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London BizTalk Summit 2015 - Day 1 Recap

The first day of the London BizTalk Summit 2015 is over and did not dissappoint. In this blog post you can find our view on today's sessions.

Introduction

The first day of the London BizTalk Summit 2015 is over and did not dissappoint. Below you can find our view on today’s sessions.
Be sure to also check out our Day 2 recap for more sessions.

After an introduction of Saravana Kumar, the long awaited London BizTalk Summit could kick-off with 330 attendees of 161 companies coming from 20 countries. An impressive set of numbers. It was a bumpy ride to get the show on the road as Microsoft asked to change the date and thus the venue had to change but in the end it all turned out great at the Platinum suite of the Excel London.

Josh Twist could not make it for the keynote so Dan Rosanova had the honor of starting the show while Karandeep Anand flew over from Seattle on a last-minute flight.

Code based orchestrations in the cloud

Speaker: Dan Rosanova (Twitter)

Dan Rosanova started off the first session of the day. And what a session: diving in the code within the first 5 minutes might have taken some attendees for a surprise on the early Monday morning. His session was dealing with the durable task framework, something he has been working on now for quite a while since he seemed to have left the BizTalk path.

Dan explained the objectives and strengths of the Durable Task Framework: mainly about Durabality, Scalability and Reliability.

He took us on a technical tour and went straight for the demos. Speaking to a BizTalk minded crowd he showed us the strengths like auditing, tracing, debugging and replay scenarios which was fun to see.

Too bad the screen was not always perfectly readable due to the console colors, but this might have been an issue with the projector as well as the image was shaking quite a bit this first day.

Definitely a nice session which was probably meant more as a teaser for the attendees to get them to investigate the framework. On a question as to why it is any different from WorkFlow (WF) he said that they wanted to provide better and different tooling depending on the target audience. Something WF didn’t really have apparently.

Durable Task Framework is available as a NuGet package: http://www.nuget.org/packages/DurableTask

And is also available on GitHub: https://github.com/affandar/durabletask

Integrating cloud with existing IBM Systems

Speaker: Paul Larsen

The recently released Azure App Services platform introduced a series of Azure Connectors to connect existing on-premise infrastructure and apps to the cloud.
In this session Paul gave us an overview of the new API Apps that enable the possibility to connect to existing on-premise IBM systems via the cloud.
Paul showed us a real-life scenarios using different connectors like DB2, Informix and MQ. All of these connectors allow you to create hybrid enterprise cloud solutions.

To wrap-up Paul gave us a quick look at the upcoming roadmap.
On the Azure Connectors side we can expect a TI Connector (CICS, IMS), TI Service (host-initiated) and a DRDA Service (host-initiated) coming in the near future. For the on-premise servers the HIS V10 Rapid Deployment TAP (BizTalk Adapter for Informix) and Host Integration Server HIS V10 is planned for the upcoming future.

Keynote

Speaker: Karandeep Anand (Twitter)

Karandeep Anand, Partner Director of Program Management at Microsoft did make it to the Summit in time to replace Josh Twist who became ill and presented Microsoft’s view on Azure Websites, BizTalk Services and Mobile Services as well as the roadmap.

As these products are still quite young, a lot of lacking features have already been discovered by the developers, but more feedback is very welcome as they will make these products evolve based on the feedback of the community.

One of the main pillars of these new services is the democratization of these services (mild learning curve and availability to the masses).

Karandeep elaborated on the strong focus on customer and developer feedback & data-driven development and announced some important news:
–          On-premise Azure App Services can be expected  (no date specified) !
–          A major version of BizTalk Server will be released in 2016  to align with the new Windows platform!

Roadmap

Inside Logic Apps

Speaker: Stephen Siciliano (Twitter)

In this very interesting deep dive session, Stephen gave us an insight look on how you can use Azure Logic Apps to automate business processes without using code.

