacy systems.

Aaron has also written an article in MSDN Magazine that describes service virtualization and how MSE can be used to manage services. The topics that the article covers are:

  • Service virtualization basics
  • Microsoft Services SOA Infrastructure
  • Getting started with the Managed Services Engine
  • Importing and configuring service resources

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