My Thoughts & Views

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self Hosting WCF Services

Posted on: February 17, 2009

Advantages of Self-Hosting:

  • Is easy to use: With only a few lines of code you have your service running.
  • Is flexible: You can easily control the lifetime of your services through the Open() and Close() methods of ServiceHost.
  • Is easy to debug: Debugging WCF services that are hosted in a self-hosted environment provides a familiar way of debugging, without having to attach to separate applications that activate your service.
  • Is easy to deploy: In general, deploying simple Windows applications is as easy as xcopy. You don’t need any complex deployment scenarios on server farms, and the like, to deploy a simple Windows application that serves as a WCF ServiceHost.
  • Supports all bindings and transports: Self-hosting doesn’t limit you to out-of-the-box bindings and transports whatsoever. On Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, IIS limits you to HTTP only.

 

Disadvantages of Self-Hosting:

  • Limited availability: The service is reachable only when the application is running.
  • Limited features: Self-hosted applications have limited support for high availability, easy manageability, robustness, recoverability, versioning, and deployment scenarios. These scenarios have become a standard in last few years. Such features are provided by the WAS (Windows Activation Service) which is a part of IIS7 (delivered with Vista and Win2008). This hosting mechanism allows you to host the service by using of protocols like MSMQ, HTTP and TCP. 
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