What is the Microsoft Integration Roadmap?

|  Posted: December 24, 2015  |  Categories: BizTalk Server

For a very long time there was lot of debate and frustration within the Microsoft BizTalk Server community, what is going to be Microsoft Roadmap with BizTalk + some of the new cloud integration offering like MABS (Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services), Azure App Services (LogicApps and API apps), to some extend with Service Bus (Queues and Topics).

Until this point there were no clear directions apart from a vague belief BizTalk Server will be released every 2 years once and Microsoft will continue it’s investment in the cloud. Recently Jon Fancey joined Microsoft product group and one of the very first task he promised us (Integration community –  MVP’s, partners, customers) to do is to give a clear roadmap about the future of Microsoft Integration.

As promised Microsoft today released the public road map that gives the holistic approach to Integration and the key product offerings that contribute to Microsoft Integration strategy. They promised to keep this document updated regularly and put references to various assets across the integration stack. You can download the Microsoft Integration Roadmap document here.

This is a great move from Microsoft, which will help customers, partners and ISV’s to make their future investments accordingly.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
What is the Microsoft Integration Roadmap?.

Key points from the Roadmap 1.0

Microsoft Integration Roadmap

  • Continued commitment to BizTalk Server. There will BizTalk Server 2016 planned for Q4 2016.
  • The cloud iPaaS offering will see a refresh in Jan 2016, and GA in April 2016.
  • On premise (Azure Stack) version of iPaaS will be in preview by Q2 2016
  • Host Integration vnext will be inline with BizTalk Server release.

BizTalk Server 2016 will be the 10th release of the product, a milestone to cherish.

BizTalk Server 2016 key features (planned)

The reason BizTalk 2016 is moved till Q4 of 2016 is mainly due to the dependency on Windows and SQL Server. As soon Windows Server 2016, SQL Server 2016 is shipped you’ll see BizTalk Server 2016.

Here are the key features announced on the road map.

  • Platform alignment – SQL 2016, Windows Server 2016, Office 2016 and latest release of Visual Studio.
  • BizTalk support for SQL 2016 AlwaysOn Availability Groups both on-premises and in Azure IaaS to provide high availability (HA).
  • HA production workloads supported in Azure IaaS.
  • Tighter integration between BizTalk Server and API connectors to enable BizTalk Server to consume our cloud connectors such as SalesForce.Com and O365 more easily.

Numerous other enhancements including

  • Improved SFTP adapter
  • Improved WCF NetTcpRelay adapter with SAS support
  • WCF-SAP adapter based on NCo (.NET library)
  • SHA2 support

Future Plans (probably after 2016)

  • Supporting Dynamic ports with ordered delivery
  • Performance and usability improvements to admin console
  • Support for SAS authentication with WCF-NetTcpRelay
  • LogicApps can be run on-premise in addition to Azure (thanks to Azure Stack)

Host Integration Server 2016

    • New and improved BizTalk adapters for Informix, MQ & DB2.
    • Improvements to PowerShell integration and installation and configuration
You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
What is the Microsoft Integration Roadmap?.

 

choosing integration platform

Modern Integration Vs Enterprise Integration

Clearly integration landscape is changing dramatically and there is a clear divide between modern integration which are SaaS and web-centric typically that happens outside your organisation and your traditional on-premise Enterprise integration that involves industry standards like EDI, HL7, AS/2,  focus on high reliability, robustness, guaranteed delivery etc.

Microsoft is clearly positioning itself to address these two scenarios, even though they look like two different scenarios, they don’t see it as two different problems. They are simply different points in the holistic integration spectrum. Microsoft want to provide location and hosting flexibility, giving customer opportunity to pick and choose the right approach suitable for their business that will make sense, instead of technical limitation.

The future integration story is going to be a joint effort between multiple products covering on-prem and cloud.

Modern Integration Vs Enterprise Integration

The Future

There is a clear indication on the document, over a period of time the different offering (BizTalk Server, BizTalk Services and LogicApps) will converge together. This of course will be determined by the maturity level, adaption and more importantly customer sentiments. It also doesn’t mean Microsoft is going to create one gigantic integration product. The current offering (BizTalk Server, Services, Logic Apps and API Management) will continue to evolve and mature, giving options to customers.

LogicApps will soon have parity with BizTalk Services (MABS) offering, Microsoft mentioned the work is already underway. My personal assumption is BizTalk Service (MABS)  will soon be replaced by LogicApps . LogicApps will also start seeing some interesting features that are already present in BizTalk Server. It will get matured to cover all major SaaS platforms and providers like Office 365, Salesforce, Dropbox, Box, etc.

The below picture summarizes the Microsoft Integration road map clearly

Microsoft Integration road map

 

Summary

We are very delighted to see this clear roadmap from Microsoft, this clarifies lot of question what the Microsoft BizTalk Server customer been asking us for a while. Thank you Microsoft for this great initiative.

Click to explore more about Microsoft BizTalk Server 2016.

