Last week I was speaker to the Integrate 2014, one the two most important Microsoft Integration conferences in the world, the second most important is in London.
The conference was organized by Microsoft and BizTalk360, in the first I want to thank Microsoft and BizTalk360 for inviting me as speaker, the Microsoft campus in Redmond is the “Everest” of any speaker :)
About the conference, many of my friend and colleagues already wrote a lot about that and there are a lot of technical information in their blogs:
Integration and Microservices Charles Young
Microsoft making big bets on Microservices by Saravana Kumar
INTEGRATE 2014 – Journey to next generation of integration Steef-Jan Wiggers
Integrate 2014 Recap Kent Weare
Integrate 2014 – Final Thoughts by Nick Hauenstein
Azure BizTalk Microservices, initial thoughts by Sam Vanhoutte
You know my person and as my blog quotes, I’m a man with his technologies thoughts, so what about my thoughts and experience about this event?
The event was focused to present the new Azure Integration Layer, this layer is based on MicroServices architecture, the question is , what happened to the old BizTalk Services framework?
Microsoft changed the strategy and honestly I really like this new one, for a lot of reasons.
The Strategy before was a framework totally closed, with inside all you need to use to integrate the technologies, the new framework is totally extendible and customizable with a granularity that I couldn’t imagine.
In general all the Integration frameworks we have are essentially a product with features inside who we can use and , if sometime we are lucky and with a really good expertise about it, we can customize and extend.
BizTalk MicroServices follows many interesting patterns based on many important principles and offering infinite possibilities and options.
In the first the possibility to use an own Convention Over Configuration and in this case the possibility to drive a business process dynamically, this is one of my prefer pattern, I like to use it in Azure and I remember one my blog post, a lot of time ago, about how to use this pattern in BizTalk Server.
Other important thing offered by BizTalk MicroServices is the possibility to write atomic component extremely scalable, at the moment in Azure we have only the Worker Role, a totally different architecture, a Windows NT Service executing a .Net Dll component, MicroServices will be an atomic REST services hosted in a Cloud Web Service.
I said atomic because the approach we will have to use is exactly that, we will implement the transformation component, the rule engine component, the validation component and so on, after that we have to create our workflow, our business process and we will be able to use to different patterns to drive our process.
This is what we really missed in Azure, the possibility to create business processes using a real process choreography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_Process_Execution_Language, each process will be start by a Trigger, the trigger could be a schedule trigger or a message incoming via HTTP or any kind of protocol, at the end the Trigger in BizTalk MicroServices is the same concept of the BizTalk Server Adapter.
In other world Microsoft will provide many MicroServices components ready to use and we will be able to create our, all of that offers a lot of interesting business opportunities and possibilities.
The concept we had before about Bridge in BizTalk Services now is BizTalk MicroServices but the difference is huge and more of this difference is about the use.
Before we had a Bridge with receiving data, transforming , validation, sending etcetera, it was a pretty old fashion approach that we already known and used, Microsoft MicroServices are components that we use to create a process choreography who we can reuse in all the Azure Technologies and this is the most important point.
I really like to use all of the Azure technologies we have, the secret I think is to understand what the best technology to use to solve the problem in the best way, in term of productivity and costs.
The world of integration is going to change completely, there is not only one technology to use to integrate but there are many of them and I think that Microsoft Azure is now in the first position about that.
About the roadmap, BizTalk Server update in 2015, and BizTalk Microservices in Q1 2015.
During the event Microsoft presented other new features, in particular I was impressed by the Power BI (Business Intelligence).
Only one world, this is absolutely amazing, it is a BI framework very powerful, the Power BI will be able to use all kind of different data sources, the performances are rock and we will be able to use an Excel add-on and use it to do any kind of BI experience in very powerful way, one of the feature that I more appreciated is the possibility to do query in natural language, that’s amazing, I will be curious to use it ASAP.
I’m pretty sure that Power BI covers will replace our Business Activity Monitoring, I’m already thinking to use.
A framework focused on data warehouse issues, as Power BI the new Data Factory will be able to use all kind of different data sources, with the data factory we will be able to acquire data and work with them using a pipeline pattern, multi different dataset resources.
Stream Analytics and Event HUB
I absolutely love these two guys and I use them a lot in my solutions, with Event Hub we are able to send millions of message in the Cloud / second and use Stream Analytics to receive them for a great Staging strategy.
The language used in Stream Analytics is TSQL, very familiar and easy.
For very intensive and complicate analysis, previsions, neural analysis and so on there is Microsoft Machine Learning, I saw it during the Microsoft MVP Summit and one of the first this I did when I was back home, I started to study it, now I’m going to use it for one my project.
We have Queue for the FIFO and Topics to create very powerful publish / subscribing patterns, Cache to improve the performances, we don’t miss anything now in Azure, we just only have to study and use.
Many people asked me what I think about this change of strategy, well…
I think that it is very complicate to change a strategy for a company huge as Microsoft and this shows only two things , the first is that this company shows that wants to find the best solution to solve a problem and in the second that this company has the courage to do that, and no many companies in the world are really able to do that.
Proud to be part of that as Microsoft MVP.