When you’re following the hashtag #msbts on Twitter, you might have noticed that there was suddenly a lot going on about the BizTalk Summit in London, organised by BizTalk360. I8C was present at this event to find out about all the latest and greatest that our integration world has to offer.
In this overview, I’ll try to point out all of the things I remembered being the most important from those two days, so that when you weren’t able to make it, you still can have the feeling you haven’t been missing out.
BizTalk Server 2013 R2
Guru Venkataraman took the stage as first speaker to talk about the upcoming release of BizTalk Server 2013 R2. The guys at Microsoft have been working hard to put new stuff in there for us to discover and have tried to make it as much “error-less” as possible. This results in over 78.000 test which take a whopping 4 months to run! Guess we’ll have a pretty stable release coming up!
One constant during the two days was the following abbreviation: JSON. In BizTalk 2013 R2, JSON support will be present.
So in short, following elements will be there in the new release:
            – JSON support
            – Proxy support for SFTP
            – Healthcare accelerator improvements
                        à HL7 2.6
                        à 64 bit MLLP
                        à Dynamic Send Port support for MLLP
                        à ETW Tracking
            – Connectivity to on-prem ServiceBus
            – Authentication improvements for ServiceBus
And maybe most importantly, BizTalk 2013 R2 will be released in H2 2014!
Updates in WABS
Also WABS (Windows Azure BizTalk Services) is getting an upgrade, although this upgrade is quarterly, so more frequent than the upgrades in BizTalk on-prem versions. Harish Kumar Agarwal gave us a nice overview of all new updates in the following release.
Here’s what to expect:
            – Adapter extensibility
            – JSON support (yup!)
            – Pulling from LOB’s
            – AAD integration
            – BPM!
BPM is in fact coming SOON to WABS, using workflow, a rules engine and process- & rules designers.
Tools for moving to WABS
In his session, Jon Fancey showed us some interesting tools on how to make the move to WABS much easier.
Maps in WABS have been rewritten, but there is still a possibility to convert old maps into the ‘new’ version. These maps can be converted using the BTMtoTRFMConvertor.exe tool.
The tool still contains some errors but it’s a work in progress.
Pipelines don’t exist in WABS. Bridges though can be seen as the new replacement for a combination of pipelines and processing. Bridges can also be paired to enable more complex processing.
TPMDataMigrationTool can be used to convert trading partner configuration from on premise to Azure.
Workflow will be coming, but a release date is still unclear. There should be also a tool available to convert XLANG orchs to WF (generating xamlx, cs & dll files). The conversion will be possible, but it won’t be without errors.
Jon Fancey also pointed out that not always everything needs to be moved. When connecting on prem to on prem, there’s no need to pass through the cloud. We need to think wisely on what to convert and what not.
Decision Framework
Richard Seroter has clearly succeeded during his session to make clear to all attendees that there are more options to do integration than just using BizTalk. He gave us insight into his own “Decision Framework” which he uses to determine which integration tools to use. Basic concepts of this framework are:
·      Functional Requirements: What is directly needed?
·      Non-functional Requirements: What is indirectly needed?
·      Derived Requirements: What is expected to be needed?
·      Organisational Strategy: What does the business want it to be?
On top of those concepts, there also need to be discussions about:
Design: Datavolumes, guaranteed delivery, sources & destinations, authentication, failure handling, etc.
Developers: Developer availability, learning curves, dev setup, IDE & tools, support community, etc.
Operations: Event logging, performance tuning, backup & restore, scriptability, etc.
Organisational strategy: Long term solution, vendor support, budget impact, build vs buy, risk tolerance, etc.
Only when all these decisions and discussions have formed a conclusion, an integration technology can be choses.
Mobile Services
During a session on Windows Azure Mobile Services, Kent Weare really pointed out the (future) importance of Mobile Services. It’s something that all CIO’s, CFO’s and CEO’s in current companies are looking at, therefore it’s important not to deny the existence. And for us, even more important, BizTalk Services can play a huge role in this progression towards mobility.
The enterprise mobility stack will consist of following building blocks on Azure:
·      BizTalk Services
·      Mobile Services
·      SQL
·      Service Bus
·      Active Directory
Using all these blocks together, corporate apps can be built to enhance integration on a more mobile scale.
BizTalk Mapping Patterns
Some great news from Sandro Pereira during his session: He’s currently writing a book about different mapping patterns that can be used as a reference when building maps in BizTalk. The ebook will be available for free and is a whopping 200 pages! Great!
Sessions worth viewing
There were also two sessions which were really fun to watch and both informative as well.
First of all, the session of Nino Crudele was absolutely awesome. Not only was it fun to see and listen, also the things he has been building over the last four months are absolutely insane. He created plugins for Visual Studio which make your life as a developer so much more easy. He packed so much info in his presentation, that you just need to see it to believe it. Check it out as soon as the videos come online on the website of BizTalk360!
Second, Tord Glad Nordahl gave a great overview of what things that can go wrong or are being messed up as an administrator or developer. Well, the title doesn’t says it all, since he pulled up so many real-life situations that it was very hard NOT to feel like he was talking about your own daily frustrations. Want to have a laugh? Check out his session on www.biztalk360.com as soon as they are online.
That’s about it! If you want more info, I’m referring to all the slides and videos that will be shared later next week by BizTalk360. It was great to see so much interest in integration, and the community surely is growing bigger and bigger. I hope to see more future events like this one since it’s extremely interesting to hear and see the evolution in the field we’re working in.
Thanks to Saravana Kumar and his team to host this awesome event, and hope to see you again next year!
Andrew De Bruyne (@draitnn)