Future Integration – Following The Microsoft BizTalk Integration Roadmap
By Sudheer Kumar Gajula
Microsoft has released its BizTalk Integration roadmap with detailed directions and key product offerings that address many areas like cloud, on-premises, B2B, connectors, and social network space.
With the challenge of the cloud dramatically growing there is a need to define the direction of future integration. Businesses are running all kinds of applications in cloud (ex: CRM, HR, accounting, etc.). At the same time there are internal LOB systems that cannot be taken into cloud immediately and need to be on premises. Here they require better integration solutions to communicate to other internet apps (ex: Cloud services)
There are various enterprise level architectural challenges that require attention towards building innovative roadmaps ahead of future needs. With Service Bus, Microsoft already made significant strides towards making it possible to integrate on-premises apps with services running in the cloud. The Service Bus Relay service makes it possible to securely expose on-premises services to the Internet through a cloud-based communication.
Microsoft released this holistic approach and roadmap to address these integration challenges which is good sign for the future of BizTalk integration. This roadmap clearly states that Azure will provide sufficient integration capabilities (including Cloud API connectors, Logic Apps and BAM & BRE support) to cater to production, full- featured integration solutions for cloud to cloud integration and cloud to on premises integration.
This Microsoft integration strategic roadmap will give a strong assurance to Microsoft partners and customers to make their future investments accordingly.
The API management pack helps businesses share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, and monitor and analyze their detail API usage (throttling, resources…etc.).
Enterprises can use on-premises Microsoft environments for internal services, and hybrid cloud scenarios that expose internal services securely to mobile devices or to the cloud.
Logic Apps allow developers to design workflows that start from a trigger and then execute a series of steps, each invoking an App Service API app that securely takes care of authentication and best practices like check pointing and durable execution. Many of the new features in the integration stack are being created in the API App and Logic app space.
BizTalk with Logic Apps provides the enterprise capabilities to integrate all major SaaS platforms and providers including Salesforce, O365, Dropbox, Facebook, etc.
BizTalk Services targets EAI (enterprise application integration) and EDI (electronic data exchange) scenarios by offering tools and connectors that are designed to bridge protocol and data divergences between systems. BizTalk API services provide advanced integration capabilities that can be easily snapped into Web, Mobile and Logic Apps.
The integration capabilities include Validate, Extract, Transform, Encoders, Trading Partner Management and support for EDI formats like X12, EDIFACT, and AS2.
BizTalk Rules in App Services can decouple policies from applications that make the change process simpler and faster than earlier.
Microsoft provisioned Azure users to manage their own BizTalk Server integration server in Azure Virtual Machines, now focusing on more capabilities and converging all into a single product to ensure capabilities are available at one place and based on customer needs.
BizTalk 2016 release is planned to deliver the following new features and enhancements.
- 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 cloud connectors such as SalesForce.com and O365 more easily
- Numerous enhancements including
- Improved SFTP adapter
- Improved WCF NetTcpRelay adapter with SAS support
- WCF-SAP adapter based on NCo (.NET library)
- SHA2 support
- Host Integration Server 2016
- New and improved BizTalk adapters for Informix, MQ & DB2
- Improvements to PowerShell integration and installation and configuration
Planned in next releases:
- Supporting dynamic ports with ordered delivery
- Performance and usability improvements to admin console
- Support for SAS authentication with WCF-NetTcpRelay
- Logic Apps can be run on-premises in addition to Azure
Modern Integration Vs Enterprise Integration
Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) is a collection of requirements for strong architecture guidance to integrate various new applications (ex: SaaS, cloud to cloud, on-premise to cloud) and existing applications (ex: LOB apps, on-premise to on-premises, on-premises to cloud) both within the enterprise and in business to business (EDI,HL7, AS2…etc.) with partner integration scenarios.
Microsoft’s holistic vision point to addressing all the needs to connect enterprise level new and existing applications, data, and services to any device. Applications can live in a local data center, Azure data center, in a public cloud or even span all these locations to optimize resources and efficiency.
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 wants to provide location and hosting flexibility, giving customers the 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-premises and cloud.
Microsoft promised to keep this roadmap updated regularly and put references to various assets across the integration stack.
To download the Microsoft BizTalk Integration Roadmap document click here.