The target audience of Logic Apps is anyone who can use Azure but not necessarily business users or consumers and it has off course all the Azure native capabilities you expect like auditing, role based authentication, deployment lifecycle with Azure Resource Manager, built-in API management and even on-premise support is planned with the next release of the Azure Pack.

Azure Resource Manager was the inspiration for the new Logic App Services, it has the same underlying engine but it’s more powerful. As Azure Resource Manager is focusing purely on the Azure platform the Logic App Services are focusing on supporting different types of resources.

In the demo Stephen used during his talk, he used a HTTP listener that triggers a workflow using Twilio, Yammer and Dropbox. With this demo he showed us some of the more advanced features of the new App Platform like loops, conditions, parameters, debugging capabilities,…

BizTalk API Apps

Speaker: Prashant Kumar

Before moving on to the new Azure App Services for BizTalk, Prashant Kumar started with a recap of the existing Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services (MABS) and how these services lack features for parallel and conditional execution, long running workflows …

Following an overview of some features of the App Services for BizTalk, he finally showed a much anticipated demo to show these features at work using an EDIFACT scenario:
AS2 Connector > BizTalk EDIFACT > BizTalk Transform Service > HTTP

In the end he finished with a view on the BizTalk Rules in the Azure Portal . They want to decouple the business logic from the application code for two main reasons:
– The business analysts having control over the business logic management (something which was already tried in BizTalk Server with BRE)
– Changes to business logic go to production faster

This is done using custom vocabularies to make the rules management more accessible.

Connectors

Speaker: Sameer Chabungbam (Twittter)

In this hands-on session Sameer showed us how to build a custom connector for Azure App Services platform and how to make it work for Logic Apps. Once you’ve built a custom connector it can be consumed from everywhere and by any type of App.

Sameer showed us how to build a basic Azure Storage Queue Connector that can be used inside the Logic App Platform.
Next to the basic settings and options, Sameer showed us a demo of the more advanced settings and features.

In the upcoming weeks we will publish a post on this blog that will cover this session more in detail.
We will provide you with all the necessary information on how to create a custom connector from A-Z.

BizTalk 360

Speakers: Saravana Kumar (Twitter) and Nino Crudele (Twitter)

This session started of with Nino demoing his NoS addin with the new features. He and Saravana announced that the NoS add-in has now become a commercial product under the BizTalk360 hood which will be available for the public soon.

More information on it’s key features can be found here: http://www.biztalk360.com/nos

The demo went on with Saravana Kumar taking the stage and further explaining the new features of the latest release BizTalk 360.

An Integration Platform to Support Vision 2025

Speakers: Michael Stephenson (Twitter) and Oliver Davy

Higher education has changed drastically in the past decades but their IT systems didn’t. The University of Northumbria is looking into the integration space and how they can use it to evolve during the next 20 years.

Currently, their small LOB (Line Of Business) application grew out to be a huge monolithic application that manages everything and has become too complex to move or change. Therefore the university is researching this to come up with a new view and a new architecture with the help of Michael.

Michael followed Oliver’s speech by taking us on a tour of the Integration tools and technologies in the past, present and future and his view on what is to be the integration future with a core platform using existing integration technology as well as new technology such as Azure Service Bus Queues, Azure Logic Apps, Azure App Service and Azure API Apps.

His view presents an architecture where you can keep the great monolithic system where you need it and integrate it with the newer technologies (e.g. microservices) to be more flexible.

Mike ended his session with a highly anticipated bang by integrating the game Minecraft with some of the University services in a very playful demo making it one of the most entertaining sessions of the day.

Top 14 Integration Challenges I’ve seen in the past 14 years

Speaker: Stephen W. Thomas (Twitter)

With day 1 of the conference already running late, I had the feeling that Stephen needed to rush his session a lot.
Quite a shame in my opinion, since he brings years of experience to the stage which was now condensed in 20 minutes or so.

Stephen gave us a quick overview of the most common challenges and mistakes made within integration projects, which was nice.

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