Create a GrainService

A GrainService is a special grain; one that has no identity, and runs in every silo from startup to shutdown. There are several steps involved when implementing an IGrainService interface.

  1. Create the interface. The interface of a GrainService is built using the same principles you would use for building the interface of any other grain.

    public interface IDataService : IGrainService
        Task MyMethod();
  2. Create the DataService grain itself. If possible, make the GrainService reentrant for better performance. It's good to know that you can also inject an IGrainFactory so you can make grain calls from your GrainService.


    A GrainService cannot write to Orleans streams because it doesn't work within a grain task scheduler. If you need the GrainService to write to streams for you, then you will have to send the object to another kind of grain for writing to the stream.

    public class DataService : GrainService, IDataService
        readonly IGrainFactory _grainFactory;
        public DataService(
            IServiceProvider services,
            IGrainIdentity id,
            Silo silo,
            ILoggerFactory loggerFactory,
            IGrainFactory grainFactory)
            : base(id, silo, loggerFactory)
            _grainFactory = grainFactory;
        public override Task Init(IServiceProvider serviceProvider) =>
        public override Task Start() => base.Start();
        public override Task Stop() => base.Stop();
        public Task MyMethod()
            // TODO: custom logic here.
            return Task.CompletedTask;
  3. Create an interface for the GrainServiceClient<TGrainService>GrainServiceClient to be used by other grains to connect to the GrainService.

    public interface IDataServiceClient : IGrainServiceClient<IDataService>, IDataService
  4. Create the actual grain service client. It pretty much just acts as a proxy for the data service. Unfortunately, you have to manually type in all the method mappings, which are just simple one-liners.

    public class DataServiceClient : GrainServiceClient<IDataService>, IDataServiceClient
        public DataServiceClient(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
            : base(serviceProvider)
        public Task MyMethod() => GrainService.MyMethod();
  5. Inject the grain service client into the other grains that need it. The GrainServiceClient is not guaranteed to access the GrainService on the local silo. Your command could potentially be sent to the GrainService on any silo in the cluster.

    public class MyNormalGrain: Grain<NormalGrainState>, INormalGrain
        readonly IDataServiceClient _dataServiceClient;
        public MyNormalGrain(
            IGrainActivationContext grainActivationContext,
            IDataServiceClient dataServiceClient) =>
                _dataServiceClient = dataServiceClient;
  6. Inject the grain service into the silo itself. You need to do this so that the silo will start the GrainService.

    (ISiloHostBuilder builder) =>
            services => services.AddSingleton<IDataService, DataService>());

Additional notes

There's an extension method on GrainServicesSiloBuilderExtensions.AddGrainService. Type constraint is: where T : GrainService. It ends up calling this bit: orleans/src/Orleans.Runtime/Services/GrainServicesSiloBuilderExtensions.cs

    serviceProvider => GrainServiceFactory(grainServiceType, serviceProvider));

The silo fetches IGrainService types from the service provider when starting: orleans/src/Orleans.Runtime/Silo/Silo.cs

var grainServices = this.Services.GetServices<IGrainService>();

The Microsoft.Orleans.OrleansRuntime NuGet package should be referenced by the GrainService project.

In order for this to work you have to register both the service and its client. The code looks something like this:

var builder = new HostBuilder()
    .UseOrleans(c =>
        c.AddGrainService<DataService>()  // Register GrainService
        .ConfigureServices(services =>
            // Register Client of GrainService
            services.AddSingleton<IDataServiceClient, DataServiceClient>();