BizTalk 2013, Hybrid Applications and BizTalk Services


Introduction

We’re now looking at Hybrid BizTalk/Azure design opportunities.  Starting off, a review of service bus messaging options:

Service Bus Messaging

  • Queues
  • Topics, and,
  • Subscriptions

Queues are per standard queuing theory, message on – message off (FIFO).  Topics are a like a digest of messages distributed, and subscriptions are a bit like an opt-in message delivery.

Message body is ignored, body can therefore be encrypted etc.  Message body is passed through, only exposed data concerns routing information.

Both Azure and Windows Server 2012 (on-premise) now support the Service Bus, which now incorporates the AMQP messaging protocol (OASIS standard), for better interoperability, e.g. potentially with Rabbit MQ for distribution to Java, etc.

Coming soon – the ability to post to a Queue which will “forward to” a topic inside Azure.

BasicHttpRelay and NetTcpRelay (Azure Relaying)

Relaying is designed to work around inbound firewalls and the ability to resolve to hosts.  Includes ACS security and provides excellent HA/DR potential as endpoints do not need to shift when hosts/services are re-delegated.

The inbound connection provides a callback URL which can be used to push notifications to interested parties.

WebHttp (REST)

Provides excellent support for thin clients, web based applications and lightweight web APIs.

What is a Hybrid Solution?

It is a combination of many options and configurations, and is not limited to simply on-premise integrated with Azure.

BizTalk Services

Formerly known as the EAI Labs, BizTalk Services are targeted at B2B, SaaS marketplaces.

Provides a scalable rapid development environment to provide a greater degree of agility.  Supports custom code and extensibility.  BizTalk Services are a managed service with user control with SLA and resource guarantees.

There are different tiers of service.  Runs as a dedicated service, hosted and managed by Microsoft within a subscription model.  Contains health and application monitoring (user controlled).

Drag and drop integration solution, contains EAI Service, B2B Service on an extensible platform.  Includes a BizTalk Server 2013 Standard license for synch using a line-of-business adapter for on-premise use.

Pricing is still a bit cost-prohibitive (will add a link later), but may stabilize.

BizTalk Service Deployment [Demo]

To deploy a BizTalk Service solution, you require a number of things:

  • SQL Server (Tracking DB)
  • Access Control Service (ACS)
  • Storage Account (monitoring store)
  • SSL certificate (can use self signed cert or commercially issued certificate)

Key Concepts

  • (Azure) Portal
  • Visual Studio
  • B2B Service
  • Bridges
  • Artefacts
  • Monitoring
  • Storage

Sources = FTP/S, HTTP, SFTP
Bridges = 3 part processing unit: Sources/Pipeline/Destination (contains activities and properties), rule based routing
Destinations can be a Service Bus (relay, queue, topic), SFTP/FTP(S), HTTP, Blob, a Web Service.

BizTalk Services utilizes a new transform/mapper and there is a tool available (BTMMigrationTool)  which can convert existing BizTalk maps to the new Services maps (but not back!).

Data received follows the following flow into BizTalk Services:

1. Data and format match
2. Protocol bridging
3. Security
4. Scale
5. Manageability


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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