Particular Service Platform Overview

Messaging is a good way to build loosely coupled, scalable and reliable systems. However, it also has its challenges. The most common difficulty is having visibility of what's happening in the system. This is one of the problems that the Particular Service Platform was built to solve.

The goal of the Platform is to provide a set of tools that make the building and maintenance of messaging systems easier. The tools are tailored to common needs of a messaging system and 'just work' out of the box, enabling developers to focus on other important challenges such as understanding their business domain better. Currently, the Particular Service Platform consists of NServiceBus, ServiceControl, ServiceInsight and ServicePulse.

Particular Service Platform architecture

NServiceBus - where it all begins

NServiceBus, the heart of the system, is a messaging and workflow framework that helps you create distributed systems that are scalable, reliable and easy to modify. It supports various messaging patterns, handles long-running business processes in the form of sagas and provides abstraction over multiple queueing technologies. While most queueing technologies try to make guarantees regarding 'at least once' or even 'exactly once' delivery, they often fall short of this promise. NServiceBus contains mechanisms to automatically solve intermittent delivery problems by retrying messages and falling back to an error queue where they can be exposed by the rest of the Platform for human intervention (ServiceControl, ServicePulse).

Moreover, NServiceBus is thoroughly extensible. You can tailor it to your needs, select technologies you're already familiar with or create customized versions of various elements in the system.

ServiceControl - the foundation

ServiceControl is the monitoring brain in the Particular Service Platform. It collects data on every single message flowing through your system (Audit Queue), errors (Error Queue), as well as additional information regarding sagas, endpoints heartbeats and custom checks (Control Queue). The information is then exposed to ServicePulse and ServiceInsight via an HTTP API and SignalR notifications.

It is important to understand that the data is still collected even if ServiceControl is down. When it starts working again, it will process all the information that was saved in the meantime.

To enable ServiceControl to gather this information, you need to configure your solution appropriately:

By default ServiceControl stores information for 30 days, but you can easily customize this.

ServiceInsight - message flow visualization

ServiceInsight is a desktop application with features tailored to developers needs. It allows for advanced debugging, tracking the flow of an individual message in the system, observing sagas and more.

It is much easier to quickly spot anomalies and incorrect behavior in your system when you are presented with information in visual form, such as message flow diagrams or sequence diagrams. At the same time, you can access more detailed information such as message headers and all message metadata.

ServicePulse - production monitoring

ServicePulse is a web application aimed mainly at administrators. It gives a clear, near real-time, high-level overview of how a system is functioning.

You will get notified when the endpoint is down or when a message fails. You can also specify your own custom checks and get alerts. The interface allows you to perform the common operations for failure recovery, such as retrying failed messages. You can also subscribe to publicly exposed events, in order to display and handle them in a custom way.

How do you work with the platform?

Having ServiceControl and ServiceInsight installed locally on your machine gives you significant benefits during development, especially when you investigate failures and defects. Additionally, if you develop a custom check it is useful to have the full platform installed on your development machine.

After your solution is deployed, you should have ServiceControl and ServicePulse in each environment it was deployed to (e.g. one instance per INTEGRATION, another one for TEST and one more for PROD). ServiceInsight is a client install, so you can have it on your local machine only and point it to the specific environment or local instance URL.

Related Articles

  • Extensions
    A list of all extensions to NServiceBus including all community contributions and external integrations
  • How to contribute
    The Particular Platform is open source and takes contributions from the community.
  • Platform Releases
    Links to the current and previous releases, release notes for the Particular Service Platform applications

Platform Installer

Guidance on how to use the Platform Installer and its underlying components


Last modified 2015-11-10 11:50:35Z