After a great week here in Seattle, I’m ready to head back home today. It was great week for those people who are involved in BizTalk server to see the future of BizTalk Server and BizTalk services. There were around 300 people who attended the conference and I think it’s important the whole world get’s a glimpse of what’s been announced and where the product is heading. Let me try to summarise everything I have seen in the past two days here in Seattle.
Agenda for Day 1 (21 November 2013)
|9:00am – 10:30am||Delivering Modern Enterprise Applications||Scott Guthrie, Microsoft
Vivek Dalvi, Microsoft
|11:00am – 12:30pm||Using Windows Azure BizTalk Services to Accelerate Application Integrations||Karthik Bharathy, Microsoft
Srivatsan Kidambi, Microsoft
Sameer Chabungbam, Microsoft
|1:30pm – 2:30pm||Business Process Management||Alok Jain, Microsoft
Rajesh Ramamirtham, Microsoft
|2:30pm – 4:00pm||What’s New in BizTalk Server 2013?||Jorge Gomez Basanta, Microsoft
Paul Larsen, Microsoft
Mark Mortimore, Microsoft
|4:30pm – 5:15pm||Best Practices for Enterprise Clinical Integration||Alan Scott, HCA (Hospital Corporation of America)|
Delivering Modern Enterprise Applications – Keynote by Scott Guthrie, Vivek Dalvi
The day started of with keynote by Scott Gu (Vice President, Windows Azure). The majority of the talk by Scott is about the "Cloud OS" vision, the improvements that’s going on in Windows Azure space, some statistics about the usage of Windows Azure, couple of use cases from partners. One of the main announcement in the keynote was general availability of
- Windows Azure BizTalk Services, and
- BizTalk Server Developer Edition
After the announcement by Scott Gu, Vivek Dalvi (Director of PM, BizTalk) started to explain about the strategies moving forward. Key message from his presentation
- On-Premise will be around
- Migration needs to happen at customer phase, and
- Cloud is the future
Sam Vanhoutte from Codit, demonstrated their offering "Coding Integration Cloud", which is a service the company provides on top of Windows Azure BizTalk services.
The next major thing from the keynote is some of vNext stuff happening both on BizTalk Server and BizTalk Services
- Major BizTalk Server release every two years
- R2 BizTalk Server release every alternate year
- Windows Azure BizTalk Services updated once every 3 months
Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) available editions on GA
- Developer: Developers, building integration solutions, development/test environments only.
- Basic: Use in the simplest scenarios, with lower needs for number of endpoints and lower data volumes
- Standard: Ideal for enterprises and ISV who need basic functionality and scale
- Premium: Ideal for enterprises and ISV who need advanced functionality and scale.
Windows Azure BizTalk Services: What’s coming in the future
BPM Capabilities : Build and manage long running business processes.
- Workflow on Azure
- Designer for creating business processes
- Business Rules
- Monitoring and management
B2B Capabilities : EDI AS2 and X12 processing, support for EDIFACT and agreement management enhancements
- Adapter Extensibility
- Light weight BizTalk Adapter service
- Consistent Hybrid model
- Pull from Service bus queues and topics
- Derived type support in transforms
- Certificate based authentication
BizTalk Server – What’s coming in the future
Healthcare accelerator Improvements:
- 64 bit MLLP
- Dynamic Send port support for MLLP adapter
- Support for HL7 version 2.6
- Support for ETW tracing
- Routing enhancements
Platform alignment: Like any BizTalk server new releases the next version will align with Windows Server 2012 R2, Visual Studio 2013, SQL Server 2014, Office 2013, System Center 2012 SP1.
There will be SWIFT message pack and some improvements to the adapters like JSON support, proxy support for SFTP and authentication improvements for service bus adapters.
Using Windows Azure BizTalk Services to Accelerate Application Integrations
Once the general availability (aka reached production) of BizTalk services, Karthik Bharathy, Srivatsan Kidambi , Sameer Chabungbam from the product group were on staging showcasing some of the Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS for short) capabilities. The cool thing here is, whatever they are demonstrating is available for general public.
At the high level the session was focused on 3 core areas, when it comes to WABS
- IT Administrator Experience
- Developer Experience, and
- Business Administrator Experience
Srivatsan demonstrated the IT admin experience getting you started on WABS, he did a demo showcasing how you can login to Azure management portal and provision a brand new environment.
Behind the scene for every environment provisioned via Azure portal, a fully managed dedicated environment is created (note: it’s not a shared service), which includes VMs, Network, OS and BizTalk services on it. The environment also has alerts built in to monitor for any issues with these components and rectify them. The objective is the end users will only deal with real application issues and not infrastructure issues. The dedicated nature of WABS gives predictable performance, security, code isolation and it also guarantees 99.9% service availability SAL.
