Integrate 2016 – Day 2
Because of the fully packed agenda, the second day of the event already started at 8am. The first session of the day was presented by Chris Anderson, who showed the attendees how to leverage Azure App Service and Azure Functions for integration scenarios. Azure App Service is a cloud platform that focuses on rapid development and enables you to build, deploy and manage web and mobile apps that connect to data anywhere: in the cloud or on-prem.
Some of the highlights of Azure Functions are:
- Functions can be called from Logic Apps
- Functions can be developed in:
- Expose the created function as an HTTP API Endpoint
- Edit the code of the Function in the Azure Portal
- Use Timed Events to trigger Functions
Chris also showed a couple of Integration patterns on the App service platform, like:
- UNION, in which you use API management to create a unified API of different Logic or API apps
- XFORM, in which you use an Azure Function for conversion to JSON
- FLOW, in which you use Logic Apps and connectors to design workflows
Dan Rosanova took the stage for the second morning session and started out by repeatedly expressing his long existing love for BizTalk. Going as far as swapping out his wife with BizTalk in their wedding photo.
Cleverly and entertaining at the same time, he steered the BizTalk loving room towards things to think about while transitioning to the cloud. He even used some examples of things he wrote about in his book “Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 Patterns”, that he now feels different about in the new cloud world.
For example: be lean and don’t build large application blocks even if the tooling enables you to do so. Other aspects you should think of are separation of concerns and making the endpoints smart while keeping the pipes dumb. In other words: don’t put too much application logic in your (cloud) middleware.
Dan also talked about Service Bus Premium Messaging, which is not necessarily about speed but about the predictability of performance and pricing. He also announced EventHubs Dedicated Capacity for large scale customers.
Next Clemens Vasters talked about the roadmap of Service Bus. Clemens talked about AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol) and its (future) use in the world of industrial machinery and the possibility to integrate these systems using Azure Service Bus, since Azure Service Bus supports AMQP. Clemens also talked about the difference between Azure Service Bus Standard and Premium, the advantage of Premium being that it offers dedicated resources and predictable and reliable performance and costs. To illustrate this, he used a clever comparison between a big and reliable Boeing 747, which you share with more than 350 other passengers you don’t know, but is a lot cheaper than a private jet you have to yourself. Nice analogy!
Also some exciting news from Clemens, the future of on premise messaging, which is called Azure Stack, will contain Service Bus and Event Hubs. There is no timeline available yet, but unfortunately it will not become available this year.
After the lunch break the organizer of the event, Saravana Kumar from BizTalk360, introduced the attendees to a couple of new products from Kovai and gave a sneak preview of some of the new functionality of BizTalk360 v8.1. Some of the new BizTalk360 v8.1 functionality he talked about was monitoring of Logic Apps and API Apps state. Also Endpoint Monitoring has been improved by adding support for MSMQ and REST services, including support for response inspection.
The new products Saravana talked about are BizTalk360 Lite and ServiceBus360. Both products are SaaS-based and betas will be available by the end of May.
Some highlights on BizTalk360Lite:
- Lightweight monitoring tool
- Built from the ground up
- It works by installing an agent on the BizTalk server which posts the relevant data to the BizTalk360Lite Portal. It will be possible to monitor your BizTalk environment and pay for the number of artefacts you want to monitor
Some highlights on ServiceBus360:
- Monitoring of your namespaces and artefacts in your Azure subscription
- Possible to monitor Queues, Relays, Topics, and Event Hubs
- Place alerts on your artefacts, for example an alert on Queue size
- Analytics will also be available from the EventHubs360 Portal
The next session was presented by Richard Seroter, who gave us a quick look at Kafka, RabbitMQ and NATS and how these open source messaging solutions compare to the Microsoft Integration Stack. It is important to note that these messaging solutions do not replace BizTalk, they can be successfully implemented side by side. The most important take away from this session is that innovation in integration is not just coming from the open source world, it is also coming from the Microsoft Integration Stack!
Next Paul Larsen and Steve Melan introduced us to Host Integration Server 2016, which contains a Microsoft written MQ client, which they showed to be about 4 times faster than the IBM client. This new functionality is also available in BizTalk ports and will contain better tracing and logging.
Among others, HIS 2016 CTP1 will contain a new client for MQ, DB2 and Informix and new BizTalk Adapters for DB2 and Informix. A new BizTalk adapter will be available in CTP2, which will also contain better integration in Visual Studio 2015, improved documentation and an improved installation and configuration. As for the roadmap, PowerBI connectors and Logic App connectors are planned.
After a good lunch Sam Vanhoutte of Codit talked about Azure Service Fabric. Service Fabric is a distributed systems platform that makes it easy to package, deploy, and manage scalable and reliable microservices. A microservice separates functionality into separate smaller services. Many microservices can be deployed to the same VM and there is automatic handling of failures. Multiple versions of the same microservice can be hosted. As Dan did in his session, Sam also suggested to keep things simple at the start.
Service fabric clusters can be created on Azure, on premise or even on other hosted clouds. This enables you to develop once and deploy everywhere.
Michael Stephenson had a great session about Integration in a world of Digital Transformation. He talked about the requirements for successful digital transformation and how to change how integration is viewed, as many companies are not happy about how integration turns out for them. To accomplish this, we have to change the perception of integration teams and manage expectations.
Switching from a central integration team to a situation where each team has an integration specialist improves agility and allows for better communication with business users. Defining modern integration roles, such as the Integration Specialist, Ad-Hoc Integrator and Citizen Integrator, will allow anyone to become an integrator! An interesting way of looking at this, all without passing up the opportunity to throw in some Marvel references.
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Michael also had some great points on the need to deliver business value vs. staying true to your architecture, this is something we encounter at many of our customers. It is important to think of architecture as a journey rather than a destination!
Some other highlights of the day:
- A great session by Johan Hedberg on Application Lifecycle Management of BizTalk applications by using GIT, Bamboo, Jira and Confluence with an emphasis on transparency and visualization.
- An update on the tips and tricks for BizTalk Server by Sandro Pereira including what to look for in migration tracks, auto healing Powershell scripts and a demo of the GrabCaster adapter (http://grabcaster.io/grabcaster-biztalk-universal-adapter/).
- Nino Crudele showing us how to approach a solution review on a technical and personal level and showing us how important it is to document our solutions.
- And last but not least, we’re proud to be bringing home the Partner of the Year award for the 2nd year in a row!
All in all a jam-packed day 2 of Integrate2016 and looking forward to day 3!