Easy Web Services with SQL Server 2005 HTTP Endpoints
SQL Server 2005's HTTP/SOAP endpoints provide SQL Server developers with new capabilities for using Web services within SQL Server. It's worth noting though that Web services aren't new to SQL Server 2005. In SQL Server 2000, SQLXML provided a set of supplemental tools that extended SQL Server's existing support for retrieving and storing XML data. SQLXML 3.0 supported Web services that enabled executing stored procedures, user-defined functions, and also supported templates. However, one of the challenges with SQLXML was a complex deployment process that required IIS to handle HTTP requests and enable the invocation of Web services.
In SQL Server 2005 the HTTP/SOAP endpoints feature lets you consume Web services mapped to objects in SQL Server. Unlike earlier versions, IIS is no longer required. The Windows Server 2003 kernel listener, HTTP.sys, lets SQL Server listen for HTTP requests and process them directly. This simplifies application development and deployment, and requires fewer infrastructure components - because it's not best practice to deploy IIS on the main SQL Server instance. In this article, you'll see what is required to create and expose an HTTP/SOAP endpoint for use in your application. You'll also see some considerations that can help you determine when this technology is appropriate, and when to avoid it.