Sameer then demonstrated some of the developer experience in WABS by explaining concepts like Bridges, source systems (HTTP, FTP, SFTP and AS2, important to note HTTP end point is always created) , destination system (FTP, SFTP, HTTP, Service Bus, Blob, Web Services), and Pipeline component in between which contain 4 important stages (Validate, Enrich, Transform and Route). He also demonstrated some of the default pipeline templates and activities that comes out of the box like xml validator, xml property promoter, xml transform, etc.
Sameer also demonstrated the hybrid scenario implementation where you connect your on-premise LOB systems with WABS
Some of the key takeaways include
- Visual Designer
- Configuration Driven
- Pattern Based
- XML, Flat File, EDI X12
- Enhanced Mapper
which helps to achieve rapid development, simple, extensible and powerful.
Finally Karthik started of with Business Administrator experience mainly focusing on managing trading partners and some of the B2B capabilities of WABS
B2B is one of the biggest work loads on BizTalk widely used across various business-to-business scenarios like Healthcare, Banking, Manufacturing, Retail, Insurance, Automotive, Education, Energy etc.
Some of the core concepts of B2B includes
Partner: Each participating organisations in a business relationship is a trading partner
Business Profile: A trading partner’s business profile is a the business face of an organisation
Agreement: Definitive and binding agreement between two trading partners for transacting messages over a specific B2B protocol
Karthik did couple of demos one focusing on the Trading partner management (TPM) and another with TPM migration.
Some of the core things to note from his session
- EDI capabilities are now present in all editions of BizTalk Services (during preview this was only available for premium editions)
- Multiple users deployment support
- Diagnostics improvement
- TPM data migration tool
- Improved setup experience for SDK
- SAS support for Service bus Queues and Topics
- Bakup and Restore capabilities, and
- 99.9% SLA
What’s coming next in BizTalk Services?
- EDIFACT support
- EDI Bridge agreement association
- Scheduled backup/restore
- AS2 algorithms update
- Pull from service bus
- Adapter framework
- Workflow support, and
- AAD Support
Business Process Management
This session was more about the futuristic view of what’s going to come in Windows Azure BizTalk services to cover some of the BPM aspects.
Alok Jain and Rajesh Ramamirtham highlighted some of the stuff they are working on in this space which includes Process Modeller, Workflow engine, Rules engine and Business activity monitoring.
You’ll be able to use process modeller to define series of tasks (workflows) and the workflow engine will be capable of executing them. .NET workflow engine will be used as the workflow engine, which supports long running workflows and custom code.
Regarding rules, we will start seeing BizTalk Rules engine like support in the the cloud with characteristics like
- RETE based rules engine
- Supports explicit forward chaining
- Supports XML, DB and .NET objects
The product group is looking into integrated tooling for composing rules, which supports vocabulary, versioning and web-based configuration.
Business Activity Monitoring, we will start seeing some of the BAM capabilities what we have in BizTalk on-premise now, which includes
KPI tracking and reporting
- Identify "what properties to track"
- Define aggregations and reports
- Track individual messages through the process
- Identify failed messages and take corrective action
- Single window to monitor business process
- Monitor using same view as modelling
What’s New in BizTalk Server 2013?
Majority of the content in the session were related to things we have already seen things like REST Adapter, Service Bus Adapter, Platform alignment, Dependency tracker, ESB Toolkit, SharePoint adapter improvement, etc.
Some of the key topic include.
Updates since the release of BizTalk Server 2013
- BizTalk Server 2013 CU1
- Host Integration Server 2013
- SWIFT Message Pack, Drummond Certification
- BizTalk Server 2013 CU2
- BizTalk Server Developer Edition
Release of Host Integration Server 2013 is one of the major milestones, which allows BizTalk server to connect to various IBM and legacy systems like CICS, IMS, MQ, DB2, Informix etc..
Updates since Host Integration Server 2013 launch
- HIS 2013 SDK
- HIS 2013 Designer for Visual Studio 2013 (planned for HIS 2013 CU1)
- OLE DB Provider for DB2 V5 (included in FP for SQL Server 2014)
Another major announcement in this session was the future release cadence for BizTalk Server. There will be one major release every alternate year and one minor release every alternate year. The major release will have new features and themes and minor releases will have bug fixes, platform alignment and customer asks.
BizTalk Server 2013 R2
The next version of BizTalk Server, BizTalk Server 2013 R2 will be due some time mid of next year. Some of the core capabilities will include
Support latest Platforms and Standards
- Visual Studio 2013, Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Office 2013, System Center 2012 SP1
- SWIFT 2012 Message Pack
- MLLP 64 bit support
- Dynamic MLLP adapter
- Better troubleshooting
- HL7 2.6
- Support for free text data type
- Proxy support
- SSO support
- JSON support
- Empty message support while exposing REST services
- Service Bus adapter
- Authentication improvements