You can download the entire article as a PDF document.
What is the Microsoft Integration Roadmap?.
Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

  • Leonid Ganeline

    “Dynamic ports with ordered delivery” – it is Kevin Lam on duty. The old first team is on charge! That’s the best news for Biztalkiens.

  • Joe Markus

    Where does Azure Service Bus fit in the roadmap?

    • saravanamv

      As far as I know, Service Bus is handled by completely different team, it will evolve separately, for some reason Microsoft didn’t bring that technology into the integration umbrella. Maybe there are more things to Service Bus than Queues and Topics like Event Hubs and Notification Hubs. But I can see Queues/Topic can be part of that last diagram, covering the publish-subscribe use case to some extend.

      • Balbir Singh

        It’s the key technology for hybrid integration scenarios and
        also for publishing internal services to the external world without opening
        inbound TCP ports.
        Even the Azure AD Application Proxy uses it…

  • Sajith C P

    While I am excited to know what lies ahead, I wish Microsoft also spoke about the customers who are currently running production deployments in Azure BizTalk Services. Until when Microsoft will support BizTalk Services and do they have to migrate to Logic/API apps ?

    • saravanamv

      If I’m a BizTalk Services customer today, I’ll start thinking about LogicApps, but you need to wait until they have all the features available in LogicApps. As mentioned in the document we know the team is actively working on it.

  • Balbir Singh

    For the last few releases the main changes have been
    platform updates to support latest releases of Visual Studio, Windows Server
    and SQL Server. This is understandable, as BizTalk Server is a mature product
    with very little scope for innovation.

    For the 2016 release, the most important update is support
    for SQL Server AlwaysOn Availability Groups, this will now provide a supported Azure
    IAAS High Availability option. In my opinion,
    this should have been provided a few years ago. In the past you could use
    GateKeeper product and SQL Server failover clustering to provide Azure IAAS High Availability, but this option
    was never tested and endorsed by the Product Group.

    The real exciting developments are in the Logic Apps space
    which will exceed the functionality offered by BizTalk Server (my opinion).
    Although Logic Apps run in Azure, with the release of Azure Stack (not to be
    confused with the old Azure Pack), they will most likely be offered on-premises
    as well.

    • saravanamv

      All valid statements, they must have sorted out the Backup/DR story long time ago. The current solution of log shipping and standby SQL is not feasible for lot of customers, and majority of the time customers don’t bother with DR. SQL AlwaysOn support will more exciting for lot of customers.

      Investment in LogicApps will increase gradually, as they mentioned they want to converge at some point. The only way Microsoft can provide the option for customer to build it once and deploy it anywhere (on-prem or cloud) is only possible by advancing LogicApps. Moving BizTalk server as such to the cloud is not possible, since it’s not designed for cloud scale.

      • Leonid Ganeline

        Most of the BizTalk users do not want the DR, that’s right. The messaging workflows are implemented by Saga not by ACID, so there is no simple, automatic way to rollback or even commit. DR and Backup gives a little help with Saga. I didn’t see the BTS environments which get the real rollback capability by implementing clusters, backups, log shipping. Yes, you can try to rollback data in real life but only after couple days of hard work without sleep. Business cannot afford this kind of DR. So all customers use resubmitting way.
        IMHO, SQL AlwaysOn adds even more complexity with little help to the real life problem of DR. It could be used only for limited scenarios.

      • Niclas Colleen

        Hi Saravana,

        We are planning to temporarily move integrations from BizTalk Server on-premise to a BizTalk installated server in Azure, since we have a tight deadline. Step 2 is then to gradually migrate the integrations to BizTalk Services.
        Your statemnet “Moving BizTalk server as such to the cloud is not possible, since it’s not designed for cloud scale.” worries me. Why isn’t it possible to move a BizTalk Server to Azure?

        • Hi Niclas, there is no problem in running your BizTalk Server in Azure as a customer. There are some restrictions but you should be able to run your BizTalk in the cloud.

          We released a white paper called “A-Y of running BizTalk in the cloud”, right now we are revamping the website and the article is not available, please check in couple of weeks time.

          What I meant by the statement “Moving BizTalk server as such to the cloud is not possible, since it’s not designed for cloud scale.” is host BizTalk server as a PaaS (platform as a service) service with the current architecture. PaaS services are multi-tenanted, means multiple customer solutions can be hosted on the same platform, for this scenario you can just use the existing BizTalk server architecture as it is. This something for Microsoft to worry about.

          • Niclas Colleen

            Hi Saravana, thanks for your quick response, I see the context now 🙂 Good article, cheers!

  • Mauricio Feijo

    Thanks for this update, Saravana. As usual, relevant content.

  • Rajeev Singh

    Hi Sarvana,
    Does BizTalk 2013 supports API Management or it’s only going to be with Azure ?

  • Rom SpaceKnight

    Hi Saravana, based on the above, is there any point in exploring the use of the Azure Hybrid Connector (MABS) ? It is still in preview and it has been for almost 2 years.

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