Integrate 2016 – Day 3
The third, and last, day of the event. Hard to top day 2 after we won the BizTalk360 Partner of the Year award, but the program looked promising.
First up: Stephen W. Thomas. His presentation was called “Azure IaaS Essentials for the BizTalk Developer”. The main point in this presentation was (as he stated): Azure IaaS is about putting the power of infrastructure in the hands of the developers!
Of the key components in Azure, the focus of this presentation was about creating and using Virtual Machines in Azure (the other key component being Networking). Stephen talked about all the different options developers now have to create a VM: there are many different sizes available, with different performance characteristics. As a developer we have special MSDN benefits like service discounts and access to exclusive images. He warned that the choice of data center where you host your VM influences the cost of the VM.
He wrapped up with a demo in which he showed that with Powershell you can also provision a VM using Resource Manager templates. Actually Powershell has even more options than the Azure portal.
The next speaker was M.R. Ashwin Prabhu on “Unified tracking across on premise and the cloud”. He stressed the importance of instrumentation to track data. He went on to mention that everything you know about integration is now also available in the cloud, which introduces new possibilities for tracking. Think of using Power BI to analyze BAM data for an on-premise BizTalk application. After he showed this in a demo, he also showed us that you can do the same when you use a Logic App, where he used an Event Hub to expose his instrumentation data. Finally he used Power BI in which he combined the diagnostics data from an Azure Logic App and an on-premise BizTalk application. Lastly he mentioned a few nice-to-haves that would improve the ease to track data.
The key takeaways here were:
- Make sure you offer insight into the full scope of messaging, independent of which technical components you use to actually process the message to avoid creating a black box solution
- Tracking messages in production, which used to have a significant performance impact in the traditional on-premise world, is easier in the new cloud world. Where applications and tracking behave in a completely different way.
The third speaker of the day was Steef-Jan Wiggers. His presentation was called “End-to-end IoT solution leveraging Microsoft Azure Platform”. He started off by mentioning that IoT is already a reality. In a case he did 2 years ago, he built a solution to process continuous data from windmills. Back then he used some on-premise parts (like SQL Server storage) but now the entire process can be done in the cloud. Another scenario he showed was a greenhouse, where we want to optimize growth but also be energy efficient. In this scenario he used an event hub, stream analytics, SQL and blob storage, Power BI to show the data, and Machine Learning to interpret the data and improve the greenhouse processes.
The last presentation before the break was called “Real World Industrial IoT” by Kent Weare.
He told us about a real-life project he worked on. The company he worked for uses SCADA for their processes. Part of SCADA is a so-called Historian, in which historical telemetry data is stored, ready to be analyzed at a later time. When there was a need for change, Kent was part of a team that proposed to introduce an industrial IoT solution. This new solution provided more value for the client, like more possibilities for data collection, real time analytics and disaster recovery. Because the huge amount of data in the SCADA historian, it wasn’t possible to move to the new system in a single go, so a hybrid messaging platform was developed into which the new technology was introduced in smaller steps.
The new solution involved the following components:
- Event Hubs (cloud scale telemetry ingestion)
- Stream Analytics (real time analytics)
- intelligent windows (tumbling, hopping, sliding)
- Service Bus topics (cost effective cloud messaging, used for load-leveling)
- Power BI
- BizTalk Server (on premise integration)
- Azure Logic Apps (cloud based orchestration, easy to set up notifications)
The last 15 minutes of his presentation Kent demoed the new solution, and he wrapped up with a few ‘Lessons learned’, which included:
- Use Proof of Concepts to drive adoption of new technologies.
- Involve security early.
- Don’t forget monitoring
After the break we continued with Mikael Hakansson’s presentation “Azure IoT Hub beyond Hello World”. He started off with giving us a high-level overview of the reference architecture. Then he live-coded a small app to read sensor data from a Raspberry Pi. After that he talked about the challenges of processing data from devices using C/C++ and node.js. He showed the use of mbed.org to build an application for a device, and he discussed how to manage updates. In another demo he showed how he developed an app for facial recognition using microServiceBus.com.
Tomasso Groenendijk was up next, and he talked about “Implementing a real life scenario for the API economy”. The first part of the presentation dealt with using a Web App for your website. For this, you need a web app, a SQL database, API management, API app, document DB/Blob storage. He showed how he built the web app using MVC, and how he configured the custom domain name and added SSL.
The second part was about API management – delegation. First he had to configure the security in the Azure Management Portal, then enable delegation. That way when a user visits the website, his request is delegated to the web app (if he’s authenticated).
Then the stage was for Nick Hauenstein, who presented “API Apps 101 for BizTalk Developers”. His first slides used an example of a lunch, in which you first worry about what you like to eat, what ingredients you have and only then what tools you need. For integration there’s an obvious parallel: start off with Business Constraints. Only in the end you consider what tools you need. In his demo Nick showed us how to replicate a BizTalk interface in Azure ServiceBus by using Logic Apps, Custom API’s and Topics, he even showed us that correlation is possible in Logic Apps!
The last presentation of the event was called “How to take a customer from a Cloud Assessment to an Implementation” and was presented by Tom Canter. Tom started with a quote from Clemens Vasters: “Software developers ought to have a solid understanding of at least one level of system abstraction below the one they build on.”
The key takeaways from the session were:
- Align SaaS solutions to existing value
- Align PaaS solutions to existing solutions that are ready for refactoring
- Align IaaS solutions to existing solutions that fill gaps in the Azure products
- Leave on-premise solutions when there are concerns about security or infrastructure mobility
To summarize the entire event: A very well-organized event with very interesting and balanced presentations!
The event concluded with a lunch, after which we rushed to the airport to catch our plane home. Unfortunately this ended up in the same way this trip started for us… delays… At least this gave us some time for this write up.
We’re already looking forward to next year… hopefully without the delayed flights. The event was well worth it!