Day 2 of the Integrate 2016 conference passed by. Please find our recap below.
Azure Functions & Azure App Service
Christopher Anderson kicked of the day with a talk on Azure Functions. He showed us some very impressive Azure App Service statistics, clearly showing usage of Azure services is gaining more popularity fast and therefore usage increases every day.
He demonstrated Azure Functions and how they can be utilized in combination with Logic Apps as well. Azure App Service is a cloud platform that enables rapid development of functions, or µ-services as you could call them, which can connect to anywhere. Azure Functions can be called from a Logic App as well, which allows fast and easy extensibility in various programming languages.
If you want to expose a simple µ-service, you should consider Azure Functions. When you are dealing with something more complex, use WebApps, as Azure Functions is designed to keep things simple.
The two sessions dealing with Service Bus were hosted by Dan Rosanova and Clemens Vaster. Two authorities within the integration field. Both also have a more-than-thorough BizTalk Server background!
Dan Rosanova started off looking back to his BizTalk Server days, all while admitting he still loves BizTalk Server. From his expertise he gave us some tips from his experience while transitioning from an on premise BizTalk Server platform to a cloud one. Talking about simplifying solutions as much as possible. Pushing logic to LOB systems, making them smarter, instead of implementing them in the integration layer and masking problems. Keeping messaging simple and fast and pushing any logic or transformations into the endpoints.
Clemens Vaster talked us through the roadmap of Service Bus: the upcoming standardization of Azure Service Bus on the AMQP protocol and – not on the slides, but only verbally communicated – the announcement that Azure Stack for on premise will include Event Hubs and Service Bus, although the latter will no longer be free.
Clemens went on about AMQP and it’s capabilities and went into deep-dive detail how protocols like AMQP and MQTT continue to drive innovation.
Dan also told us earlier, that, for large scale customers, an interesting new model for Event Hubs was created: Event Hubs Dedicated Capacity model. This allows them to have a dedicated cloud infrastructure, not a shared one like the current shared model. This allows them to keep on pushing their dedicated cloud resources to the limits, instead of potentially taking any performance hits due to the shared infrastructure architecture.
Open Source Messaging Landscape
Richard Seroter, a well-known integration mastermind and superhero (again, with BizTalk roots), talked about the open source messaging landscape. At the Integrate 2016 event, we are all Microsoft integration people and we all take what Microsoft does for granted as being top-notch. However, integration experts need to dare to see further than their own technology stack. Being able to stay ahead requires you to seen beyond your own boundaries. Richard is such an expert and showed us some examples of what is available in terms of messaging platforms, next to the Microsoft stack.
kafka, RabbitMQ and NATS were the chosen few. Richard demoed each one in several scenarios. Really impressive to see such lightweight messaging platforms performing very well on simpler hardware. Talking about the pros and cons of each one and comparing them to their Azure ‘neighbor’.
Worth mentioning – and really impressive – was NATS in particular. A 3MB lightweight ‘central nervous system’, capable of handling millions of messages per second, with only minimal latency.
Last, but not least was the fact that Richard is very impressed with the work Microsoft is doing every day, driving Azure services further every day. He also had – by far – the best slidedeck!
Paul Larsen, Group PM Manager for the Host Integration Server (HIS) in Microsoft and Steve Melan, Integration MVP had some news regarding the upcoming release for HIS 2016.
What was already announced for HIS 2016 was the platform alignment for both Windows Server and IBM platforms, an improved installation experience and improvements regarding message and data integration among others.
Today, they surprised everyone with the announcement that HIS 2016 will contain brand new clients for MQ, DB2 and Informix, written in .NET, by Microsoft. According to their demo, you can expect a huge performance increase. Most likely because the new client does not use COM InterOp. Also, it offers better tracking and tracing.
Next to that, BizTalk Server CTP2 will contain new adapters for MQ, Informix and DB2 and also include better integration into the Visual Studio IDE!
Azure Service Fabric
Next up was our colleague and CTO Sam Vanhoutte.
Speaking from our own experience in the field, he gave the crowd some insights on when to use which part of the Azure Service Fabric ecosystem.
Microsoft has been using Service Fabric for a long time inside their data centers, and decided to make it more user friendly, so customers could use it for their own purposes. Applications moved from a monolithic approach, in which an application was a single ‘package’, with a deployment to each machine, to a µ-services-approach.
Splitting up functionality of a larger application in simpler µ-services allows much better reuse and ‘pluggability’ of these µ-services and also allows to scale really fast, faster deployments and better utilisation of Virtual Machines.
There are several ways of working with Azure Service Fabric, for which Sam provided us with a few tips when to use stateless or stateful services / actors. Towards the end of the session, Sam gave a few scenarios in which he used the various aspects of Azure Service Fabric in the field like the Codit IoT Field Gateway.
Next up was Michael Stephenson, giving us a talk on how he sees the evolution from a specialized integration team – like most companies work today – to an approach where each team has at least one integration specialist (aka superhero). A necessary change as companies nowadays are not quite happy with how it works.
The last 3 sessions of the day were focused on BizTalk Server. I have a feeling a lot of people in the room were anticipating these sessions and had some pretty high expectations.
Johan Hedberg brought us a real refreshing session about a typical project lifecycle, but instead of using Team Foundation Server (TFS), he showed us what was possible with Git. Especially noteworthy was the more relaxed branching strategy of Git in comparison to TFS and the tooling around it. Usage of Stash (now called Bitbucket Server) for Git flow management with Jenkins as a deployment automation management tool was really a great way to show off the capabilities around Git and also the Elastic Stack.
Sandro Perreira continued on the session from last years BizTalk Summit with another set of tips and tricks regarding BizTalk migrations.
The last session was Nino Crudele who, in his known, humours style, brought us some insights on how delicate a BizTalk assessment can be.
Also a big congratulations to Axon Olympus, which is part of Codit International. They managed to bring home the ‘BizTalk360 Partner of the Year’ award for the second time in a row! Well done!
Thank you for reading.
Brecht, Robert, Joachim, Michel and Pieter
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