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Typical Integration with Azure Logic Apps: What’s Trending

Recently, I attended the Microsoft Technologies Integration Conference, widely known as Integrate 2019, at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The three-day event featured multiple presentations from Microsoft Product Group and from the Global Integration Community. The hot topic? Secured business integration patterns—on-premise, hybrid, and cloud—and upcoming features from serverless apps, including Azure Integration services, API Management, IoT, and BizTalk. Let’s dive in.

Microsoft Azure Logic Apps: What is it?

Microsoft Azure Logic Apps provides an integration mechanism and business process automation by creating workflows and orchestrating a Software as a Service component. Logic Apps simplifies integration to build automated, scalable workflows and connect to data across cloud services and on-premises systems.

Benefits of Logic Apps include:

  • Faster integration using smart visual design
  • Easier workflow creation with triggers and actions
  • Mashup applications, data, and services
  • Built for mission-critical enterprise integration
  • Multifunctional: create, deploy, manage, and monitor

Why choose Logic Apps?

  • Serverless architecture: Logic Apps, Functions, and Event Grid are fully managed by Microsoft Azure, which frees you from worries of building, hosting, scaling, managing, monitoring, and maintaining your solutions.
  • Scaling: These services automatically scale to meet your needs, make integrations faster, and help you build robust cloud apps with minimal code.
  • Cost-effective: Pay only for what you use.
  • Robust: Logic Apps supports 300-plus connectors and allows for the creation and publication of customized connectors on Azure marketplace.

Plus, the Enterprise Integration Pack for Logic Apps is readily available with the following features:

  • Integration accounts
  • Typed schemas
  • Flat file encoding and decoding
  • XML transformation using BizTalk Mapper
  • Json Transformation using liquid
  • Trading Partner Management

Logic Apps helps with integration using a host of unique capabilities and new features as outlined in the chart below.

 

Service Orchestration

Designer or Code – Create Logic Apps using designer view or code view

Concurrency Control – Use concurrency control for push triggers

Scheduling – Schedule your Logic Apps to run at specific business hours

Error Handling – Handles errors efficiently

Long Running – Performs long-running tasks with durable functions

What is New?
Sliding window trigger
Static results

What’s Next?
Type handling
Create with config and templates
Download parameterized template

Message Handling

Message Protocol – Supports many protocols such as SOAP, SMTP, etc.

Message Types – JSON, XML, plain text, etc., message types supported

Communication Pattern – Designed as in an async or sync pattern

Message Architectural Pattern – Same as Sequential Convoy in BizTalk

Data Wrangling – Maps data from one format to another

B2B – Monitor and manage B2B Logic Apps

What is New?
RosettaNet
EDI core connectors
Blockchain

What’s Next?
Service Bus with claim check
AMQP action

Monitoring

History – View the run history and trigger history

Diagnostics – Check the status of the run and resubmit failed run from Azure portal

Tracking – Track business data with log analytics

Instance Managing – Handles instances efficiently

What is New?
Batch trigger tracking

What’s Next?
Azure Advisor
Resubmit from action

Security

RBAC Admin – Admin can configure their roles for different users as required

Auditing – Each user action in the portal is captured

Static IP addresses & IP communications – Efficiently secure your environment

Role access keys – Create access keys for your specified roles

Encrypted at rest – Properly encrypt messages at rest protocols

What is New?
System-assigned managed identities

What’s Next?
Secret inputs/outputs
Connector Multi-auth
User-assigned managed identities

 

Additional Features

Developer Support

One of the major tools that is used to create a logic app is Visual Studio 2019. Visual Studio allows you to define your logic app via arm template, and straight away deploy it to the Azure portal. It also makes it easier to deploy using Cloud Explorer. Visual Studio Code, a lightweight version of Visual Studio, also helps you to create logic apps via arm templates.

Integration Service Environment (ISE) 

ISE is a private dedicated environment to run your logic apps. It provides you with a private static IP which can be accessed efficiently. ISE supports a variety of connectors and helps you to manage custom connectors efficiently. You can have your own SSO, and you can increase dev instance as per need. These private dedicated environments can be multi-tenanted as of the user requirements. You can create ISE From VS2019, and you can easily deploy the respective environment to the azure.

  • VNET connectivity
  • Private static outbound IPs
  • Custom inbound domain names
  • Dedicated compute
  • Isolated storage
  • Scale-out and scale-in capabilities
  • Flat cost
  • Extended limits on run history, message size, increased timeout, and higher throughput

What’s New

    • Faster deployment
    • Added connectors (SMTP & DB2)
    • Network health blade and Restart
    • Increased scale-out limits for connectors hosted in ISE
    • Logic App lifetime extended  to 364 days
    • Larger message handling with 200 MB content access and 5 GB chunked requests
    • Increased request/response timeouts up to 4 minutes.

What’s Next

    • More connectors (File system, SAP, Oracle)
    • Connection manager
    • Internal load balancing ISE
    • SSL certificate
    • Dev SKU

Inline Code

Inline code is designed for simple tasks with few lines of code that can be executed in less than five seconds (e.g. value assignments, arithmetic calculations, regular expression parsing, etc.) Azure function can be used for handling custom code requirements, reusable components and when interacting with other Azure services.

Currently, the inline code feature is enabled only when using an integration account or when using ISE (Integration Service Environment); in upcoming versions, a basic inline code feature will be supported without an integration account. What else?

  • Currently works with JavaScript language but more languages (ex: C#) will be added in the near future
  • Handles data up to 50 MB in size
  • Execution time is less than five seconds

If there is a need to handle more content and more execution time is required, then a premium version of Inline Code is available.

Trigger Condition

This is a great feature to add condition within trigger itself instead of using ‘condition’ right after a trigger.

  • No run if condition is not met
  • Cleaner run history and cost reduction

Sliding Window Trigger

The sliding window trigger feature is not like a regular recurrence trigger; the new sliding window trigger has the following capabilities:

  • Fix-sized, non-overlapping and contiguous time intervals
  • Back fills in case of engine downtime, disabled LA or long-running singleton task
  • Output start/end time useful for resubmission
  • Trigger delay that doesn’t change start/end window time, and is great for data processing tasks that involve late arrival data

Final Thoughts

Microsoft is investing a lot into the modern integration space in order to expand integration capabilities and provide modern, holistic and rich iPaaS (integration platform as a service) that can meet the challenges of all integration workloads.

To learn more about real Logic App scenarios, stay tuned for future Lumen posts. If you have any questions or are interested in developing integration patterns, please contact us.